GoldStarTEFLRecruitment's Posts (15)

One of the reasons I decided on Shanghai as my destination of choice to teach English was the fact that the city had so much to offer when I had researched. I took comfort in the fact that even if my travelling did not meet my bucket list desires, I would be satisfied knowing I live in Shanghai. The city has far surpassed my expectations with the diverse range of sights and activities constantly going on.

What has been unexpected is the variety of water towns that Shanghai has to offer. Something completely in contrast to the skyscrapers and fast pace of the city, yet very much situated within Shanghai.

Of the water towns that Shanghai has to offer, I decided to give Zhujiajiao a try. There are water towns that are a lot closer to the city centre but I liked the idea of getting closer to the outskirts of Shanghai.

Zhujiajiao is easy to get to via line 17 of the Shanghai metro. This metro line is less than a year old and has made accessing this water town dramatically easier.

Upon arrival, you will feel as if you have entered a new world despite having only been on the metro for just over an hour (from central Shanghai). It’s a bit of a walk from the metro to the town but you don’t feel it – the air is fresher and your surroundings are significantly greener. It’s so refreshing to take in. I was pleasantly surprised to note that the hoards of crowds that seem to be a permanent fixture of Shanghai were not apparent here.

Zhujiajiao definitely had a buzz but it was nowhere close to the overcrowding I have become accustomed to. I think this can be attributed to the newness of the metro line as well as the distance from the city.

Tickets for the attractions at the water town are available at the tourist information centre. There are a surprising amount of things to do and the tourist information centre offers a combination ticket that provides access to the museums; garden and a ride on a boat on the canal.

The town flows well, with attractions seamlessly slotted in between craft and food stores. There is a body of water that runs down the middle and beautiful bridges every hundred metres connecting the two sides. I found the garden to be a particular highlight given its layout and the traditional architecture.

I was lucky enough to visit during spring which meant blossoming flowers galore. The temple situated in the town is also something quite special, the sight of incense smoke billowing through the air and bright red lanterns.

There are some stimulating museums and galleries. Most noteworthy being a gallery that showcases traditional Chinese calligraphy, you can actually watch an artist doing the writing and if your wallet allows, commission your own request!

There are numerous quaint cafes overlooking the water. Definitely make the most of this when you have your lunch break and enjoy a variety of noodle; rice and dumpling dishes. Of course you cannot leave without having gone on a boat ride on the canals. If you buy the all inclusive ticket, the boat ride included in there will take you across to a different part of the town – convenient and enjoyable (and most importantly, you don’t have to row!).

Zhujiajiao proves that Shanghai is so much more than meets the eye. With an offering such as this one of many water towns, you are guaranteed to always have something to do when you are here. Shanghai proves that you will never be bored when are here – live that big city life one day and then hop of the metro and get that small water town fix you need, all within the boundaries of the city.

Check out the latest & greatest ESL Jobs in China!

Get Certified to Teach English Abroad - TEFL Jobs

Read more…

Tips for Starting ESL Jobs in China

Get Certified to Teach English in ChinaTEFL Certificate

Starting a new job can be hard no matter what, and even more so when you’re in a foreign country where you might not understand the language or cultural norms. Schools obviously vary widely in terms of staff support and environment, but no matter where you are, it’s important to start your job off on the right foot. This will make things easier for everyone in the long run. By making sure you’re familiar with the nitty-gritty of your job and that you give the best first impression to your school or training center, you’ll establish yourself as a great employee and set yourself up for smooth sailing!

Checking your Contract

When you start a new job, it’s always integral to check your contract at the outset. It can be hard to navigate all the sections of a contract, so I’ll break down which things are the most important to pay attention to. First, be sure of your schedule. Are you expected to regularly work overtime, and if so, do you get compensated for it? What are your vacation days, and do you get vacation pay? If so, is it full pay or half pay? What’s their sick leave policy? You should find out how many paid sick days you get a month, and whether or not you need to have a doctor’s note for them to count as sick days. Additionally, find out if there’s a penalty if you miss a day of work without having a doctor’s note.

You’ll be much happier if you know this information from the beginning rather than having to scramble to find it out when you’ve woken up feverish or with food poisoning. The same advice goes for lateness – what’s the school’s policy for being late? Do you have office hours, and if so, how many? Are you required to go to weekly meetings or provide English training to the Chinese teachers in your school? What happens if you want to take a day off for personal reasons? How much advance notice do you need to give, and what’s the school’s policy on compensation for it? Discuss your contract with your boss, and make sure you’re clear on all the different aspects of it. Doing this doesn’t make you come off as litigious or entitled (assuming you’re respectful and well-meaning when you’re clarifying the terms of your contract), it shows that you are attentive to detail and that clear communication and equity are important to you.

Establish Rapport

When you first start a new job, it’s important to make a good impression. Add your contact teacher, the head of the English department, your co-teachers, and any other appropriate people at your school on Wechat. Greet people in the hallways when you see them, and make a point of trying to learn names and routines quickly. If you’re at a training center or private school, it’s also in your interest to try to build relationships with the parents of your students. Being in the good graces of parents and leadership at your school will increase your standing and make it easier for you to negotiate down the line. Plus, it means more friends and more opportunities to learn about Chinese culture!

Be Confident

Getting to know the ropes of a new job is always difficult, and if you’ve never taught before then it can be especially daunting. The amount of support and training you’ll receive varies widely between institutions, so if you don’t feel you’ve been given enough instruction, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask to shadow a class or see what a lesson should look like. Also, if there are other foreign teachers in your school, you can ask them for advice.

That said, if you have a Foreign Expert Certificate and a work visa, then you’ve probably been hired as an English head teacher, and not an assistant. Don’t be afraid to take control in the classroom and step into your role as head teacher. You should obviously listen to the advice of your teaching partner or assistant, especially if they’re experienced in their role, but make clear that you’re the head foreign teacher when you’re in the classroom. Having good rapport with your teaching partner will really help you here. This is especially important in getting the students to respect and listen to you when you first start teaching, and establishing a harmonious and disciplined classroom.

Have fun!

All said and done, the most important thing in a new English teaching job, as with so many things, is to approach your work with a good attitude and an open mind. If you work hard and are cheerful and warm, then you’re sure to do well in your job and forge a good relationship with your coworkers. Also, you’ll find it more rewarding and fun! I hope this advice has been helpful, and good luck starting your new job!

Check out the latest & Greatest ESL Jobs here and start your adventure!

Read more…

6 Reasons to Teach English in China

By Laura - Gold Star teachers 

Get Certified to Teach English Abroad: TEFL Certificate

Are you trying to decide if teaching English in China is right for you? There are countless possible jobs, travel destinations, and opportunities out there. How do you know if China is the right place?

I have been back in America for over six months after teaching in China for a year. Now that I’ve had a little time back home, I can clearly see how my experiences abroad have impacted me in the long-term.

Here are six of the main benefits to teaching in China.

1. Experience an Eastern culture

When we travel, we interact with different cultures. However, going to China is much more of a culture shock than traveling to, say, Western Europe or another English-speaking country.

China differs from Western society in numerous ways. Off the top of my head, here are a few superficial differences you’ll have to get used to: chopsticks, road rage, weird foods, and squat toilets. Those last two often go hand-in-hand.

Then there are deeper cultural changes. Chinese people have different communication styles than Westerners. You’ll also have to pick up on gender expectations and conflict management techniques.

Adjusting to life in China takes patience and persistence. Immersing yourself in an Eastern culture makes you a more well-rounded traveler and person.

2. Be more than a tourist

Don’t get me wrong, I love booking a tour and seeing the main sights of a city as much as the next person. But there’s something to be said for moving past the tourist stage and entering the expat stage of travel.

Touring China, you’ll see those superficial cultural differences I listed above. But you can’t grasp those deeper cultural norms until you live in a place.

3. Travel

Flying to Asia from your home country can be pretty pricey. Once you’re in Asia, though, traveling from city to city, or even from country to country, is surprisingly cheap.

During my eight months in China, I traveled to Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and several Chinese cities. I could have explored even more, but I wanted to put money into my American savings account. (More on that later.) Some of my friends traveled to places like Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Even if you don’t explore other countries or regions, simply living in a Chinese city provides opportunities for you to get lost within the city limits.

4. Gain work experience

Honestly, teaching in China can be a cushy job, depending on your position. But you still learn valuable skills that will carry over into future jobs.

Teaching abroad is a huge resume-booster. Employers like to see that you can work with people and manage children. They are also impressed when they see that you break the mold enough to do so in an Eastern country.

5. Learn a second language

Mandarin is one of the top languages for international business, so learning it can also boost your resume.

If you aren’t in China for long-term professional development, learning a second language is also a way to understand the culture better. It is a fun skill to whip out at dinner parties and use to impress your next Tinder date.

6. Save money

Salary in China is decent, and related to cost of living, it’s pretty darn sweet. Companies usually give you a stipend for rent and other living costs, so most of your expenses depend on your lifestyle choices.

You might want to spend most of the money you earn on travel and experiences. In my case, I knew my husband was going to graduate school in America after one year of teaching abroad, so I chose to save money to take back to America with us.Together we took home $15,000 after eight months!

Check out the latest & Greatest ESL Jobs in China!

Read more…

By Molly at Gold Star Teachers 

How to Make Friends in China

No matter where the move is to, one of the hardest parts about making a new place home is finding friends there. Of course, when the place you’re moving to is a country across the world with a different culture and language, that’s only truer. But a little perseverance and the right attitude will get you far. Of course, so will looking in the right places. So, where are the best places to find friends in China? That all depends on you, but I’ll try to list a few places you can start in this article.

Wechat Groups and Subscription Accounts

Wechat is an essential app in China: it’s Facebook, Instagram, Apple Pay, and more, all rolled into one. Part of Wechat’s structure includes subscription accounts and groups you can join. Newspapers and magazines, bars and restaurants, music venues, art galleries, and more all might have subscription accounts.

You can look up subscription accounts in your city to find out what’s going on around you, and from there go to events where you’ll meet like-minded new friends! You can also join groups for events like book clubs, clothing, swaps, bar crawls, and other meetups.

Elsewhere on the Internet

When in doubt, search it on the internet. Look up events in the city you’re living in on Bing, and you’re sure to be presented with a host of events and activities going on around you! Facebook and Reddit are also good places to look for groups of expats online. You can even connect with expats on these sites before you arrive in China to ask about the scene where you’ll be and start making friends!

Language Exchange Events

Are you trying to learn Chinese? Then a language exchange is a great idea for you! Language exchanges are great because they give you the opportunity to meet both fellow expats and Chinese people, and they also give you an opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture (and, of course, brush up on your Mandarin.)

There are all types of language exchange groups, ranging from just a few people to giant parties. You can find language exchanges with vastly different structures, as well. Some are formal, with a pre-selected topic and stricter guidelines, while others are more like informal meet-and-greets where people can come and go, meet new friends, and practice their language skills. Whether you’re a Mandarin pro or a total newbie, a study-holic or a more casual person, you’re sure to find a language exchange that’s right for you.

Your School or Recruiter

If you’re going through an agency, ask them to put you in contact with other foreign teachers before you arrive. They’ll be able to give you the lowdown on what’s going on in your city, and they could possibly be your future friends, as well! Additionally, you may arrive in China with a group of foreign teachers that you can spend time with as you get acclimated to your new surroundings.

If your school has foreign teachers already working there, they’ll also be able to show you around your city. They’ll also be a great resource for when you want to commiserate with someone after a long day of work.

Clubs and Classes

A great way to find like-minded friends is by doing an activity you enjoy together. Book club, cooking class, recreational sports, hiking – whatever you’re into, there’s probably a group of people in your city who are doing it and who can’t wait to meet you. Look up activities online, and connect with a group of people who share your interests and passions!

Last Word:

Going to a new place is hard. You likely will be lonely at first, and you may have trouble feeling comfortable in new places. However, you’ve made the leap to travel to a new country, so you’re obviously not faint of heart. Lean into discomfort, and appreciate the moments of hesitation and isolation you feel as part of the experience of living in a new part of the world.

Learning to be comfortable with situations that are nerve-wracking or scary is one of the most important things you can do in a new country, and is also an important life skill. Good luck on your embarkation!

Get Certified to teach English: TEFL Certificate

Check out the latest & greatest ESL Jobs in China! 

Read more…

By Jordan at Gold Star Teachers

If a word or phrase is spoken more than it is written, the correct spelling can be difficult to remember. This is a common problem with exclamations, e.g., whoa, aw, whoops, etc.

As you might imagine, these exclamations don’t find their way into written prose all that often, and when they do, writers forget how to spell them. Whoa, for example, has at least two misspellings that pop up in printed works: whoah and woah.

In this post, however, I want to cover five English phrases that suffer from the same phenomenon. While these phrases are common in spoken English, when it’s time to write them down, misspellings abound.

If you want your writing to stand out and exceed that of a native speaker, here’s five commonly misspelled phrases with which you can start.

1. Free Rein

Correct Spelling: Free Rein.
Common Misspelling: Free Reign.

To give someone free rein is to give that person significant leeway to act as he or she pleases.

• At present, they have free rein to operate in the area, slowing the flow of pedestrian traffic and annoying many of those who pass through Times Square. –Business Insider

The reason for the misspelling relates to a homophone of rein: reign.

The word reign has to do with kings and other rulers, and it is commonly used to describe how a king treats his subjects.

• He reigned over them with an iron fist.

The phrase free rein, however, alludes to horses, not kings. The phrase originates from freeing the reins of a horse to allow it to move more freely while riding.

2. Beck and Call

Correct Spelling: Beck and Call.
Common Misspelling: Beckon Call.

To be at someone’s beck and call is to be readily available at a moment’s notice.

• In order to please your customers, you need to be at their beck and call.

It’s easy to see why this phrase gets occasionally misspelled. Beck and sounds a lot like beckon, which itself has a related meaning to beck.

Nevertheless, beck and call is the correct phrase and modern usage patterns bear this fact out.

3. Bear With Me

Correct Spelling: Bear With Me.
Common Misspelling: Bare With Me.

If you ask someone to bear with you, you are asking for patience from that person.

• Please bear with me as I explain how to use this phrase.

Misspelling bear with me can turn a work-appropriate email into something inappropriate in no time flat, so it’s important to keep this one straight.

While it’s not really an English phrase, the spelling bare with me would be an invitation to undress or get naked, so it’s definitely not a spelling you want to use by accident.

The correct spelling in all work-related contexts is bear with me.

4. All of a Sudden

Correct Spelling: All of a Sudden.
Common Misspelling: All of the Sudden.

This phrase is a popular English idiom, and it functions as an adverb, similar to the word suddenly.

• We agreed on a price for the car, but, all of a sudden, the buyer backed out.

In all senses, all of a sudden is the correct spelling.

5. Make Do

Correct Spelling: Make Do.

Common Misspelling: Make Due.

To make something do is to manage with limited or inadequate means.

• We don’t have any milk for dinner, so you will have to make do with water.

It is tempting to think of make due as its own phrase.

• Make rent due on the first of each month.

While make due might be appropriate in a contrived example such as this, it is entirely unrelated to the phrase make do, which usually includes the preposition with, i.e., make do with.

To see more information on any of the phrases discussed in this article, visit Writing Explained. WritingExplained.org is a website dedicated to making English grammar fun and easy to understand.

Get Certified to Teach English: TEFL Certificate

Check out the latest & Greatest ESL Jobs

Read more…

Only a few more months until summer vacation! Not that I’m counting or anything …
If you teach in Chinese public schools, when the students are on holiday, so are you! Different schools have various vacation dates, but you should have roughly two months to do whatever you want during summer vacation. Since you are a brave expat who moved all the way to China to experience new cultures, I bet I can guess what you want to do with those two months.

Travel and Teach English in China

Yes, you can take weekend trips throughout the school year. There is a week-long fall break and a month-long winter break. But summer is when you really have the time to travel extensively. You can spend more time in a couple places so you can experience the cultures in depth. Or you might decide to see a lot of places during those two months! There is no right or wrong way to plan your summer travel itinerary. Choose which option works best for you.

Here are some classic summer travel plans for expats living in China.

1. Visit several Chinese cities

You can certainly take round-trip flights from your city to other places in China throughout the year. However, if you fly from Chinese hub to Chinese hub all at once instead, you’ll save a lot of money by buying one-way tickets. Summer vacation is probably your best option to see the country at length.

For big cities, check out Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Chengdu.

For scenic excursions, try Sanya, Guilin and Yangshuo, the Longji rice fields, and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

You can try to see as much of the country as possible. Or you might want to stay in two or three cities so you can take your time and enjoy them.

2. See Southeast Asia

Any expat can take this journey, but it’s especially convenient for people living in Southeast Chinese cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Southeast Asian countries are just a hop, skip, and jump away!

It’s easy to dedicate two months to seeing this part of Asia. Spend time in various parts of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This is a classic tour of Asia that people fly from all over the world to experience.

3. Venture to East Asia

Although they look close on the map, East Asian countries are farther from China than you’d think. The flights between China and these places are a little longer than the ones to Thailand or Vietnam, typically lasting around three hours. As a result, they’re usually more expensive than flights to Southeast Asia.

But if you plan on spending significant time in East Asian countries, the cost of flights is worth it.

Hit up Tokyo and Osaka in Japan. To this day, I stand by my declaration that authentic Japanese food is the best food I’ve ever eaten. (If you go, eat the ramen. I repeat, eat the ramen!)

Spend time in South Korea, too. Even though a lot of expats want to live in Korea, it’s underrated as a tourist destination. In fact, I’m happy that the 2018 Winter Olympics have drawn more people to this gorgeous country. I’ve been twice and loved every minute.

4. Take a Beach Holiday

It’s summer, so you obviously can’t rule out a beach holiday! There are several options, whether in China or in another country.

In China, Sanya is the typical destination for a relaxed beach weekend. Outside of China, there are plenty of places, but my first thought is Thailand. I spent a week on Koh Chang Island in Thailand. It was the first beach vacation I’d taken in years, and it lived up to my expectations.

Get Certified to Teach and Travel East China: TEFL Certificate

More ESL Jobs in China 

Read more…

Starting a new job can be hard no matter what, and even more so when you’re in a foreign country where you might not understand the language or cultural norms. Schools obviously vary widely in terms of staff support and environment, but no matter where you are, it’s important to start your job off on the right foot. This will make things easier for everyone in the long run. By making sure you’re familiar with the nitty-gritty of your job and that you give the best first impression to your school or training center, you’ll establish yourself as a great employee and set yourself up for smooth sailing!

GET CERTIFIED TO TEACH and EXPLORE ASIA!!!!

TEFL certificate

Checking your Contract

https://goldstarteachers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2-2-300x221.png 300w, https://goldstarteachers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2-2-400x295.png 400w, https://goldstarteachers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2-2.png 600w" sizes="(max-width: 390px) 100vw, 390px" />

When you start a new job, it’s always integral to check your contract at the outset. It can be hard to navigate all the sections of a contract, so I’ll break down which things are the most important to pay attention to. First, be sure of your schedule. Are you expected to regularly work overtime, and if so, do you get compensated for it? What are your vacation days, and do you get vacation pay? If so, is it full pay or half pay? What’s their sick leave policy? You should find out how many paid sick days you get a month, and whether or not you need to have a doctor’s note for them to count as sick days. Additionally, find out if there’s a penalty if you miss a day of work without having a doctor’s note. You’ll be much happier if you know this information from the beginning rather than having to scramble to find it out when you’ve woken up feverish or with food poisoning. The same advice goes for lateness – what’s the school’s policy for being late? Do you have office hours, and if so, how many? Are you required to go to weekly meetings or provide English training to the Chinese teachers in your school? What happens if you want to take a day off for personal reasons? How much advance notice do you need to give, and what’s the school’s policy on compensation for it? Discuss your contract with your boss, and make sure you’re clear on all the different aspects of it. Doing this doesn’t make you come off as litigious or entitled (assuming you’re respectful and well-meaning when you’re clarifying the terms of your contract), it shows that you are attentive to detail and that clear communication and equity are important to you.

Establish Rapport

When you first start a new job, it’s important to make a good impression. Add your contact teacher, the head of the English department, your co-teachers, and any other appropriate people at your school on Wechat. Greet people in the hallways when you see them, and make a point of trying to learn names and routines quickly. If you’re at a training center or private school, it’s also in your interest to try to build relationships with the parents of your students. Being in the good graces of parents and leadership at your school will increase your standing and make it easier for you to negotiate down the line. Plus, it means more friends and more opportunities to learn about Chinese culture!

Teach English in China

Be Confident

https://goldstarteachers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/3-2-300x224.png 300w, https://goldstarteachers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/3-2-400x298.png 400w, https://goldstarteachers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/3-2.png 600w" sizes="(max-width: 396px) 100vw, 396px" />Getting to know the ropes of a new job is always difficult, and if you’ve never taught before then it can be especially daunting. The amount of support and training you’ll receive varies widely between institutions, so if you don’t feel you’ve been given enough instruction, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask to shadow a class or see what a lesson should look like. Also, if there are other foreign teachers in your school, you can ask them for advice. That said, if you have a Foreign Expert Certificate and a work visa, then you’ve probably been hired as an English head teacher, and not an assistant. Don’t be afraid to take control in the classroom and step into your role as head teacher. You should obviously listen to the advice of your teaching partner or assistant, especially if they’re experienced in their role, but make clear that you’re the head foreign teacher when you’re in the classroom. Having good rapport with your teaching partner will really help you here. This is especially important in getting the students to respect and listen to you when you first start teaching, and establishing a harmonious and disciplined classroom.

Have fun!

All said and done, the most important thing in a new teaching job, as with so many things, is to approach your work with a good attitude and an open mind. If you work hard and are cheerful and warm, then you’re sure to do well in your job and forge a good relationship with your coworkers. Also, you’ll find it more rewarding and fun! I hope this advice has been helpful, and good luck starting your new job!

ESL Jobs

Read more…

By Laura from Gold Star teachers 

Teach English in China

Honestly, I don’t consider myself a “beach person.” I always migrate toward cities, where I can find quirky restaurants and fun bars.
However, China is a huge country full of bustling cities.I lived in Shenzhen, a tier-1 city in Southeast China, for a year. As much as I loved this metropolis, I needed a change in scenery every once in a while. That’s why I started hopping on buses and riding to nearby beaches. Everyone needs an occasional weekend at the beach in order to recoup.

If you teach in Southeast Chinese cities, such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, or Fuzhou, here are some of the best beaches for your relaxing day or weekend away.

1. Dameisha Beach in Shenzhen

If you teach in Shenzhen, Dameisha Beach is one of the best spots for a day trip. Most beaches in Shenzhen require a small entrance fee, and Dameisha is one of the only free ones.

For this reason, Dameisha is probably the most popular beach in the Shenzhen area. Be prepared for crowds. However, if you go during the off season, the crowds aren’t too overwhelming! Don’t let the prospect of masses deter you, though. Dameisha Beach is full of friendly locals, so this could be the perfect opportunity to test out your Mandarin!

Along the beach, you’ll see several massive, colorful, winged statues that set this beach apart from other ones in Shenzhen. The vibrancy of this beach is thrilling.

ESL Jobs

2. Xichong Beach in Dapeng

Dapeng, a suburb of Shenzhen, is a small beach town. If you live in Shenzhen, it’s a rite of passage to take a weekend trip to Dapeng at least once. The suburb is only a couple hours outside the city.

If you decide to work in Shenzhen, you may even decide you want to be placed in Dapeng. Then you can spend every weekend at the beach!

While all the beaches in this suburb are scenic, Xichong is special because it is usually the least crowded beach in Dapeng. You can sunbathe, but the real draw is the surfing culture. If you want a full day outdoors, walk the beautiful six-mile trail from Xichong Beach to Dongchong Beach, another beautiful setting.

3. Yalong Bay in Sanya


Sanya is a popular beach city in on Hainan Island. The island is a bit too far from most Chinese hubs for a simple weekend trip. Many expats visit Sanya during the month-long break for Chinese New Year or during summer vacation.

Yalong Bay is one of the most scenic beaches in China. You might want to just visit the bay for a day during your Sanya vacation. If you want to stay for a while, though, this is the ideal area to stay if you want an upscale holiday. There are many nice resorts near the beach where you can enjoy spa days between sunbathing days.

English teacher salary

4. Gulangyu Beach in Xiamen

This beach is on Gulangyu Island in Xiamen. While the beach is relaxing and gorgeous, there are also numerous interesting attractions nearby. Check out one of the many museums, such as the Piano Museum or Organ Museum. (Don’t worry, those are organs as in musical instruments, not as in organs inside your body!)

Gulangyu Island is also known for its delicious seafood. I recommend stopping at a few food stands throughout the day so you can try as many dishes as possible.

5. Pingtan Longfengtou Beach in Fuzhou

If you live in Fuzhou, there is one main beach for a weekend getaway: Pingtan Longfengtou Beach.

Pingtan Longfengtou is a simple beach. The crowds aren’t usually too bad, so it provides a relaxing atmosphere. When you live in a city like Fuzhou, having a quiet place to get away is not to be taken for granted! Enjoy quaint local restaurants and go for a light swim in the clear, blue water.

Get certified to teach! What is TEFL

Videos: Teach English in China video interviews

Blogs: Teach English in China blogs

Read more…

The Best Day Hikes in China

When you move to China as an English teacher, it’s easy to get swept up in the culture (and you should)! Studying the language, finding the best parties in your new city, receiving affordable massages, eating dumplings, eating hot pot, eating fresh cucumber … Wait, what was I talking about again?

These are all aspects of living in China that I looked forward to before moving there. However, I quickly realized that all that studying, partying, and binge eating was starting to make me feel a little sluggish. It was time to get back into exercising.

My favorite way to exercise in China? Hiking.

When I think of China, I don’t typically think of hiking. But climbing a mountain isn’t only a great way to exercise—it’s also one of the most unique ways to explore your new home.

Here are 5 hikes in 5 areas of China. Each of these day hikes will give you a new outlook on your city.

1. Shenzhen: Mount Wutong

Shenzhen is a Tier-1 city in South China. Living in a big metropolis, it’s easy to forget about all the natural beauty to explore. But Mount Wutong is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.

This hike takes around 6 hours round-trip, so you should dedicate an entire Saturday or Sunday to the adventure. The path includes several bridges, flower beds, and tiny waterfalls. At the top, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of Shenzhen.

2. Guilin: Moon Hill

Moon Hill is actually located in Yangshuo, a suburb of Guilin and probably the most scenic section of the city.

This mountain earned its name from the natural arch near the top. If you just want to hike to the arch, you’ll hike up steep terrain for about 20 minutes. If you want to reach the mountain’s peak, plan for a two-hour hike round-trip.

Whether you stop at the arch or peak, you’ll have a stunning view of the region’s karst mountains.

3. Beijing: The Great Wall

You knew the Great Wall of China had to be on this list! Especially because there are multiple parts of the Great Wall that you can hike.

The Mutianyu section is an easy hike that isn’t too crowded (compared to other sections of the wall, that is.) The Huanghuacheng section is even less well-known, so you won’t get caught up in masses of tourists.

Whichever route you take, you should dedicate an entire day to the trip.

4. Zhangjiajie: The Avatar Mountains

You might not recognize the name of this city, which really is quite a mouthful. Zhangjiajie is a city in Hunan Province, home to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

What you might recognize are the mountains in this park. Yes, those are the mountains from the movie Avatar! To avoid trying to sound out this difficult Chinese name for the park and city, foreigners refer to the mountains as the Avatar Mountains, to honor the film.

I wanted to visit these mountains so badly when I lived in China, but due to scheduling conflicts, I never got to go. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.

5. Guangzhou: Baiyun Mountain

There are several good day hikes in the southern city of Guangzhou, but Baiyun Mountain is the best option for beginner hikers. Most of the previous paths on this list are little grueling, but this option is fairly relaxed.

There are many scenic areas on this hike. If your main goal is sight-seeing, I recommend walking for a while, then taking the cable car to the rest of the picturesque spots.

Teacher Jobs

Laura

Read more…

By Laura Grace Tarpley

Teach English in China

The Chinese New Year is vastly different from the one Westerners fete every January 1st.

First of all, the Chinese New Year is based on the original Chinese lunar calendar, so the date is different each year.

Oh, excuse me, all 15 days are different each year. That’s right, Chinese New Year isn’t just one day—it’s 15 days in length, always beginning in January or February.

Yes, this means people celebrate for over 2 weeks. (More importantly, that means you will have up to 4 weeks off from work!) People leave town to visit their families. Shops shut down for weeks at a time. Everyone celebrates in one way or another.

How will you celebrate? Here are a few options.

1. Visit Beijing

Chinese New Year is the perfect time to explore the country’s traditions in a new locale. To celebrate the holiday, my friend visited Beijing for the first time, and it was her favorite tourist experience of her entire year abroad.

Being the capital city, Beijing goes all out to celebrate Chinese New Year. Beijing is known as a historic city, so it celebrates centuries-old Chinese traditions this time of year. Go to a temple fair, where you’ll not only find entertainment you might expect at a fair, such as music and performances, but also ritual prayer ceremonies held at local temples. Attend an athletic event called The Longtan Fair to see people compete in every activity imaginable, from ping pong, to wrestling, to yo-yoing.

2. Party in the Touristy Area of Your City

Honestly, taking a trip during holidays can be stressful—especially since everyone in China seems to be traveling for these two weeks.

For those who want to avoid the chaos, stay in the town where you’re already placed. New Year’s Eve and day might be the best time to hit up the local party scene. Everyone will be celebrating, and this could be a great opportunity to meet fellow expats.

3. Shoot Off Fireworks/Firecrackers

Like the Fourth of July in America, you can anticipate that everyone in China will shoot off fireworks at midnight, once the night rolls over to the first official day of the Chinese New Year. Join in the festivities!

Keep in mind, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to buy fireworks or firecrackers. I made that mistake when I lived in China. Around 11:30 PM I realized I had never gotten fireworks, so I frantically ran around to stores, all of which were completely sold out. I ended up just having to bum some off acquaintances.

I definitely recommend buying them at least a few days beforehand.

4. Put Up Red Decorations

Locals believe that the color red represents good luck. Chinese people also believe the color wards off bad spirits.

Participate in the holiday by buying red decorations for your apartment. And for your front door. And for your desk at work.

5. Give People Red Packets

You’ll often hear Chinese folks refer to “red packets,” which are red envelopes filled with money that people offer as gifts on special occasions. Some people present loved ones with physical red packets. Others use WeChat, a Chinese texting and social media app, to send electronic red packets.

Typically, adults give children red packets with a little money in them. Married family members and friends also offer such gifts to single friends.

When I lived in China, I was married, so I didn’t receive a single red packet for the new year! What a rip-off.

If you have developed relationships with any neighborhood kids or single coworkers, you can give them one of these culturally-appropriate tokens as a way of participating in the Chinese holiday.

6. Get out of China

As mentioned above, China can get crazy during this holiday. Especially when traveling within the country.

If you want to explore other parts of Asia, now might be the best time to do so. You would completely skip out on the hullabaloo, which could spare you some stress. Consider going to Thailand, Japan, or the Philippines.

Whether you decide to visit Beijing or a different country, try to buy your tickets ahead of time. Fares spike during those 15 days!

ESL Jobs

Teaching ESL in china

Read more…

As summer approaches, English teachers in China are looking for new and exciting things to do with their time off. Not everyone has full weekends to take trips out of the city (as some people work weekends at training centers or have private lessons to attend to), so here’s a suggestion for a trip that will make you feel like you’ve left the busy city bustle behind while traveling along the convenience of the Shenzhen metro.

The Dafen Oil Painting Village is a gated community which marks its entrance with a sculpture of a large hand holding a paintbrush. The community started in the 1990’s when 20 artists who specialized in recreating paintings moved into the village. Since then, the demand for high quality recreations around the world has expanded rapidly. Currently, thousands of artists live within the community and sell their work all over the world.

As you walk around you can see people painting in every available space. Alley ways have lighting installed and canvasses hung on the walls, while painters deep in thought mix colours on well-worn palettes made of wood. The most popular works recreated here are by Van Gogh, Dali, da Vinci, Rembrandt and Warhol, but if you bring a high quality image with you, there will be at least one artist who can recreate any painting you like. Although the village specializes in paintings by other artists, you will also find many shops with originals hung on every spare piece of the wall. Visiting here is like walking through an incredible gallery, one tiny shop at a time.

Whether you need some art to hang on the walls of your new apartment in China, or you want to send something home to your family, Dafen will have something for everyone and at any price point. Competition among artists here is high and so bartering for prices is encouraged. Once you’ve agreed on a price, the artist will help you wrap up the painting and prepare it for mailing or just to take back on the metro.

If you’re not looking to buy any art, this place is still worth a visit as there isn’t a lot of sales pressure like in the local market atmosphere. I would recommend planning a visit during the warmer part of the year in the late afternoon or early evening. There are many convenience stores around the village and it’s quite enjoyable to grab a beer and just walk through the winding streets and watch people paint.People here are very passionate about their art and their way of life. Often a painter will see me admiring their work and pull up a chair for me to sit and chat. I haven’t found many people here who speak a lot of English, but it is such a great cultural experience to try to communicate with someone using body language and it often results in a lot of laughs.

If you’re interested in visiting, the village is located just a short walk away from the Dafen metro station and is also fairly easy to request a cab to as long as you have a translator with you. It will take you an hour or two to walk around and see all the gallery/shops. There is also an official art museum within the walls of the village (which could be an excellent side activity) and an excellent local restaurant back toward the street and metro station, which serves delicious vegetarian dishes. The village is very quiet during the winter as it’s quite cold out, so make sure to plan your trip this summer or fall while it’s vibrant and you can get the most of the experience while you teach English in China

ESL jobs

Read more…

My ESL career started with all my plans spinning out of control, I was heading out to the world looking for my calling and at the time I believed that to be marketing for automotive manufacturers.

At this point in my life I thought I knew three things about myself. I wanted to work with cars, I was driven to do that come hell or high-water, and I was going to do it all in Australia. I was wrong on all three counts. In my quest for opportunities in the automotive world I ended up in Thailand and when all my plans fell through the floor I took a step to my back up plan, a TEFL certificate.

It took me 3 years teaching English in Thailand to realize that I wanted to forge a career in international education. I knew that there were organizations with clear career tracks, benefits and options out there, but my posting at the time was not one of them.

The Search

Then came the search. Looking for and finding a good school to work for is not as easy as I expected. Not if you’re as stubborn as I was. I had simple requirements really – I wanted a visa, medical aid, and a career track. My search started in Bangkok and ended here where I am sitting today in Tianjin, China. It took more than 30 walk-ins, hundreds of emails and dozens of rejected offers from as many schools.

First Contact

EF first contacted me on August 7th 2015, in a fashion that was the very height of professionalism and efficiency. I can only describe the feeling as akin to bungee jumping, I experienced a surge of adrenalin as I punched out my reply. The efficiency at which things happened was incredible. I was in the system before my first interview, by the end of my second interview I had my visa documentation. The package outline was perfect and my research brought up exactly what was outlined. Some looking into EF revealed nothing but the perfect ESL organization to work for. I signed.

Never in my life had I dreamed about coming to China, not even for holiday. Actually arriving in China blew my mind. China is so much more than I expected. I arrived on October 19th 2015, just over 2 months from my first contact from EF and someone was at the airport waiting for me. Landing in Beijing I had a 2 hour transfer to Tianjin but I was dropped off in provided accommodation, asked if I required a phone for the time being given internet access and fully informed about the next steps. After a day of rest I was taken to my school and introduced to an amazing team. All visa expenses and medical check costs were reimbursed immediately and my onboarding began.

2 Years Later

I am writing this account almost exactly 2 years after my arrival, already moving up my career ladder and planning my engagement to my Chinese partner. Furthering my education through EF. On the cusp of managing my own academic team. Has it been without hiccups? No long term plan survives the real world completely intact but EF Tianjin has played an integral part in much of my personal growth, and it continues to do so. Professional development never stops and there are so many opportunities to grasp.

My Final Thoughts

If you know that you are driven to a better future, if you want to experience growth like you have not imagined, unrivaled opportunity and a world of possibilities EF Tianjin is the place for you. We are at the cutting edge of educational innovation, not just in ESL but in the concept of international education. We pursuit our goal with relentless passion and every day we open the world through education.

By 

teach English in China ESL jobs

Read more…

By Priyanka Misra

Photo: our teacher Poppy

Job interviews are like first dates: Good impressions count; Awkwardness can occur; Outcomes are unpredictable. Your palms tend to get sweaty and you clam up. Or you get self-conscious and start talking non-stop to fill every pause in the conversation. Both, not good scenarios. If you get that first impression wrong, that would most likely be the end of the line for you! No second date and definitely no amazing job. But worry no more. We have the perfect list of dos and don’ts to get you through any interview, with flying colors.

ESL Jobs

No TEFL? Watch Poppy's review on her INTESOL course

Mistake #1: Lack of preparedness before interviews

Job interviews can be tough. Some are the nerve-racking types, while others just reduce your legs to jelly, in an instant. But you can never be prepared enough! And here is how you do it:

a. Understand the Job Description: You would like to know what the role requires of candidates and how your skills match with the job in question!

b. Research about the Company and Interviewers: When a candidate is completely clued-in on the company background, it reflects his/her genuine interest in the role. But to earn those extra brownie points, it would help to read through the LinkedIn profile of your interviewer and mention about it in passing!

c. Carry a perfectly formatted, comprehensive and well-worded resume: Even if you have already shared the digital copy with them, it always helps to keep a copy of your CV handy, for the reference of interviewers.

d. Be prepared with answers to common interview questions: Remember that one time you ended up sounding pretentious and deceptive by saying that your biggest flaw is your drive for “perfectionism”? Or when you couldn’t tell the interviewer where you see yourself 10 years down the line?
Don’t let that happen ever again. Create a regularly updated roster of such common questions, that you can keep referring to before each interview.

Mistake #2: Not keeping your phone on silent

One just can’t stress enough on the importance of keeping distractions to a minimum during an interview. By just keeping the phone in meeting/silent mode, you show respect for the interviewer and also allow the interview to proceed without any interruptions.

Mistake #3: Wearing inappropriate clothing

It’s not just about not wearing loud or revealing outfits. One needs to research on the company culture before picking out the perfect “interview-outfit”. With a spurt in start-up culture, in India, more and more companies encourage you to wear what you are comfortable in.

But when in doubt, err on the side of caution and wear sensible business suit and shoes. It also helps to power dress, in order to look and feel confident to tackle the pressures of an interview.

Mistake #4: Arriving late to the interview

A BIG NO! If you can’t respect other people’s time, your candidature will most likely not be respected. Even if you have a really good excuse for being late, if reflects poorly on your punctuality. So, always check traffic situation and aim to reach at least 15 minutes prior to the interview.

Mistake #5: Appearing too excited or under-excited

When you really want the job, you can’t let it show. Needy and over-enthusiastic candidates put themselves in a position of lower bargaining power. And just like that, good-bye stellar pay-package! The same end result applies for when you look uninterested or bored with the role on offer. The interviewer will interpret it as lack of seriousness towards the role, causing you to miss out on the opportunity! The trick, therefore, is to be professional, amiable and composed, while showing just the requisite amount of interest in the company and the role.

Mistake #6: Criticizing the previous employer

No matter how much you hated your last organization or how unfair they were to you, an interview is definitely not the forum to talk about it. For, if one resorts to mud-slinging, it would only show immaturity and lack of loyalty. Stay professional, when outlining the challenges faced in your previous organization.

Mistake #7: Exhibiting poor body language

There is much more to cracking the interview than just speaking correctly! Your body posture and facial expressions almost tend to be a window into your soul. If you slouch, are shifty eyed, or if your body language communicates arrogance, the interviewer might just write you off!

The trick is to maintain regular eye contact, give firm handshakes, smile occasionally and sit well-poised! It’s your interview to conquer; stay classy and confident as you do so!

Mistake #8: Not asking the right questions

When the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, never say no.There is so much you don’t know about the workplace, its culture or the team you could be joining. You might not even know how soon the role needs to be filled! By asking the right questions, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether the role is really meant for you! It also gives the interviewer the impression that you have thought well and hard about the role and not just applied on a whim.

Mistake #9: Forgetting to follow up

Consider the fact that you’ve had a very successful interview. Then weeks go by and surprisingly you don’t hear from them. And by then you feel awkward asking about the status of your application.

Wonder why? Chances are your candidature was forgotten.

What should you have done to prevent this? Write a pleasant email, thanking them for the interaction (interview). In the email, you could also ask when you can expect to hear from them. This way you know when to follow up and your application will be fresh on their minds (and in their email)!

Mistake #10: Giving wrong recommendations

Your job references are the ones who will boost your eligibility score for that coveted role, once the interview is over. They need to be carefully selected and then asked for permission to include them in your reference list. But don’t ever lie about your references! That would be akin to career suicide.

Now that we are all done, start tweaking these pointers to suit your personality and the vibe of each interview. At the end of the day, it’s about setting the right chemistry.
So, the next time you have an interview to take, think of how you would approach it as a first date. Just like in the case of finding a life partner, remember you are not trying to land just any job. You are looking for the right one.

It’s a huge commitment to make on both fronts; making it really important for both parties to truly know each other.

So get out there into the job-hunting circuit, and land yourself that perfect role!

teach English in China

Read more…

I decided to teach English in Shenzhen last May, but long before I signed my contract, I knew exactly what I would be doing during Spring Festival. As classes came to an end for the semester, I watched my friends plan trips to beautiful beaches, but I wasn’t jealous of their vacation plans for a second… I was busy reminding my fiancé to bring my parka as we would be heading north: to Harbin.

The flight from Beijing to Harbin was only about two hours. I sat giddily on the plane and read about the city. Harbin boasts the largest Ice and Snow Festival in the world and the mass scale of their seasonal construction is hard to fathom without pictures.

Teach English in China

ESL jobs

TEFL

Preparation for the festival begins months in advance with specialized builders from the area creating buildings from 2-3 foot thick blocks of ice from the Songhua River.

They use swing saws to create the giant buildings which are coveted by tourists during their annual festival. If you look up the city on Wikipedia, it doesn’t really present itself as an ideal vacation spot. Harbin is COLD, northern, and rather isolated.

Despite its logistical challenges, every winter it becomes a hotspot for tourists from China and around the world. I first saw their monstrous ice creations on Discovery Channel as a child. I thought they were beautiful as they sparkled in the night. I imagined myself a snow princess, climbing up the steps of the tallest ice buildings and watching all the people milling about below me.

I certainly didn’t realize then that the necessary thermal layers plus a parka, boots, hat, and mittens wouldn’t make me look very regal, but it would keep me (relatively) warm. The average winter temperature in Harbin is -17C (1.8F) but it regularly gets as cold as -35C (-31F) during the festival month.

My fiancé and I stayed downtown so we faced a bit of a trek to get the festival itself. Thankfully the journey was quite enjoyable so we didn’t need to focus on the reddening of our noses and the visibility of our breath.

The ice festival takes place across a river which was frozen solid. There were multiple ways to get across (a bridge with beautiful lights, a gondola ride, a horse-drawn carriage etc.). We decided to walk and were able to enjoy some spectacular views on our way. There were noise and movement everywhere; it almost reminded me of Christmas with the horse-drawn sleighs, frozen candied fruit on sticks, and children laughing and skating around. When we arrived at the festival, we joined the (surprisingly) orderly line until we could get tickets and go inside.

The festival was so large that you couldn’t see the edges, just bustling people, and magnificent constructions as far as the eye could see. It sprawled out in every direction with staircases leading to ice castles with pointed spires. Each building and statue helped light up the night due to the LED lights embedded in the blocks.

You can stay within the festival grounds indefinitely because there are restaurants (western and Chinese), places to warm up, snack stands, endless entertainment and even an ice hotel to be found within the attractions. Although the ice buildings were my favorite, I also really enjoyed the giant snow sculptures and spent hours checking out the intricate ice carvings. Teams from all over the world came to compete for titles in these fields and the level of talent was incredible.

Although the weather was bitterly cold, I would say that going to see the ice festival was an excellent location for some of my spring festival. You won’t regret the journey and it’s an excellent way to see some of the unique cultures in Northern China while pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, just make sure to bring a hat!

Read more…

How to Meet Fellow Expats in China

I’m the first to preach that immersing yourself in the local culture is the best way to take advantage of your time teaching English in China. However, during your time abroad, hanging out with Westerners can sometimes be as valuable as spending time with Chinese people.

Befriending fellow foreigners can help stave off homesickness. Being around expatriates (or “expats”) offers you an opportunity to relax, because constantly interacting with foreign people in a foreign language can become exhausting.

By giving yourself the occasional break from Chinese culture, you create a buffer, which may end up enriching your appreciation of China.

If you spend all day at work, and then go back to your apartment for the evening, it can be difficult to meet fellow expats. How do you meet and cultivate relationships with people? Here are 4 strategies.

1. Attend Company Events

When I moved to teach English in China, my American recruiter set me up with a Chinese agency called Seadragon. This agency made all the arrangements for me to teach and then acted as the middle man between the school and me.

If you decide to work with an agency like Seadragon, you will undoubtedly hear about numerous company events.

Seadragon threw its employees a Christmas party with a buffet and free alcohol. Once per school year, there was an optional outing in the city for expats working in certain districts. My district’s school board also required that the agency hold weekly meetings and provide us with Chinese lessons.

Granted, some of these events were more fun than others. Regardless, attending some of them will introduce you to other foreigners who work for the same company. When you meet, you already have something in common!

2. Hang out at Expat-Friendly Places

In Shenzhen, where I lived, there was a neighborhood that locals referred to as “COCO Park,” with expat-friendly bars, clubs, and restaurants. Every weekend, crowds of foreigners flocked to COCO Park, which made it a great place to meet people.

I’ve met people while having a drink, but I’ve also met foreigners while enjoying a meal at expat-friendly cafes and diners. Trying local cuisine is one of the best parts of traveling, but stepping into a Western restaurant can be an easy way to meet a fellow Westerner.

3. Join a Gym

If you want to stay in shape, shop around for a gym. Once you find the one with the best membership package, join and say hello to others foreigners. If the price is reasonable and the equipment is good, chances are, other expats have joined this gym too.

I know someone who has made friends with many Westerners at his Chinese gym. As with events organized by your agency, meeting at the gym guarantees you already have something in common. You can also meet for a cup of coffee afterward. Maybe at one of those expat-friendly cafes!

4. Accept Invitations

Calling all fellow introverts!

After being around Chinese children for eight hours per day, you’re probably tempted to hole up in your apartment during evenings or weekends. That’s fair, and you should do that every once in a while, to rejuvenate.

But if you want to make new acquaintances, accept invitations to go out one or two nights per week. You’ll get to see new places and meet new people. Even if you’re invited by a friend you always hang out with anyway, if they invite others, you’ll get to meet more expats.

Read more…