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Before I went to China I had no idea about what was a good deal or an average salary for a teaching job, so I just agreed to the terms. Now I wish I would have known the following information so I could have discussed some terms.

First of all, this is my experience in the city Chongqing. Other cities might have different benefits or numbers, but I think the list below is safe to go by.

As an English teacher you often get:

  • Housing ( 1500- 2000 rmb, furnished)
  • Medical insurance
  • Salary of 13.000rmb (in Shanghai and Beijing this amount is higher, but living costs are higher as well)
  • Amount to ship some of your belongings to China(7000rmb)
  • Reimbursement of  your plane ticket to China (until 6000rmb) Usually after 6 months of contract
  • 10.000rmb bonus when you renew a contract(sometimes even when you complete a contract)
  • Help with and payment for your visa, foreign expert certificate, health check.

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Other possible benefits:

  • Return planeticket home each year
  • 5 extra days off per year, the longer you stay with a school the more days you get
  • Bonus system per term or three months
  • Bonus system for children who resign a year classes with you(training school)
  • Laptop from work

Good things to know:

  • As a foreign teacher you have status. Parents might chose the school because you are there. Sometimes they even make banners of you…without asking or checking the English spelling.
  • I pay my own service costs (400rmb), utilities(about 200rmb), and taxes (about 1000rmb) each month.
  • They help you to find an apartment. Make sure you get offered a few options. Good chance the interior is bright golden with hilarious flower curtains. Check out the wallpaper, best patterns ever!
  • Workethic is quite different. I will blog about this soon.
  • You get the Chinese holidays, but usually have to compensate the free time during the weekends.
  • After a while there is room to negotiate, for e.g. Christmas or Easter day off
  • Having 2 days off per week is a luxury, since most Chinese staff don’t get this
  • Don’t say yes to everything because you’ll find yourself working 60 hours a week without extra pay.
  • Some schools may take away a part of your salary when you take sick days.
  • When you actually have a teaching degree they desperately want you!
  • Working visas are harder and harder to come by for non-native English speakers.
  • You don’t need to speak Mandarin to teach English to Chinese children. Communicating with colleagues and parents however is more complicated.
  • Training schools have work-and textbooks to teach from. In schools you generally have to make your own materials

I wish you good luck and lots of fun in your new job! It is the most beautiful profession in the world and Chinese kids are the cutest!