Teaching English Abroad in China


Teaching English overseas may sound like exciting experience, but it also has certain drawbacks. In this article, we’ll discuss how people live and teach overseas by using China as an example. This country has a high demand for certified English teachers looking for TEFL jobs abroad as well as a wide range of teaching English abroad programs.

How to teach English abroad in China?

Requirements. To teach English overseas in China, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. These are the basic prerequisites, but some institutions may have additional requirements.
Payment. Teachers abroad in China receive a competitive teaching English abroad salary that can vary from $940 to $5,000 per month, and in most cases it’s more than enough to cover the living costs. The salary amount depends on your skills and expertise as well as on the institution that you’re working for: public school, private language school, university, or international school.
Cost of living. Depending on your lifestyle, location, and salary, your costs for living in China can vary from $400 to $2,000 per month. When offering the teaching abroad jobs, most educational institutions cover rent costs (up to $500 per month).
Working hours. As a rule, a teacher overseas in China concludes a yearly renewable contract, according to which they work 40 hours a week, with 20 to 25 teaching hours on average. The amount of teaching hours depends on an institution that offers the overseas teacher jobs and sometimes, on the season. During the summer and winter peak periods, overseas teachers receive only one day off per week and may be asked to teach more hours, but as a rule you will not work more than 40 hours per week. During the non-peak periods you will have two consecutive days off per week and fewer teaching hours. As for vacation, teachers overseas in China typically get a minimum of ten days paid leave plus state holidays.

Pros & Cons of Teaching Abroad in China

teaching english overseas
Now let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of English teaching jobs abroad in China. These are the pros:

  1. Salary. As already mentioned, teaching English abroad is paid at a highly competitive level, making it possible for teachers abroad to lead the same lifestyle they did back home, or even better.
  2. People. Chinese people are famous for their hospitality. They will do their best to share their culture with you. They can show you their hometown or even invite you to a family dinner.
  3. High standard of living. China is a technologically advanced country and has a high level of infrastructure and services.

The cons of teaching overseas in China are:

  1. Cultural differences. At first, you may find it hard to get used to a new culture. You may miss the way things are at your home, or there may even be a palpable cultural disconnect.
  2. Language limitations. If you don’t speak Chinese, it may be hard for you to communicate and understand written language outside your work-related social circle. However, some language schools offer Chinese classes to ESL teachers.
  3. Technical limitations. You may need Google to prepare your learning materials, but services such as Google are blocked in China. You will have to use a VPN service, which may not always work.
  4. Time limitations. Your employer will plan your teaching schedule, so you get not much control over your working hours.

Teaching English Online from Home vs. Teaching English Abroad

If you want to teach English to Chinese students but cannot decide if you’re ready to move to China, we have good news for you: you can teach English as a foreign language online from home. Teaching English overseas without leaving your home has a whole range of obvious benefits.
Here are some of the most important benefits:

  1. No need to integrate into a foreign culture. Living and teaching overseas involves cultural integration, which can be exciting but stressful at the same time. Some people can handle it, whereas others prefer to avoid stress. Therefore, teaching English online from home is a decent alternative to overseas teacher jobs.
  2. No need to learn Chinese. It may be hard to live in China without knowing Chinese, but you won’t have to do it if you teach English as a second language from home.
  3. No technical limitations. You can source and access your learning materials by using the tools and software that you are used to, without any limits.
  4. Flexibility. When working at home, you can completely control your teaching schedule.

To summarize, moving abroad is a tough decision, and some people may need years to make it. If you want to get started now, you can teach English to foreigners online at home and make a decision later to either relocate or stay at home and proceed with teaching online.

Earn up to $22 an Hour Teaching English from Home


  1. Well Articulated
    I will like to know more about the transition to living in China for someone who has pets (I have 2 huskies) and is unwilling to part with them. I have interviewed on one occasion with EF (English First) but did not proceed past the first step.

    Perhaps the opportunity is not a good fit for someone with dogs.

    Thank you!

  2. I have a son that teaches English in an University in China and loves his work and his life there. I am planning on visiting him in China in the fall of 2018.

  3. I love teaching on line; it is a GREAT way to not only better myself as an educator but to provide a service which, in the long run, only strengthens our world through communications. I love these precious child & their families. I can’t wait to be there in person one day…2019, 2020 or so.

  4. I love teaching Chinese students online. I feel like I am learning so much about Chinese culture every day. It’s like going to Beijing (or Shanghai, or Changzhou) every morning for a few hours!

  5. I lived abroad in China, S. Korea and Macau. It was a beautiful experience- I learned so much. The experiences in each country was priceless.


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