China, with more English learners than the entire population of the United States, is the number one TEFL destination for new teachers. But it’s not just popular because it’s easy to find a TEFL job there… oh no, check out these six great things about China, as recommended by past Teach in China interns.
Psst: if you want to head out to China yourself, check out how you could be jetting out there on the Teach in China Internship: http://www.onlinetefl.com/teaching-internships/china/.
1. Friendly people
As a TEFL teacher you’ll find yourself inundated with offers of meals and tours of the local area. In fact, people will probably see it as a matter of national pride to make sure you get settled in and have a good time!
Martha said: “With my pale skin and blonde hair I get stared at a lot and get asked for photos too. But it's understandable that they would be fascinated by me who to them is a strange foreign girl, as I am equally fascinated by them and their crazy country. This results in lots of random conversations with super-friendly people and it's this randomness that I love in China.”
How to attract a crowd in China (Photo: Rozel Le Cornu)
2. Food, glorious food!
The normal morning greeting in China isn’t ‘hello’, or ‘good morning’, it’s ‘have you eaten yet’. This is a nation that takes its food seriously and it shows – visit any city, town or village in China and you’ll easily be able to find gorgeous, cheap, freshly made grub.
Kylie said: “Favourite thing so far? The little bread pancake things the lady sells outside my school for 1.5Y. What?!? They're delicious.”
3. The Great Wall of China
Any man-made structure you can see from space is worth a visit in our book: see the crumbling ruins of Simatai or the restored sections at Badaling for a taste of what it was like in the middle ages.
Gary said: “The Great Wall was one of the most surreal experiences of my life – just to be walking on one of the biggest and oldest parts of history in the world was awesome!”
Can’t sing? Not a problem – get some friends together and you can get your own private booth where you can all warble away to your hearts’ content.
Sophie: “Once we got started, there was no stopping us. We were belting out tunes all over the shop and it was the most fun ever! Mid- afternoon Karaoke is definitely the way forward.”
Chinese beer is pretty tasty, and the bottle (which you return after you’ve drunk it) usually costs more than the actual beer. A winner if there ever was one.
Rich said: “I have a few good memories already about China, on the first night me and a couple of mates went to a bar with local band on, the staff were friendly and there was an amateur chiropractor in the toilets, when you were washing your hands he would practically snap your neck and back in two, but god was it relaxing. After that we went to another bar and haggled large bottles of beers down to 10 quai. At 3am he closed the doors and sat and had a drink with us till the early hours, we did this most nights and even helped tempt passers by in, that was fun, I’ll never forget them days.”
Photo: Sophie Roberts
6. Beautiful scenery
China, what with its smog and ugly buildings, sometimes gets a bad rap when it comes to scenery. But large swathes of China have an ethereal beauty all of their own, with spectacular rock formations emerging from misty rivers, serene temples and spectacular skyscrapers, so keep a few weekends free for exploring won't you...
Rozel said: “Everywhere in China has its own strange beauty, whether its in the welcome from the locals, or the scenery around. I love how different life is here...”
In China at the minute? What’s your favourite thing about living and teaching there?