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Foshan, China English Teaching Q&A with Michelle Reeves
Written by: International TEFL Academy
Last Updated: December 18, 2020
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
Some international travel with friends, family, business, etc.
If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
Cuba, Qatar, South Africa, Hungary
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I followed the path I thought was the one that was supposed to make you happy in life. Go to a good school, get a job, do well at said job, and then you were happy. My previous job sitting behind a desk wasn't very satisfying. I was making money to pay my bills and go on vacations. When I found out I could still make enough money to pay off my student loans and basically live one big cultural adventure, I jumped at the opportunity.
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
Missing home, paying student loans
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
They were all supportive.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
Most legitimate teaching jobs require a TEFL certificate. International TEFL Academy was headquartered about a mile from my house and had good reviews
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Online TEFL Course
How did you like the course?
I liked the practicum [live practice teaching] The real world experience made me less nervous for the actual teaching part of moving abroad.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
It helped to build my confidence. Since I had to teach some English during the course, I knew I was capable of it.
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I chose to teach English in China in the city of Foshan because the weather is warm and it's very close to many other Southeast Asian countries.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
4 months, 1-3 years
What school, company, or program are you working for?
Number One International Kindergarten
During which months does your school typically hire?
Did you secure this position in advance of arriving?
How did you interview for this position?
What kind of visa did you enter on?
Please explain the visa process that you went through.
I had to send documents and fill out paperwork to get China to approve me coming there on their side. Once they approved I took more papers to the Chinese consulate in Chicago. A few days later I had a visa in my passport that gave me 30 days to enter the country.
What are the qualifications that your school requires for teachers? Please check all that apply
- Bachelor's degree
- TEFL certification
- Native English speaker
What is the best way to apply?
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I work 30 hours a week and make 10,000 rmb a month (approximately $1450 USD). I am able to save a few thousand rmb a month (several hundred American dollars). I am working at a private international kindergarten. Specifically, I teach 2-3 year old native Chinese speakers. I get 15 unpaid days off a year. After your first year the time off is paid.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
The school helped me find the apartment. They sent me pictures to make sure it was ok before I moved here and they leased it for me. I live here with my boyfriend. We moved to China together.
On a scale of 1 - 10 please rate your experience with this school.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...
The culture is very different here. They don't follow the same cultural norms as I'm used to. There is constant spitting everywhere: on the sidewalks, in the apartment hallways, wherever they feel like it. Children freely poop and pee on sidewalks and no one seems to bat an eye. I'm vegetarian, and that is a concept that they don't really understand here. Local street vendors are nice because I am able to pick out exactly what I want in my food.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Nicer that what we had in Chicago. The trains are clean and run very frequently.
NIGHTLIFE: There isn't much nightlife in Foshan. Some people go out for coffee at night, but in general there isn't too much going on.
EXPAT COMMUNITY: I expected more expats in a city of 7 million people but there aren't many here. Most of us are in a wechat group that makes it easier to make friends and plan events together.
DATING SCENE: I moved here with my boyfriend - not sure about the dating scene.
TRAVEL: I have traveled to Thailand and Hong Kong already. I am going to the Philippines next month. It's very inexpensive to travel around Southeast Asia.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
RENT: I pay 1500 rmb ($215 USD) a month
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE: about 200 rmb ($29 USD) fee a month
ELECTRICITY: about 60 rmb ($8.75 USD) a month
CELL PHONE: 25 rmb ($4 USD) a month
TRANSPORTATION: about 75 rmb ($10. 75 USD) a month
FOOD: I spent about 1250 rmb a month ($180 USD). I buy a lot of western food at specialty stores though. You could spend a lot less if you wanted to eat more Chinese food.
TRAVEL: Travel per month can very. You can take trains to a lot of cool cities for 100-200 rmb ($15 - $30 USD) roundtrip. You can fly to other countries for 500-3000 rmb roundtrip (beginning from $70 USD).
How would you describe your standard of living?
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
8000 rmb ($1160 USD)
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
Just do it. You'll never feel completely ready and you're going to have difficulties no matter how prepared you are. Culture shock is real. If this is your first time living abroad, be prepared to be uncomfortable and frustrated for a while. It will go away and sooner than you think this will be your normal.
Founded in 2010, International TEFL Academy is a world leader in TEFL certification for teaching English abroad & teaching English online. ITA offers accredited TEFL certification classes online & in 25 locations worldwide and has received multiple awards & widespread recognition as one of the best TEFL schools in the world. ITA provides all students and graduates with lifetime job search guidance. ITA has certified more than 25,000 English teachers and our graduates are currently teaching in 80 countries worldwide.
Want to Learn More About Teaching English Abroad?
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