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Teaching English in China is a dream for a lot of people. It’s a chance for a fresh start, to broaden your horizons, and to immerse yourself in an entirely new culture. When COVID hit it threw a massive spanner in the works for those looking to move over there. Plans had to be put on ice.
You could still get into China during the pandemic, but it was a bit of an administrative nightmare. You needed an elusive PU letter – a government-issued invitation letter, only able to be given out by employers who’d been officially authorised to do so by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That, combined with China’s zero-COVID policy and strict lockdowns, caused a bit of a headache.
Did the lockdown affect interest in teaching English in China?
Obviously it put some people off – it’s daunting enough moving country, never mind during a worldwide pandemic. But those who had their heart set on teaching English in China made it work – we spoke to qualified TEFL teacher Marie-Pier, who had her documents legalised here at Vital Consular. From Canada, she’d just secured a position in Shanghai and wasn’t put off by the lockdown restrictions.
Fingers (and toes) crossed, we seem to be over the worst of COVID, now. International travel is possible again and the doors that got slammed shut during the pandemic are starting to open again.
Is now the time to start thinking about teaching English in China?
Now’s as good a time as any. Although China are still a bit strict with their COVID restrictions, decent recruiters can help you work through that – as long as you’re willing to follow China’s COVID rules you’ll be fine. And, although online learning became massive in the post-COVID world, in-person teaching is still in high demand.
We spoke to Mike, Editor at The Helpful Panda, to see whether he thought it was a good time to make the move.
If you do have your heart set on teaching English in China but you’ve been putting it off, now might be the time to take the plunge. Why wait?
Tips for teaching English in China
If you’re planning on teaching English in China, make sure you take your time and look into all your options. It’s a big step and you want to make sure you’ve got a solid plan in place. There are a few things you might want to think about.
You might struggle with flights
Although China has relaxed their restrictions, you might want to bear in mind that it can be quite tricky getting over there at the moment. There are less flights than pre-pandemic, for starters, and the war in Ukraine’s having an effect. Normally the flight to China crosses Russian airspace – but Russia have banned a lot of Western countries from doing so.
You’ve got two choices, really. You could fly to Hong Kong and make your way from there, or you could go with a Chinese airline – they’re still allowed to fly over Russian territory. Just remember that at the moment, flights might be a bit more expensive (and harder to sort out) than usual.
Be wary of scams!
Teaching English in China is a popular career choice for many – and scammers know it. There’re a lot of dodgy companies out there looking to take advantage of eager, inexperienced recruits. The TEFL market isn’t regulated, so it’s easy to get caught out. Make sure you always research any schools or recruiters you consider – and have a read of our blog on ways to spot scams when applying for TEFL jobs in China.
Keep in mind that things will be different
Moving to China can be a bit of a shock to the system – it’s a completely different culture. I’m sure you know that already, but knowing it and experiencing it are two separate things. You might struggle to adapt at first, but our blog on the difficulties of moving overseas can offer you some useful tips and advice.
Don’t underestimate document legalisation
Once you’ve got a job offer under your belt and you’re ready to get started teaching English in China, they’ll give you a list of documents needed for your Z-Visa application. You’ll need to get all of these documents legalised (otherwise known as attested or authenticated) in their country of origin or else they won’t be accepted.
As with most bureaucratic procedures, stuff can take a little while to filter through. This makes it difficult for those looking to move to know when to make the first steps. Documents need to be legalised before they can be used for a Z-Visa application and only remain valid for 6 months. You’ll also need to provide a police clearance from your country of residence, which has the same expiration period as the legalisation.
Document legalisation can be a massive pain. It’s complicated, it’s fiddly, and if you don’t know what you’re doing it’s really easy to make a mistake. But here at Vital Consular, we can take care of document legalisation for you.
Loads of TEFL course providers already recommend us to legalise their certificates, ‘cos we’re the market specialist in this document type. We make the process a whole lot easier.
Hopefully this blog’s been useful to you – all the information is up to date at the time of writing (January 2023). If you’re thinking about teaching English in China but you haven’t done a TEFL course yet, we might be able to help you out – take a look at our list of TEFL courses, all of which are guaranteed to be accepted by the FCDO.
Right, I think that’s about it. If there’re any developments that might affect teaching English in China we’ll keep you updated, and if you’ve got any questions don’t hesitate to reach out!
Get in touch today to speak to our friendly team via our live chat system, give us a call on 0330 088 1142 or send us a text message via WhatsApp. Whichever is most convenient for you! Our friendly team of specialists are here to answer all your questions.