By Eckhard Pecher (Self-photographed) [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5) or CC-BY-2.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
So you’ve got yourself a TEFL job in Hong Kong!
Firstly, well done! Secondly, we’re INSANELY jealous and thirdly we thought we’d share with you 9 things you’ll discover about living in Hong Kong!
1) It’s Cantonese!
Brushed up on your Mandarin all ready for your new adventure in Hong Kong? Well you better get back to night school as the most commonly spoken language in Hong Kong and neighbouring Macau is Cantonese!
By David Wilmot from Wimbledon, United Kingdom (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Here’s part three of our very quick and very selective guide to some of the best travel opportunities for people teaching English in Thailand. This article covers the southern parts of Thailand including The Andaman Coast and the Lower Gulf. Read part two here
While the south doesn’t have huge teacher hubs like Chiang Mai or Bangkok, it does have quite a few TEFL jobs in provincial towns like Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat – and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in South East Asia! While the wages are lower than in Bangkok, so is the cost of living and it really couldn’t be any easier to decamp from the town or city where you are based for a weekend lounging on a palm fringed beach.
By PlusMinus (Photo by PlusMinus) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Here’s part two of our very quick and very selective guide to some of the best travel opportunities for people teaching English in Thailand. This article covers Bangkok and the surrounding areas of central Thailand. Read part one here
By Bart Hiddink [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
An ever increasing number of people are choosing to up-sticks and spend some time teaching English in Thailand. Most of these TEFL opportunities exist in three main areas: Chiang Mai and the North, Bangkok and Central Thailand, and the more touristy areas of the South.
So if you fancy teaching English over in Thailand, or if you’re just heading over there for a bit of travelling. Here are our top three picks for things to do in the first of those three areas – Chiang Mai and the North. There’s one touristy place, one slightly intrepid place, and one place where you’ll probably need a little help from Ray Mears!
By Helen Hargreave
When you think of China, what do you associate it with? The Great Wall, Peking duck, the Terracotta Warriors? These are all common things that spring to mind when you think about one of the most popular TEFL destinations on the planet.
However we all know that visiting a place and living there are completely different – so what can you expect when you get there? Here are a few inside facts before you join the 1.34 billion people living in China…
by Clark Nielsen, author of Yes China!
After working at multiple schools in China, I’ve switched gears and am now teaching in Thailand, facing many of the same obstacles and noticing similarities on a regular basis. Namely, the school facilities are almost identical. I think a lot of us EFL teachers go with the naive assumption that our school abroad, wherever it may be, is going to be clean and modern and cozy. But we’re English teachers! We don’t always get the best. So here are five things you should be aware of, in case any of these are deal breakers:
by Jason Luong
By Thomas.fanghaenel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Besides taking a high speed train, the next most comfortable and convenient way to travel across China is to take a plane. Buses are extremely dirty, crowded, and uncomfortable. It gets worst when you have migrant workers sitting next to you who obviously haven’t showered in over a week. Booking a car is not economical for far away destinations. So just book a flight.
by Jason Luong
By Thiago Hirai from São Paulo, Brazil (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Do you really want to get to know China? Or are you just hear for a good time, and then it’s time to head home? Don’t shortchange yourself. Make friends with the Chinese!
Don’t spend too much time just hanging out with your co-workers or other English teachers. Sure, you’ll learn a lot from them. But you’ll learn much more having Chinese friends and those who’ve lived here for a long time.
Get to know the expat community. But don’t limit yourself to just this. The expat community in each city is actually very small. Basically, everyone knows everyone. If you screw an expat or otherwise present yourself as someone who is dishonest or just looking to earn some money before leaving, you won’t make any real friends. Word will get out. Trust me on this.
Where to meet expats? Go to an expat bar and start talking to people. Look online for expat forums and find out where they meet each week.
by Jason Luong
Read Jason’s previous post about Finding Housing in China.
By *christopher* from San Francisco, USA (cell phone Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You’re going to need a phone in China. Don’t bother bringing your Sprint or Verizon phone out here. They won’t work. Instead, bring an unlocked GSM phone here where you can just use a local SIM card.
If you already have AT&T or T-Mobile, all you need to do is give your carrier a call and they will provide you with an unlock code so you can unlock your GSM phone. If you don’t have an unlocked GSM phone, you buy one cheaply from Amazon.com. Make sure whichever phone you buy, it better have Chinese language support. You’ll need to at least be able to receive texts in Chinese characters or you won’t be able to show taxi drivers where to go. Taxi drivers won’t know what you’re talking about if you show them an address written in English.
by Jason Luong
By Tangsabd (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You will live in luxury. Maybe not by your standards. But to millions of migrant farm workers moving into the cities for work, your living quarters will be considered a luxury much more than an arm’s length away. Welcome to China, where you will automatically have a luxurious home!
You have options. The school you’re working at might offer you a dorm room. Everything will be arranged for you—Internet, meals, cleaning, etc. All you’ll have to do is move in. But this means less privacy.
You might be lucky enough to get placed in a service apartment (like a three star hotel where someone comes in to clean your room daily). This is better than a dormitory, and you get a lot more time to yourself away from other people doing private things away from prying eyes. Not every teacher is so lucky.