Five Essential Things EFL Teachers Should Bring to China

by Clark Nielsen, author of Yes China!

Five Essential Things EFL Teachers Should Bring to China

By Ealdgyth (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

1. A laptop

You will need a computer while you are in China, whether it’s to look up new teaching ideas or to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Now it’s possible your school will provide a computer for you. It’s also possible that said computer will be a piece of junk. It’s even possible that this computer won’t even exist, and any mention of it was simply a lie to get you to stop asking questions. Bring your own laptop. It’s actually cheaper to buy a laptop in the US than it is in China, and most (if not all) laptop power adapters can support the voltage in both countries.

Continue reading

Teaching English in South Korea – Part Four

Part four: South Korean celebrations and festivals.

Part three: Seoul by day and night
Part two: South Korea’s culture and character
Part one: Being a TEFL teacher in South Korea

Traditional Korean building

by Jonathan Last @JonathanLast1
Author of Teaching English with Chopsticks: TEFL from the Frontline

Winter

Despite its Buddhist heritage and the large number of temples scattered around the countryside, South Korea is a predominantly Christian country; therefore Christmas is a national holiday.  However, there is only one day off as a national holiday, so you’ll be working the day before and after.  There is also a solitary day’s holiday for New Year’s Day. Both events are celebrated with less fervour than in the West, with little of the same decoration and festivity.

Much more important is the Korean New Year, AKA the Lunar New Year, celebrated on the first day of the lunar calendar. Since this is dependent on the moon’s cycle, its date varies from mid-January to mid-February.  It is a time for family celebration, with ancestral rituals performed whilst wearing traditional hanbok dress.

Continue reading

Teaching English in South Korea – Part Three

Part three: Seoul by day and night

Part four: South Korean celebrations and festivals.
Part two: South Korea’s culture and character
Part one: Being a TEFL teacher in South Korea

Bar in Seoul

by Jonathan Last @JonathanLast1
Author of Teaching English with Chopsticks: TEFL from the Frontline

Seoul has a population of 10,500,000 and is one of the largest cities in the world. Anyone visiting or living there can see how it manages this huge number: by building upwards.  Single-storey buildings are virtually unheard of; residences, business and public buildings are all stacked up and arranged as skyscrapers, often reaching twenty-plus floors.

Continue reading

Teaching English in South Korea – Part Two

Part two: South Korea’s culture and character

Part one: Being a TEFL teacher in South Korea
Part three: Seoul by day and night
Part four: South Korean celebrations and festivals.

Korean temple

by Jonathan Last @JonathanLast1
Author of Teaching English with Chopsticks: TEFL from the Frontline

SeoulKorean geography

Because South Korea is a small country (around the same size as the British Isles), it is possible to see much of it during even only a year-long stay, and nowhere takes too long to reach (buses run, as do trains for longer journeys).  The main cities are Busan in the south and Seoul in the north.

Seoul is the capital, and is located in the middle of the Korean peninsula, near the border with North Korea (separated by the DMZ, demilitarised zone).  Well served by nearby Incheon airport, Seoul is positively teeming with opportunities for the TEFL teacher, but more than that it offers a rich, distinctive culture to explore.  The countryside offers many mountains to hike (a popular Korean pastime), Buddhist temples to visit and, being a peninsular, there is a long coastline.  You can also visit North Korea, but access is rather restricted and you will need a different VISA.

Continue reading

Teaching English in South Korea – Part One

Part one: Being a TEFL teacher in South Korea

Part two: South Korea’s culture and character
Part three: Seoul by day and night
Part four: South Korean celebrations and festivals

Teaching English in Korea, class rules

by Jonathan Last @JonathanLast1
Author of Teaching English with Chopsticks: TEFL from the Frontline

South Korea is one of the most popular Asian destinations for teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).  Working in one of the major cities, you’ll find westerners including Americans, Canadians, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, British and Irish.

Korea itself, however, is almost entirely indigenous and has millions of children who are seeking (or, to be more accurate, whose parents wish them to have) improved English.  The native English-speaking teacher is usually required to help with speaking and listening skills (your official job title is likely to be ‘English Conversation Instructor’), as the children receive lessons in grammar, reading and writing in their schools.

Continue reading

The ELT Landscape in China

by Stuart Allen @Stu_RAYEnglish
Ray English TEFL Recruitment, China

The ELT Landscape in China

By Mgmoscatello (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Without question, the country with the most TEFL jobs in the world right now is China. Whereas most countries in the world are suffering economic hardship, China really is flying. Jobs here are plentiful, unemployment is almost non-existent, and the expanding Chinese ELT industry is worth millions of pounds each year. Why is this?

Continue reading

Teaching English in Hong Kong Part 3

Hong Kong by Night

By Lindsay Varty

Teaching English in Hong Kong Part 3

By Tore Sætre (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Renowned as a ‘city that never sleeps’, Hong Kong offers a wide range of activities for all you avid night crawlers. Shops stay open till 10pm so it’s never too late to pick up a few more items for a new wardrobe. Pop down to the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade to check out the beautiful harbour front and the city’s notorious neon skyline. At 8 o’clock every night, you can catch the electrifying ‘Symphony of lights’: a show of flashing lights and laser beams put together by over 40 of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscrapers.

Hop on the Star Ferry– Hong Kong’s famous cross-harbour boat that has been in operation since 1888, which provides a relaxing yet fascinating journey across the city’s harbour, and a fabulous way to take in the spectacular scenery and overall awe of this beautiful city.

Check out ‘Temple Street’ night market in Jordan. Open at 4pm until midnight, this bustling market features rows and rows of makeshift stalls, hawking a plethora of cheap items such as clothes, watches, sunglasses, bags and electronic gadgets. Have your palms read by one of the wise old fortune-tellers that gather at the Yau Ma Tei end of the street.

Continue reading

Teaching English in Hong Kong Part 2

Hong Kong by Day

By Lindsay Varty

Teaching English in Hong Kong Part 2

By Jakub Hałun (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hong Kong prides itself on offering a little bit of something for everyone- whether its huge shopping malls with every luxury brand under the sun you’re after, or quaint little boutiques and back street art-jamming sessions that you desire. But here are a few of the city’s biggest attractions to entice you:

The Peak

The Peak Tower is one of the city’s most iconic architectural structures. Looking rather like a humongous wok, 396 metres up Hong Kong Island’s highest mountain, the tower offers spectacular views of the busy harbour and concrete jungle below. Pose with Bruce Lee and other celebs at the Madame Tussaud’s in the Tower, and grab a bite to eat at Bubba Gump’s- the restaurant made famous in the film Forrest Gump.  For even more fascinating views and a bit of history, take the 120 year old rickety Peak Tram up the mountain.

Continue reading

Teaching English in Hong Kong Part 1

Hong Kong- Asia’s World City

By Lindsay Varty

Teaching English in Hong Kong Part 1

By Flickr user: Steve Cadman, London, U.K. http://flickr.com/people/stevecadman/ [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hong Kong is a fascinating cosmopolitan city bursting with life, lights, entertainment and of course, people. This tiny pinprick of a city in the South China Sea is made up of two main parts: Kowloon on the mainland and Hong Kong island, and has a whopping population of 7 million people.

Having been a British colony until the handover back to China in 1997, Hong Kong boasts a beautiful blend of Chinese and western cultures and a calendar packed full of worldly celebrations and traditions.  It has gorgeous sunny weather, lovely friendly people and yes, you might have guessed it, it’s my home! In just four posts, I will attempt to explain why Hong Kong fully deserves its title as ‘Asia’s World City’.

Continue reading