Achives: teaching English in China

by Jason Luong

Navigating Air Travel in China – Be Careful

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.

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by Jason Luong

Making Friends in China – Expats? Locals? Migrants?

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.

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by Jason Luong
Read Jason’s previous post about Finding Housing in China.

Cell Phone Service in China – Getting a Local Number

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.

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by Jason Luong

Finding Housing in China – Know the Differences

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.

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