Jobs and life in China

Embrace the beauty and mystery of China

“It’s better to walk thousands of miles than to read thousands of books” – Chinese proverb

China is an exotic and mysterious place. Although well-known, those who haven’t visited know surprisingly little about the radically different food, music, language and customs. See what to expect!

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Chinese people are loud and friendly

Although Chinese people may seem loud at first, they are also fun and friendly to hang out with. Many Chinese live in small houses and therefore they like to enjoy the space in public areas such as parks. They expect these spaces to be crowded and therefore they are less protective of their privacy and personal space. For example, it’s normal to hear someone make important phone calls in public, or see someone exercise in public, etc.

Chinese city people wear pretty much the same clothing as western people. Wealth is important to them, and that’s why European fashion holds very high status. Louis Vuitton bags are extremely popular among Chinese.

The culture (fashion and behavior) as it once existed in the past of China can still be seen in Japan and South Korea. Here people still occasionally wear originally Chinese ancient clothes, or a modified version thereof. Also, for example in South Korea people will give items using both hands, which is not often done in today’s China.

Chinese Girl

A modern culture making a world-wide impact

Most western people have already come into contact with Chinese culture, especially through food. There are also many ethnically Chinese in pretty much every country in the world.

The most important concept in Chinese culture is perhaps harmony. This means avoiding conflict, having a mutually beneficial relationship with others and having balance with others (for example, don’t give someone a gift that’s difficult for the recipient to match in value when they give you a gift in return).

Chinese culture is radically different from western culture, where for example it’s normal to directly show disagreement, it’s not impolite to argue with elders and it’s not as necessary to prevent others from losing face. Learning about the many cultural differences is an important step if you plan to live in China. Still, even though the culture is very different, Chinese will often (but not always) understand that you as a foreigner aren’t necessarily familiar with their customs.

It takes some courage, but China is worth exploring at least once in your life!

China city wide

See some of the 7 wonders of the world

You will surely discover something unique in the fourth largest country in the world! You can visit deserts, forests, rivers, lakes, caves and other natural phenomena.

Mount Everest is one of the 7 Wonders of the natural world. Climb this mountain and stand on top of the world! It’s a difficult feat however. If you really want to climb to the top you will have to physically prepare for months. A tour will cost you at least $35,000 (but $70,000+ is more realistic) and the mountain range can only be accessed a few months a year.

A less challenging walk is the Great wall of China, one and a half hour from Beijing. Be sure to also see:

China Waterfall

A look at China

Let’s take a look at what China actually looks like! (tip: you can play both videos at the same time)

Regions of China

China has great physical diversity. The east and southern coast consist out of plains and foothills, and most people live here. South of the Yangtze river are hills and mountains. The west and north of the country have plenty of basins (like the Gobi desert), plateaus, and massifs. This area has much lower agricultural potential and population.

source: geography of China

Map of China

In the north-east, summers are hot and rainy, winters are freezing cold.

The north and center has generous rain, summers are long and warm while winters are cold.

In the southeast rain is frequent, with semi-tropical summers and cool winters. The south has long, tropical summers and mild winters. The southwest has cold summers.

Weather is best in spring and early autumn.


The best way to travel long distances is by plane or high speed train. Domestic flight tickets are cheap and you can occasionally get discount.

The best way to get around in big cities is by subway. Virtually all signage is also in English, and staff can speak English as well. Traveling by bus or car is dangerous as there are plenty of traffic accidents. Many drivers wouldn’t pass a driver’s exam in the west. That’s why it’s highly disrecommended to ride a motorbike.

Don’t expect taxi drivers to understand English. Have your destination written in Chinese. A unique mode of transportation is the pedicab (a three-wheeled “bike”), suitable for short distances.

China traffic

Chinese food

Chinese food varies by region. Four styles are considered the most influential:

  • Sichuan food is spicy, using strong spices and Sichuan pepper.
  • Zhejiang food is fresh, salty, with a lot of fish, and is a bit like Japanese food.
  • Cantonese food is the style of Chinese food of most Chinese restaurants in the west. Food is not too spicy with an emphasis on freshly cooked ingredients and seafood.
  • Shandong cuisine is famous for its wide selection of domestic animals and birds, seafood and vegetables. This style uses a lot of different cooking methods.

Food hygiene can be an issue. It’s generally not recommended to eat fish/meat on the street during summer. Avoid raw fish/meat outside of large cities.

Restaurants typically don’t have an English menu. If you learn to read about 10 words, you will get a better image of what you’re ordering, so this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

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Everything is affordable in China

Living in China, you will be able to afford the life of your dreams! Teaching salaries in China are among the highest in Asia, while the cost of living is still very low.

Also, many things that are usually expensive in the west are much cheaper in China. On a typical Friday night you can hit the town with friends, have a good meal, get a massage after a few drinks at the bar, take a short walk back to your comfortable apartment and see your housekeeper has done some cleaning in the meantime.

Don’t be surprised if your disposable income is $1000 a month! You can already get by comfortably with a low salary, and as an expat your salary will be quite high. Living in China is especially a good opportunity for people looking to pay off loans.

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Teaching English in China will be exciting, surprising and adventurous

Living in China, you will help many Chinese learn English, and you will probably pick up some Chinese slang along the way. Just think about:

  • Waking friends in a new country and adapting to their culture.
  • Being able to regularly go sightseeing in the country.
  • Eating plants and animals you’ve never eaten before.
  • Coming home with far more money than you left with.
  • Starting the adventure over again in a new country at the end of your contract (we are in 14 countries worldwide).

With loads of free time, cheap transportation and paid vacation time, you’ll be able to take a deep-dive into Chinese culture like you never could as a tourist. Whether you fly out during holidays, or travel locally on the weekends, you’ll have the chance to master their mysterious language, marvel at some unique nature and discover a host of new Chinese dishes.

A 12-month contract will give you amazing stories to tell and a network of fascinating friends from around the world. Get the memory of a lifetime!

Read a teacher’s experience in Yangzhou. For more info about teaching in China, check out our teaching abroad blog.

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About English Schools in China

Saxoncourt is the recruitment arm for Shane English Schools China. Saxoncourt has also partnered with K&H International Schools and Vivian’s Wonderland Kindergarten to provide teachers with a wide variety of teaching jobs in even more exciting cities across China.

All schools are well-equipped with all the teaching materials and resources necessary to deliver the curriculum. You can add your own materials and teaching methods to suit your style.

Each schools has 8-16 students per class. Teachers are assigned a district and will teach at a few different locations within that district. Travel is compensated and teachers will have the support of the Director of Studies for academic and welfare related matters.

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Salary and Benefits

  • Earn 14,000-24,000 RMB ($2,165-3,715) a month depending on the location. Salaries are set to reflect the cost of living in each city
  • Z visa and a clearly defined contract provided before you arrive in China
  • 20-27 teaching hours a week, leaving you with plenty of personal time
  • 22 paid days holiday per year (including national holidays)
  • Airport pickup and a hotel for the first few days
  • Health insurance
  • Free Mandarin lessons at select schools

Professional Development Support

  • Start your contract with a week of teacher training covering everything you need to know to teach ESL to young learners, including:
    • how to get students’ attention
    • how to keep students motivated
    • staying in control in the classroom
    • creating fun and engaging classes
    • working with different ages and abilities
  • A dedicated staff member will be assigned to help you find your first apartment, open a bank account, and show you the must-know spots around town.
  • Easily transfer to another city in China at the end of your contract, or even another country!
  • There are lots of opportunities for career advancement both regionally and internationally. Many teachers move up into positions such as Academic Manager, Director of Studies, or marketing and recruitment roles in the Head Office.

Fancy teaching English in China?

Native English speaker

You need to be a native English speaker.

Teaching Certificates

You need one of the following teaching certificates:

  • A 120-hour TEFL certificate
  • Trinity certTESOL

If you don’t have a teaching certificate yet, check out our TEFL discount, provided by International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT).


You need at least a bachelor’s degree in any field.

Criminal Background Check

You need to provide a criminal background check, issued within the last 6 months. Check your country to see which one you need:

Australia (National Police Checks)

Canada (Certified Criminal Record Check):

Ireland (Police Certificates):

New Zealand (Criminal Record)

South Africa (Police Clearance Certificate)

United Kingdom (Police Certificate) ACRO or Basic Disclosure (for Scotland)

United States (Identity History Summary)