China Expat & Travel Blogger. ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO IN CHINA. See My Fun TRAVEL Adventures in China!
When it comes to teaching English abroad a lot of people often ask, “Why China?” Why China over more US favorites like Japan and Seoul? Well, it’s simple actually. There were 3 specific reasons why I chose China to teach English abroad.
The first, most important, and all around crazy reason is that at the time I was making my decision—back in the latter of 2011–China did not require a criminal check to enter the country on a Working Visa for teaching English. That’s insane, right? But hey, it’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but it.
And so here’s a fact: Somewhere around that time there was this... incident, that occurred during a massive Halloween party at an I-don’t-want-to-reveal-the-name Californian university campus. I won’t get into too many specifics, but let’s just say that I wound up being unlawfully arrested and spent a night in jail. Yep, just my luck.
There was some slight good news that came afterwards, though. After heading to court I found out that the judge had dismissed my case due to a lack of evidence, as was the situation for many of the reported 300 other people they arrested that night (FYI, that’s a fact). Hip-hip-hooray? Nope, not yet. Unfortunately, the entire incident had remained on my criminal record.
And well, therein went my chances of teaching English in Japan—my first choice—or returning to South Korea as an ESL teacher. So what about China?
Besides the fact that a criminal check wasn’t needed, I did always have an interest in exploring China since I was a kid. Plus, the fact that I only knew a few tidbits about the mysterious Hermit Kingdom—The Great Wall, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Kung fu—made it all the more reason to want to pack my bags, hop on a plane, and discover more about this mysterious foreign land.
And so on to #2. Additionally, I can remember it like it was yesterday. Back in 2011 China was everywhere in the news. “China’s become the #1 importer/exporter of this... #1 producer of that... #1 market in this category... and it’s even on pace to surpass the US as the world’s largest economy. Incredible!
As a 24-year old that was music to my ears, and being able to witness China’s remarkable changes firsthand was something that intrigued me like no other remaining destination could.
And three? I had read that there was a whole lot of scams in the ESL job market, but thankfully I found some agents and recruiters I could trust. I posted my resume on a China ESL job website, an agent got back to me, promptly attended to every one of my concerns, and even gave me advice on what to expect.
Next, she linked me with an HR officer at an English training center in China, and she too would also interview me, have a current foreign English teacher sit in during our interview, send me photos and videos of the school, information about the city I’d be living in, and provide all the details I needed to know about the visa process. It was probably the most crucial, make-or-break step in my decision to teach English in China, so I’m very fortunate to have met very helpful and trustworthy people in the process.
And well, it’s funny how everything works out. Six and a half years later I’m happy to say that I’m still in China teaching English to young ESL learners.
I’ve taught hundreds of kids, traveled in and around the country, made friends with people from all across the globe, dated, picked up some Mandarin, and completely immersed myself not just into another culture, but a whole different side of the planet. So yeah, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
With that, whether you yourself have an interest in teaching English abroad or traveling the world, I encourage you give China a try. After all, you just might like it! Safe and happy travels!
READ: The full-story of my journey teaching English abroad!