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Teach English in China


Teach English in China - an ancient nation with a rich cultural history, the second largest economy, and the world's largest population. Salaries and English teaching jobs in China are on the rise and opportunities for one-year contracts and long-term careers are plentiful and rewarding. Those that embark on the adventure of teaching English in China soon discover the many benefits: a challenging experience that will change your life, opportunities to explore this vast nation and surrounding countries in Asia, Unique and delicious cuisine, savings (did you know the cost of living in China is much lower than in the "West"?), new friends from all over the world, and expanded career options back home thanks to the newly-earned international experience on your resume. It's an excellent option for new graduates with any diploma looking for their first job after college or university. Many teachers Footprints places to teach English in China are just like that - recent grads with no previous teaching experience. Check out our FAQ's about teaching in China: The main benefits of teaching in China, How to process your Visa, and More teaching in China FAQs.

9,706,961 sq km (larger than USA)

Choosing to leave the comfort of your own culture is the first step in what can be the biggest and most spectacular adventure of your life, or, done incorrectly, it could become a drawn-out, arduous process filled with emotional ups and downs, and hours of paperwork. Teaching abroad all starts with a resume—yours. China, just like any employer in the US, wants qualified professionals within its borders, and that goes doubly for foreigners thinking of punching the clock in the Middle Kingdom.

Getting your visa to teach abroad in China differs in terms of cost, process, jurisdiction and processing time. These differences could be because of the country your are applying from or even the city you are applying from. It's strange but true.

Fees for Chinese Visas for South Africans

Getting your visa to teach abroad in China is relatively straight forward for South Africans. There are four possible consular offices located conveniently in the following locations:

China Visa Application Process For New Zealander Teachers

Getting a visa to teach in China is a straight-forward process for New Zealanders if you follow the instructions provided here. Please note that it is possible to apply for a working visa in China by mail at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in New Zealand.

Visa Process and Fees for Irish Teachers Getting Visas To Teach in China

Fees for Chinese Visas for Canadian Teachers

Getting a visa to teach English abroad in China can be a bit of a struggle as a Canadian given you have to apply for the visa at the consulate or have someone apply on your behalf. There are agents that are able to do this.

Fees and Procedures for British Citizens Getting a Visa to Teach in China

Applications for visas at the Chinese Embassy or Consulates in the UK must be made in person you the applicant must entrust a person to submit the application on their behalf.

Applications by post are not accepted.

Fees for Chinese Visas for British

*** Note that fees must be paid in cash only.

Standard Visa Processing


4 working days

Fees and Processes for Chinese Visas for Australians

G'day everyone, here are the simple steps in how Australians get visas to teach or travel in China. First you have to find out where you are supposed to go.

Fees and Processes for Americans to Get Visas to Teach in China

The instructions on the Chinese Embassy website are very clear about the procedure for your application to get a visa to teach in China.

  • Step 1 Take a number first and wait until your number is called.
  • Step 2 When your number is called, you can approach any available window, either window #3, window #4, or window#5...

Wow - what happened to window #1 and #2?

If ever you wished you were an expert, this might well be your best chance at legally being called one. This is a certificate given to most foreigners who are working as teacher in the PRC (Foreign expert or not). This can give you discounts on hotels and entrance fees to tourist attractions. The idea is that you pay the same price as Chinese people.

Note: Not all hotels give discounts for the foreign expert’s card, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

How to apply for a Foreign Expert Card

If you will be accompanied by a spouse who will not be teaching English, or by your children, they will need to get a Z visa in order to accompany you to China. When you apply for your Z visa, you can apply for your spouse or child’s Z visa at the same time.

While your paperwork is being shuttled back and forth to process your visa, you will be asked to make arrangements for your transportation to China. Book with the Footprints travel agent.  Save us incredible headaches and potentially huge expenses for you by booking with the expert in teacher flights to China.

In all cases, you will be asked to pay for your ticket up front, and will be reimbursed for this in your first month.


Benefits of Teaching in China

Beyond the glass walls of the coffee shop the rain is coming down hard, and people cling tightly to their umbrellas, shifting their bags and purses so that everything has a hope of remaining dry. Cars drive by, insulated from the elements while those riding scooters have donned their purple and blue rain ponchos that cover all but the tires and their faces as they persevere through the downpour with steely grimaces. It’s a rainy day in Shanghai. 

Health Certificates in China

The Public Security Bureau requires health certificates for foreign nationals seeking residency in China. If you're teaching in China, this is you.  To obtain a health certificate, you need to have a complete physical examination which shows you are in good health and free of any communicable diseases (including an HIV test, Hepatitis B and Syphilis test and sometimes a chest x-ray and ECG). These tests will be done IN CHINA.

IMPORTANT - we HIGHLY recommend that you get travel medical insurance when teaching in China.

Read your contract, many schools in China will only allow for the provision of a maximum allocation or maximum reimbursement for medical treatment over an annual period.

China is an enormous country with several different weather systems and the geography is just as diverse. From the cold northern reaches of China and the Gobi Desert to the blistering hot sunshine and subtropical climate.

Traveling by train in China is always an interesting experience for a foreigner. 

On my way back to Canada this year I took an overnight train from Anqing to Beijing. I had booked a "soft sleeper" which has nothing to do with the quality of the bed. The "hard sleeper" has 6 beds to a compartment and the soft four. On this occasion there were a couple of younger fellows as well as an older lady on her way to visit her son in Beijing.

The subway is a fast, convenient and a helpful way to get around the city--except of course during rush hours (7:00-9:00 and 16:30-18:00) when they're very crowded.

There are two subway lines: one circles the city and one extends into the western suburbs.

They offer an experience for tourists. They are found around big hotels and street corners in cozy seasons. Rickshaws provide a more relaxing way to explore the city.

Prices are bargained with the driver and though prices are usually reasonable, one should still be careful--it is not unheard of for a new tourist pay 50 Yuan for a 2 minute ride from the Friendship Store to the Subway.

Taxi is a convenient means of transportation in large and medium-sized tourist cities in China, with fares ranging from 1 to 2 Yuan per kilometre. Simply raise your hand, and the taxi stops immediately for hotels in Beijing and other tourist cities.

Taxi meters start at 6 RMB in most places.

In general, the city buses (Gonggong Qiche) provide the cheapest way to get around most cities. The cost is 50 fen (5 jiao) per trip, generally inside the 3rd ring road; generally outside the 3rd ring you pay 50 fen for the first 3 stations, and then an additional 30 fen for each subsequent 3 stops.

The mainland of China is criss-crossed by a total of 226,800 kilometres of rivers, including 136,000 kilometres of inland waterways. The Shanghai-Chongqing line along the Yangtze River extends for 2,399 kilometres. On any given day the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River are being plied by more than 50 luxury tourist boats.  Simply put, water is an option when considering travel in China.  If you're close to a river and you're looking to go somewhere up or down the river check with a local travel agent to see what your options are.

Domestic Ocean Liners:

Train travel in China is cheap and relatively comfortable (depending on the type of fare you book).  The only issue with train travel is that you often don't have much time off and it takes a while to get anywhere on the train.  The best way to do train travel is to do you best to plan your trip for night travel and then to get a sleeper berth.  The beds are relatively comfy and hopefully the rocking of the train the will put you to sleep.

Virtually every city has an airport or it'll have one close by.  The best way to book a flight in China is to go to a travel agent.  Checking prices online simply doesn't work as most of the booking engines aren't accessible in English and the large travel sites like expedia and such simply don't have access to deals.

There are nine primary airlines in China:


Changbaishan Heaven Lake, Teaching in Dalian

         Dalian is great, but you can’t spend all your time just in the city limits. Scenic to historic, urban to rural, there’s something for every type of traveler near the Liaodong peninsula. Take a taxi, bus, high-speed train, or even shell out for a plane ticket, but you can reach all these locales for a day or weekend trip easily—and cheaply—enough.

Things to do and see in Dalian

Dalian, formally known on many Western maps as Port Arthur, doesn’t have the volume of history as, say, Xi’an, but the last two hundred years or so has definitely been eventful for the North Eastern city.

I am a Footprints teacher currently teaching senior high school in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China. I arrived here in November, 2007 and am enjoying my second stint as a Footprints teacher.

I am a Footprints alumni teacher currently teaching oral English in Anqing, China. Anqing is a small city by Chinese standards located in Anhui province on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Nevertheless it has its fair share of parks which offer a variety of surroundings. Public parks are so important to the urban Chinese as most live in apartments.

Whether you're wheeling and dealing in China, or just trying to get a few yuan knocked off the price of the Mao bobblehead, there are a few points to consider to help your negotiations go smoothly.

Foreigners are not expected to know all of these things the minute they step off the plane and will be given great latitude, however your knowledge of what is not acceptable can make your transition to life in China much smoother.

By being aware of some of the differences you lessen the impact of culture shock and you make your life considerably easier.  Here is a list of some of the more overt cultural differences of Western culture in relation to Chinese culture:

Chinese Traditional Holidays

  • Spring Festival (The Chinese New Year) (1st of the 1st month)

The biggest and most celebrated festival in China and part of east and Southeast Asia. This usually runs over 3 days not including the weekend and is at the end of January or beginning of February. It changes in accordance with the moon.

This is a list of official holidays in China.

In China, foods are given particular meanings, so that on certain occasions a type of food, can only be eaten by some specific individuals, or must be eaten on specific occasion.

Long noodles symbolize longevity. Youngsters or seniors will have a bowl of "Long Life Noodles" in the expectation of a healthy life.

In China, people tend to eat together; usually the host will serve some dishes with his or her own chopsticks to guests to show his or her hospitality. For Westerners it is quite acceptable to leave the food alone if you feel too awkward. Your host will express some unhappiness if you don't at least try it and for some strange reason they get a kick out of ordering the most bizarre things for you to try (EVEN if they don't like eating it themselves!).

Alcohol is part of Chinese folklore and in modern China alcohol still plays an important role in this folklore, despite many social vicissitudes. It still appears in almost all social activities, the most common occasions being birthday parties for seniors, wedding feasts and sacrifice ceremonies, where liquor must be the main drink to show happiness or respect.