Teach English and get paid to travel

Bell tower in Xi'an China

Bell Tower in Xi’an China

Why would anybody go to China to teach English? There are a number of reasons, but my favorite is travel. Let’s say you decide to take a week or more and visit China. Round trip airfare is going to run you anywhere from $600 to over $1,100. You could book a tour for nine days for somewhere between $1,200 to $1,900 depending on the time of year. Let’s go in October, it is just after the high tourist season, but most of the shops are still open. In most parts of the country, it hasn’t gotten too cold, and there is a good chance that won’t be any snow. I went to Xian in March they closed the airport just a few hours after we left.

The tour provides you with seven breakfasts, one lunch, and one dinner, which means you are responsible for the remaining meals. My guess is that meal will be at the hotel, or you might be able to eat at a nearby restaurant, if there is one. We stayed at one hotel that sat on a hill, and there was no place else available. However, the first night on the tour in Beijing you are probably served Peking duck for your one dinner. That is one of the meals that miss most from China.

Some of the places in Beijing that you will probably visit are the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall along with some shopping and possibly some short day excursions on your own. Then you are off to Xi’an to visit the Terra Cotta Warriors, maybe either the big or the little Wild Goose Pagoda. Also in Xi’an is the Forest of Stone Tablets, Xi’an Creat Mosque, the Drum Tower, and the city wall. With one a couple of days in Xi’an, you won’t have time to visit all of them, so you will have to decide what to see. Your final city might be Shanghai. Where you could visit the Pearl tower, visit the silk spinning museum, Jimno tower, Cheng Suan Temple, or just walk up and down the park next to the Huangpu River.

There might be an extra cost for some of the various excursions in the different cities that could easily add several hundred dollars to your trip. But it will be a fantastic week that will give you memories for a lifetime. However, if you choose to go over as an ESL teacher for a school, they will pay your travel expenses or give you a stipend, saving you $400 or more. Many schools will pick you up at the airport and will arrange for accommodations saving you another $400. You will get anywhere from 15 to 30 days of paid vacation a year, which is worth about $1,600, and most companies will pay for your medical. On top of all that you’ll make about $1,600 a month and all you need to pay for is your personal care and meals.  Instead of spending over $2,000 on a two-week trip to China, you could get paid over $30,000 in cash and benefits to live there.

You get a month of paid vacation, which I highly recommend that you take advantage of by traveling to see some of the sights. Don’t spend a couple days in Beijing, Xi’an or Shanghai, take four or five days and experience the city. When we were in Xi’an for a week, we took the time to visit all the places that I mentioned earlier and included Banpo. An archeology dig of several Neolithic settlements that included pottery kilns and houses organized inside a moat ring. There aren’t very many tours that go there, and it is quite a ride by taxi, so plan on a half day for this one trip. If you’re into archeology digs or want a glimpse into human existence some 6,000 years ago, it is worth the trip.

There are many other places that you could visit while teaching in China for a year. When I lived in China, I visited Taihu Lake, Wuxi, Wuzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Suzhou. I still didn’t get to see everything that I wanted to see, like the mask dance in Sichuan.

Just think, they will pay some or all of your travel expenses to come to China and teach English for a year. You won’t be pressured to see how much you can cram into a two-week tour or less.

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