Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The story so far...

Hi everybody,

This is going to be my first post here, but I don't really have much to go on about, yet.

About me: I'm a 23 year old college graduate (class of '09) and I've just about been facing the worst of the recession. In the Fall of 2008 I took a Mandarin class and I remember the professor mentioning opportunities to teach English in China, so I figured it's worth a shot. Right now I'm waiting for the visa to process, and will be heading over to Guangzhou in late February.

For those wondering, there seem to be many opportunities to teach English throughout Asia currently. There appear to be 3 variables for candidates: experience, a 4 year degree in any subject, and TOESL/TOEFL certification. Now, by variables I mean that you can get jobs without having any of the three, but should probably have at least 1, with the degree possibly being the most important of the three. All of the schools seem to demand that you are a native English speaker. Additionally, China has apparently just recently started requiring certification as well as a 4 year degree, per the school I will be working for.

While I can't specifically speak about my salary, I can say that the usual salaries in Chinese urban cities are 6000-7000+ RMB ($875-1,025+ USD per today's exchange rates) a month, with an apartment included, as well as up to 7000 RMB toward airfare (if you sign a 12 month contract, otherwise this might be pro-rated). Furthermore, 12 month contracts are standard, but you can negotiate for less time, such as one semester (you can always add time!). For relative terms, to help you think about cost of living, I have been told that recent Chinese college graduates expect to make around 2,000 RMB a month, if they can even find work (sound familiar?). Furthermore, I have a friend that tells me his uncle has been working in the private sector in China for ~20 years, has a Vice Presidential position, and is making 5,500 RMB per month. Additionally, we are talking a 20 hour work week here for teaching, and anything more than 20 hours is usually overtime! (Not including lesson planning, grading, etc).

I don't know much, if anything, about teaching in Korea or Japan, but I have heard Japanese salaries are usually 250,000-280,000 yen/month ($2,743-3,072 USD, per today's exchange rates), and may or may not include housing. From what I understand, this is a mediocre salary for the standard of living there, but I am not speaking from any experience. Either way, I'm sure there are a good amount of other resources regarding other countries in and out of Asia.

The bottom line is that teaching English abroad is supposedly a blast, as well as a great way to enhance your resume for you career-minded folks. I've been told it's a great way to make yourself more appealing to Federal agencies like the State Department, as well as others (take a guess as to whom). Additionally, it would make for a more interesting grad school application (crosses-fingers)!

I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I'll do my best to answer, and if I don't know, I'll make up something that may or may not be anywhere close to an answer.