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Mistakes you don’t want to make as a TEFL teacher in China
Teaching in China is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you'll have an unforgettable time. Even experienced travelers, however, may make minor blunders while planning to teach in China or after they have reached their destination in China.
As a former TEFL instructor in China, I am well-versed in the pitfalls to watch out for and can assist you in avoiding them.
Let's get straight to it, shall we?
Having no background knowledge
If you only remember one item from this list, make it this: do your homework.
After you've read a little, come up with some questions of your own. The trick is to be well-prepared before traveling to China.
Identify your own preferences and what you want to gain from your experience.
Check out which colleges are accessible, where you want to work (China is vast), and what you can anticipate making.
Once you've made up your mind to go to China, check out this post where I go into more detail about these three factors.
Not having enough money set up for emergencies
Always have a month's worth of expenses in your pocket before you travel.
As a result of the school's pay cycle, you may not get your income for a month following your first day of class.
If it's part of your contract, your Chinese teacher's flat will come equipped with all the essentials including a bed, sofa, table, and fridge. Cutlery and clothing hangers, for example, are minor necessities.
Some of the little items you'll need are likely already in your flat, but you'll need to buy others.
This implies you'll have to put money aside, in the beginning, to furnish your new house and make you happy.
For networking, eating (which is inexpensive in China! ), and getting about, you'll need cash.
Not using a VPN service
Without a VPN, you'll be restricted from using Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp among other popular services.
As a TEFL instructor in China, you'll want a reliable VPN to keep you connected at all times.
The software should be installed on any device you want to take with you while visiting China, not just your smartphone.
Do it as soon as possible before you go for China. Once you arrive, you won't be able to download any popular VPN software.
You may also download a slew of other useful China applications. These are useful for navigating the city, interacting with the population, and making purchases.
I didn't double-check the visa criteria before applying.
Arriving in China with the correct visa is a must.
On a tourist visa, doing any kind of work in China is fraught with peril. To teach in China, you'll need a valid teaching visa sponsored by a company.
Any school or recruiter telling you differently should be avoided.
Choosing not to purchase travel protection insurance
While your school in China will provide you with some level of medical insurance, this may not be sufficient for you.
What would happen, for instance, if you were suddenly injured or sick and needed to be evacuated?
Purchasing travel insurance may come in handy in an emergency. Also, if you're looking to save money, insurance in Asia is far less expensive than it is in the US.
The time you spend traveling before or after your teaching stint should be covered even if you cannot afford an insurance for the full duration of your stay in China.
The school's insurance covers you just while you're working there.
Bypassing China Mobile's network
If you're visiting China, you may want to consider utilizing data roaming on your phone. It's a waste of time.
If you don't have a good deal with your cell phone provider in China, using the internet while traveling may rack up a hefty cost.
Additionally, your new local friends and coworkers won't be able to reach you on an international phone number.