DieHard: Don't be afraid of coming to work in China. I've been here for over 8 years and
apart from the usually frustrations for westerners coping with the 'Asian habits' and ways
of life, it's quite OK.
The exception for me right now is the 'age' issue; I am 60+. That's why I was paying
attention to Busman's plight in Cambodia. I have been considering coming to Cambodia
for some time now as the 'age' issue (while existing no doubt), doesn't appear to be as
challenging as it is here in China.
However, In China, age (60) is not the only obstacle. A second major obstacle is that the
issue of the Z visa must be done in your 'Home' country! And then that is ONLY a temporary
one. This temporary Z visa has then to be upgraded when you get here and usually done in
the first month. Now that is a real bummer if you happen to be be already in China, or in a
neighbouring country! The exception is the 'continuation' of an existing Z visa obviously.
The third big obstacle are qualifications; a 'Degree'. This requirement is in full force with
the Chinese Education Bureau now. 'Fakes' have been known to be used but that is really a
'hit and miss' game. Also, apart from government checks, which comes later, some institutions
will do initial checks on your Degree. 'Fakes' have been used by teachers already here and already
having their Z visa (renewable yearly). From what I've gathered reading the Khmer440 posts,
the checking of qualifications seems to be a bit similar to that in Cambodia; some schools do
and some don't.
Private schools are suffering enormously with trying to recruit teachers, especially new teachers
from overseas. The issue of a temporary Z (working) visa has prolonged the recruitment process
exponentially. Schools cannot get the 'timing's of new classes synched to the recruitment of
teachers overseas. it is really a huge headache for them. Also, to try and overcome this issue,
they have to engage in their version of 'gift' money within their own government bureaucracies to
try to speed up the recruitment process and get the deal done, (Whispering..shush).
So if you are under 60 by a couple of years anyway, and have your paperwork, are prepared to go
'home' for a holiday, are patient, then don't be afraid to come to China as it's not that bad actually.
Contracts with housing and end of contract bonuses are also in place. Cost of living not bad at all.
Based on RMB6000 a month with housing thrown in, and of course depending on your lifestyle
(and pleasures) you ought to be able to save a third of your salary. This is a private school salary
for new teachers. Some universities pay around 8000 a month. Also, this is in the city of Zhuhai.
A lot of other major cities where the salaries are higher, you need to find your own accommodation
but an allowance is usually paid to you for that. (Not equal to the rent!)
For the 'ravers' there is always a 'Bar Street' somewhere with the usually accompaniments.
I have seen teachers red-eyed weary arriving late for class, but I can tell you with certainty
they don't last long. I should say I am based in South China near Macau and Hong Kong
in a little city called Zhuhai. So I guess the larger cities have all of these 'pleasures'
in greater abundance.
Finally, there are the 'good' schools and the 'not so good' school, no doubt about that, but
be careful about believing 'verbatim' everything you read. The Internet is full of warnings
disgruntled teachers who have been clearly unfairly treated for one
reason or another (so many!). However, in my 8 years I have also witnessed the other side
of the coin, where a fair share of teachers who have only themselves to blame, go Online
to give their account of why they were sacked whilst rubbishing the school at the same time.
(So many long stories!).
I have seen a school suffer (almost had to close down) from the 'pen' of some very disillusioned
and sad people who called themselves 'teachers'; teachers who thought it was 'OK' to turn up
for class while still under the influence of their previous nights 'pleasures'. Their disillusion
of course was misplaced. Instead of being with themselves, they transferred it onto the school,
and hidden behind pseudo monikers Online, they stuck the boot in with distorted information.
So yeah, if you are a fair dinkum teacher and can separate 'excess'
pleasure from work,
there is little to worry about coming to teach in China.
For the record, i am over-age, illegally working here for 2 years now. i do 'OK' with working
part-time for different schools, and have been caught only ONCE for teaching on a business
visa. So yes, I have been held in an interview room for 4 hours, in full view of a lock up cell,
while a 'smiling' police officer borrowed my 'specs' so he could read the charges, then handed
them back to me so I could sign the damn thing!!
. Later though, they did feed me a
Chinese 'take-away' and dropped me off back to my home!
Also, in a separate incident I have been caught at the border post, detained for 2 hours, in
another interview room with a lock-up cell a metre away from the interview table, questioned
and again finger printed, before being allowed to leave with a warning. Very intimidating are
these lock-up cells! (By the way, I was 12 hours
over on my exit date!)
So there you go, while I'm very good at my job, I'm no Saint, and I like my 'Adult' recreation from
time to time. (a lot quieter these days of course, now that I'm a pensioner!) However, I have
learned to be very disicplined at separating work and pleasure; that's how i survived and can
still keep going. (I make no apologies for this either).
So yes, Cambodia has been in my sights for a while, but BUSMAN'S experiences have put the
wind up me a bit. I was even packed and had my 'shots' done a couple of months ago, would
But similar to your comments about China Diehard, there is something not quite ringing
true about Cambodia for me. I can't quite put my finger on it as yet, but certainly, while
a lot of the posts on Khmer440 have good advice, there is a lot of 'hairy' stuff going on
there too it seems, eh? Plus, as Busman found out, it seems to be a hard slog to get settled
Sorry Diehard, didn't mean this to be so long!!! Are you still awake!
PS: No offence meant to any expat teachers 'enjoying' themselves over there!