Tips for Success

There are many things that can contribute to a successful and rewarding experience in China, but the following are particularly important:

Make sure that your purpose in going to China is to teach and experience its culture
If you are going there because you just want to flee from some reality at home or find time to ponder about your future, you are bound to fail and be miserable.  

Adequately prepare yourself academically
Although the salary and living standards are low in China , expectation of superior work is not.
Students in China are highly motivated and insatiable. For many of them, knowledge of English is an important avenue of mobility. To be successful as an English teacher, you need to be well prepared. You need to have a good, if not thorough, knowledge of EFL teaching methods, and the English language system (phonology, morphology, syntax, writing styles, etc). If you are shaky in this area, we suggest that you take a crash course or volunteer, time permitting, to assist experienced ESL teachers here in the U.S. at an education facility.  The experience will be quite different from what you can expect in China , but it will be invaluable in terms of solidifying the concepts you are learning. Please also visit the Resource section of our site, where you can find many suggestions and ideas.

Be patient, flexible and have a sense of humor
Be prepared that things are often done quite differently in China than in the West. One typical example is the way time is conceived of and managed in China. People tend to plan as they go and changes are often made at the last minute. Schools in China are very often accommodating when requests are made, but a lot of patience, flexibility and sense of humor are also crucial.

Lower your expectations
In many ways China is still a developing country, where conditions are often not as comfortable as those at home. If you set your sight too high and expect too much, you are likely to be disappointed, but If you lower your expectations, you will be pleasantly surprised. Your hosts will try to do their best to make your stay comfortable and pleasant. 

Be prepared for culture shocks
Unless you have been to China many times before, you are bound to experience culture shocks. Some of them may be pleasant and some of them may not be so. Try not to form an opinion until you have lived there for three or four months. Whatever opinion you form in the first couple of months after your arrival tend to be biased. Many teachers began with a plan to teach in China for a few months, but ended up staying in China for a few years. Hope that your experience is just as rewarding.