Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have any teaching qualifications to take part in TEIC?

No. The only requirements are as follows:

  • You must be a University graduate (any discipline is fine) or about to graduate before departure for China
  • You must be a native English speaker. If you are not a native English speaker but speak English fluently, you may also be eligible
  • No teaching experience is required
  • You must be confident that teaching in China is what you want to do

What should go into my CV

The Chinese selectors are looking essentially at your english language qualifications and also any type of teaching experience or contact with young people. So, for example, put GCSE english pass at the top of your GCSE results. If you sat English at A level do the same. Any English literature or language courses at university need to presented clearly. You could even put these results into bold font. If you have acted as a mentor, or worked in a summer camp, or been a volunteer, etc, again make the most of those jobs. This 'teaching' experience, in the widest sense, will be noted and recognised.

If you have worked part time in a bar or pub do not put that into your CV, instead indicate you worked as a waiter or cashier. Selectors do not approve of bar work. This reflects a cultural difference.

Increasingly, applicants are asked to participate in a phone interview. Try to do it via Skype. Otherwise, let the selector make the call to avoid the cost of an international phone call. The interviewer is going to listen to your language and accent. Speak clearly, slowly, use your best English [not slang]. She will be judging you less on content and more on intelligibility. Can she understand your English. If not, then the students will not understand you and no job will be offered. Also, check out the city and the school/university on google before the interview. This will show that you have made an effort to familiarise yourself with the institution. Prepare to ask a few meaningful questions.

There is a CV template available to download via the 'How to Apply' page.

What if my degree certificate is available later than the end of August?

You need to check with your University Registry at an early date about the issue date of the certificate. See if you can obtain an early copy, the earlier the better. If the Registry tells you it will be later than the end of August contact TEIC urgently with this information and state the anticipated date of receipt of the certificate. Obtain this information as soon as possible after applying to TEIC. Late arrival of your degree certificate ma affect where we can place you in China.

Should I have any knowledge of the local language?

No, you will be teaching in English. You can, however, choose to study Mandarin while you are living in China. Language exchange lessons are common and therefore free. You are encouraged to learn Mandarin and thereby greatly enhance your CV and job prospects. Some schools provide Mandarin lessons.

Will I have training?

The Chinese Ministry of Education is raising the entry standard of foreign teachers coming to teach English. Not only must you be a graduate but TEFL is being introduced.

CEAIE has introduced a 120 hour online TEFL course, prepared and certified by the Department of Foreign Experts. This is to be completed prior to departure to China. On arrival in August practical training is organised at a 10 day summer training camp. Both the course and the camp are free for our teachers. The certificate is issued after the completion of the camp. Thereafter teachers travel to their placements.

The International Exchange Centre offers an alternative China approved TESOL course on arrival in Changsha via its one week training camp.

The TEFL course and the camp are offered free of charge and this includes accommodation at the training camp. However, if a teacher does not attend the camp but goes directly to the school/college for specific reasons, then he/she becomes liable to pay for the online training. The TESOL course is also free but a small charge may be required for accommodation.

Will my students have any English language skills prior to my teaching?

Yes, students will have very basic English skills depending on their age.

When will I get holidays?

There is a four/five week holiday for the Chinese New Year in January/February. There is also a week’s holiday in the mid fall and spring semesters. In addition there are a number of national public holidays. You are paid in the holidays. The higher paid jobs may have fewer holidays.

What kind of social life can I expect?

The social life really depends on you. There are numerous places to eat, do sports, learn a language and go out with other expatriates and locals. The Chinese are very hospitable and very interested in Westerners.

Are there any extra/hidden costs?

It is strongly recommended that you purchase medical insurance. The schools have health centres for minor ailments. Other than the visa, registration fee, health and criminal record check, there are no further costs. You will pay for your flights in the first instance, but provided you complete the programme, you will have these refunded in two stages. Half at the middle of the contract and half on completion of the contract. Some schools reimburse the monthly salary and others at the end of the contract. See your contract of employment for details.

In order to obtain a Z visa (work visa) you will need to complete a medical test. This will involve a check up with your GP and the completion by the doctor of a medical form from China. Some doctors charge for this service, others do not. In addition, you are required to take a HIV test. A HIV test may cost around £60. You may be asked to obtain a F visa (visitor) which does not need health checks. This visa is changed to a Z visa on arrival in China. If your school requests you obtain an F visa check this with your placement organisation in China and with TEIC.

There are changes taking place in various provinces regarding the medical examination. Therefore, do not take the UK examination until you have consulted with your placement in China to seek their requirements. You need the medical clearance prior to applying for your visa but there is adequate time to sort out local requirements.

Are all the jobs the same with the same conditions?

Job conditions, pay, holidays and time in China, vary. Make sure you read the contract before signing it and also check with TEIC and your china contact if you are unsure. Basically, the higher the salary the greater are the hours and possibly fewer holidays.

Can I come home early?

If you find you cannot complete the programme, you may return home. However, as you will be breaking the contract, you will not get your airfare reimbursed and could be liable to pay compensation to your school. For this reason, it is essential that you really consider the implications of going to China before you go. It is a work experience, and there will be ups and downs, make sure you are ready to face them.

What do I do about medical treatment?

It is strongly recommended that you purchase medical insurance the event of serious medical problems. TEIC has indentified a low cost, full cover policy for its teachers that also includes personal possessions. The Schools have health centres for minor ailments. You are advised to take a small supply of common medications with you, such as painkillers, cold and flu treatments, diarrhoea tablets. Some schools provide extra cover. Check the contract of employment before purchasing health cover in the UK.

English speaking medical services are available. See http://www.unitedfamilyhospitals.com

What is the electronic progress check list issued by TEIC?

We wish to keep you informed of the progress of your application. The checklist allows you to monitor what has happened and when it happened. The chain of communication, particularly within China, is complicated and subject to local bureaucratic involvement. This sometimes results in delays. So, 'silence' does not necessarily mean activity and progress. The check list will assist you in progressing with your application. Stay alert and stay active.

I have heard that excessive consumption of alcohol is frowned upon?

Applicants are going to China as professional teachers and those graduates who drink alcohol should remember that drunkenness is strongly disapproved and could even result in disciplinary action by the school. Moderation is an important characteristic.

What is the accommodation like?

The accommodation is basic but functional. You will have your own apartment or might share a two-bedroom apartment with one other teacher on the programme. The vast majority have single accommodation. Request picutres of the accommodation.
Apartments are on-campus, secure, furnished and have modern amenities such as a shower, washing machine, TV and often an internet connection. The apartment is provided free of charge, but, utilities may or may not be included, so be sure to check your contract. In Shanghai schools do not provide accommodation. You will be assisted in finding an apartment on arrival. Your salary is increased to reflect this cost. As in the UK some landlords may request a bond at the start of the tenancy.

How many hours will I be teaching?

You will teach for approximately 18 hours per week. You may be offered more teaching for extra pay. If you accept a full time position you are paid accordingly.

Will we be teaching English exclusively?

You are going as English language teachers but there may be an opportunity for you to teach your degree subject. If you would like to teach your subject inform us as early as possible.

When will I hear if I have been given a placement on the programme?

You will know no later than the end of July of the year of entry to the programme, where you have a placement. Prof Thomas will give you an immediate decision on eligibility and acceptance having reviewed your application and documentation. TEIC's decision takes place after completing the documentation and speaking with Professor Thomas.

Can I bring my family/partner with me?

You may be able to bring your partner and/or children with you depending on your circumstances. This will incur extra costs. If you wish to discuss your personal circumstances, please get in touch with Professor Phil Thomas.

How much will I be paid?

You will be paid no less than £100 a week (part time), which in China is worth around £400. It is equivalent to a local teacher’s full time salary. As you do not pay for your apartment, this is yours to spend as you wish. You will not be required to pay tax. The average Chinese salary is the equivalent of £300 a month.

How will I be paid?

Most likely, your salary will be paid monthly either by cash or bank deposit. Depending on the individual school, you will either be paid at the beginning, middle or end of the month. It is suggested that you bring between £100-£300 to see you through until your first payment. Of course, your final salary will be available for you to take out of China as will be your airfare refund (if paid at the end of the contract).

What support will I have?

You will be assigned an English speaking ‘buddy’ in school who will be able to help with any queries you have and assist you if you have any problems. The CEAIE and International Exchange Centre provide full local support so you will never feel you are on your own. They are quick to respond and deal with any problems you may have. A 'help' document will be sent to you before leaving the UK. This will give you a list of things to do and not do. The Chinese support staff speak fluent English.

What will I need to do about a visa?

You will need to obtain an 'Z' visa which allows you to work in China. In some provinces you will apply for a 'F' visa and convert it to a 'Z' visa on arrival.

Once you have been accepted onto the TEIC programme, a teaching post has been identified and your medical form and documentation is completed, you will receive a letter from China to send to the Chinese Embassy as part of your visa application, to confirm your employment. Alternatively, we recommend that you use our approved visa agent based in London. If you do they will handle all the paperwork. This will save you time, energy and avoid possible errors. Our agent has worked for us previously and proved to be reliable.

When will I find out whether I have been accepted on to the programme?

After you have talked with Professor Thomas, and sent your documents to him he will inform you immediately of the outcome of your application. If successful your set of documents are sent to Beijing or Changsha and a teaching position is identified. This normally takes several weeks as Chinese bureaucracy is both thorough and slow. However, as we have more jobs than applicants it is unlikely that you will be refused a job.

Do I have any choice about which city I am placed in to work?

You can certainly list a preference. We cannot guarantee to meet your first choice, although we will seek to do so. Beijing and Shanghai have introduced new visa rules for foreign teachers. Other teachers will be in major cities in other parts of China. We have no rural placements. Let Prof Thomas or Jasmine know if you have any preferences towards teaching age and location.

Might it be possible to work in Shanghai without work experience or a post-graduate degree?

We now have some full time appointments in Shanghai where fresh graduates are accepted. The salary is 12,000 a month but no accommodation is provided although help is offered to find suitable accommodation. We also have more openings in Beijing. However, remember the 'real' China is not the two mega-cities.

What happens when I arrive in China?

Depending on where your placement is, you will either arrive in Beijing, Shanghai or Hunan in mid-August to attend the Teaching Practice Camp. Your exact arrival date will be confirmed by CEAIE or the International Exchange Centre. You will be met at the airport by a CEAIE/IEC representative and taken to the camp. On completing the camp you will travel to your final destination. Again, help will be provided at the camp to arrange transport. You will be met at your final destination by someone from the school/university. Make sure full travel details are sent to and acknowledged by the receiving persons.

How many students will I be expected to teach?

The classes could be up to 50 and the students are well behaved and anxious to learn.Think 'fun' and 'interesting' when preparing for class. Music, mime, films, quiz, actions, debates, Q and A: are all ok.

What happens if I have problems in my job/with my students?

Initially, should difficulties arise, we suggest you seek to solve them locally. You will have a Chinese school 'buddy' to talk with and there will be at least one other English language teacher from this programme with you or close by. However, the CEAIE or the International Exchange Centre are also on hand to deal with problems you may encounter. You will have a contact telephone number. They will respond quickly and efficiently to solve any matters that may arise. Our current teachers have been extremely grateful for this local support. Do not worry, you will not be abandoned!

Will I have to prepare my own lessons?

Some schools will give you a detailed syllabus and text books to follow. Often you will be responsible for planning your lessons. There is a great deal of local support to help with this, along with websites. See ‘Support and links’ for more information. You can also bring photos, postcards and objects from home to use as teaching aids.

What will I need to wear?

The dress code in schools is not formal; jeans and t-shirts are acceptable. However you should avoid clothing that is too revealing during teaching time. As the climate varies so much throughout China, you will need to bring clothes for both hot and cold seasons. However, clothing is very cheap in China - unless you are a "giant" size by Chinese standards. Please note, piercings may need to be removed and tattoos may need to be covered in the classroom.

When will I need to arrive in China?

Many schools expect you to arrive around August 25th; some, a few days later. You will be informed of the exact date once your position of placement is known. However, there is a language training camp organised prior to starting teaching.

You are advised not to purchase a plane ticket until your visa arrives at your home as delays may mean you need to rebook your ticket.

My employment contract

Your contract of employment will be with the school or university not with CEAIE, the International Exchange Centre or TEIC. Please read it carefully as there may be variations from the general information stated on the website. For example, teachers in Hunan are repaid their international airfare at the end of the contract and not in two equal parts. However, contracts do tend to follow a standard form. If you need advice on the meaning of the contract please contact Professor Thomas, he is legally qualified.

Who is my employer?

You will be employed by your China placement institution not by CEAIE, The International Exchange Centre or TEIC. You will be sent a contract to read, sign and return before you apply for your visa. These contracts are essentially standard throughout China and reflect the information on this website. However, you need to read it carefully to see if any term is different from the general description on this website. If you are not sure about the implications or meaning of the contract contact Professor Thomas for advice and guidance.

Teaching Practice Camp

The busy Teaching Practice camp will mainly be focusing on teaching practice rather than fun or training and it will be intensive. It is a great opportunity for you to practice how to be a good teacher and how to teach.Local students do not pay tuition fees to attend.

These camps will start in the middle of August. The commencement date will be finalised later. They will take place either in Beijing, Shanghai or Hunan. Your school destination will determine the camp you will attend.

Beijing and Shanghai. Accommodation is provided free of charge. Teaching materials for the Camp will be sent to you prior to your departure for China. Please review and prepare them in advance as you will be going straight into an intensive programme. Joining instructions will be sent to you by CEAIE/International Exchange centre.

For teachers commencing in February there is no training camp available. Therefore, they will be expected to pay for an online course. The amount is £150-£300. This will be paid by yourself.

Travel to placement after the Training Camp
Esther (CEAIE) or Lany (International Exchange Centre) will help you book train / flight tickets to your host schools while you are completing the training camp. You will need to have some money for this domestic transfer, plus 20-50 RMB for commission fee for each ticket. You will receive these internal travel costs back from your school. Make sure your school knows of your travel plans in China so that you can be met at your final destination.

Do I need travel Insurance?

Health cover for serious matters is strongly recommended.

Schools will cover coughs, colds, bruises, etc through its own health centre. Some even have a university hospital which will treat you. Do remember you might fall ill or have an accident. We know that young people believe they will live forever and therefore do not think of insurance. We cannot oblige you to take it but we do strongly advise you to have such cover. We do not take legal or financial responsibility for you if you are not insured. Alternatively, some institutions provide limited insurance cover. So, check out the contract for clauses about health insurance.

The best Travel Insurance price TEIC has found is with, the only long stay travel insurance specialists in the UK.

I want to travel outside China in the holiday. Do I need to apply for a multiple entry visa?

No, a single entry visa is ok. Once you are a 'resident' you can travel outside China and re-enter as a 'resident'.

Do I need a Criminal Record Check?

Yes. From July 2013 all CEAIE teachers must produce a clearance certificate.

You will need to go to your local registered police bureau to ask them how you apply for the official criminal clearance certificate. The certificate will need to be on official paper signed by the police. There may be a small cost to complete this.

The certificate can take up to 8 weeks to come through so please make sure you apply for this early in the process as soon as your placement has been confirmed. IEC has alternative arrangements.

Can I book a holiday before I travel to China in August?

We ask teachers to not book any holidays prior to travel in August.
The final weeks are crucial as you will be organising your medical, waiting for your work permit and invitation papers to be delivered from your host school and you will then need to be organising your visa document. This can be a lengthy process so time is required to sort this out.

My passport is due to expire whilst in China, will this be ok?

No. Please make sure your passport is valid at the time of application for your whole stay in China. If your passport is due to expire in the next few months, please organise to renew it as soon as possible. We do not want you to renew your passport during the application process as it is very complicated and expensive for the Chinese to change passport details as a result of renewal.

Can I be placed with my partner / friends?

Yes. We place partners together. We can do the same for friends, either together or close to each other. If you do not want to be alone we can place you with another TEIC teacher.

I am not totally sure about going. Do you think I should take a chance?

We would not encourage you to go unless you have really decided its for you. China is different and its not for everyone. Do your research on China, perhaps go with a friend, or ask us to place you with another english speaker. What we wish to avoid is you going to China and then returning prematurely to your home. This is not good for you nor for your school. Everyone is disappointed.

What do people earn in China? It will help me understand how far my salary will stretch?

Family incomes vary from area to area. In 2013 the Peking University did a survey. The Chinese average annual income in 2012 was £1,335. In Shanghai, a richer and more expensive area, it was £3,000, and in Gansu, a rural area, is was £1,300. You will be paid not less than 4,000 a month [£400] adding up to annual salary of £4,800 and that includes free accommodation.

Some jobs pay more than other jobs: why?

The standard position pays between 4/5,000 rmb a month. It is about 9.5 rmb to a £. The average salary in China is around 3,000 rmb a month. There is a simple formula that explains the different salary levels. The higher the salary the more working time involved and the fewer the holidays. It is a question for you to resolve: time or money. But do not worry even the lower paid positions provide you with an income that is more than sufficient to live well in China.

What do the top jobs pay?

We Have a limited number of schools, independent of CEAIE and IEC that pay 8,000 a month and the other benefits. These are primary and grammer schols. Although the pay is higher the holidays are fewer and working hours are longer e.g 8.30 to 4.30.

What does the support package offer?

The support service is independent from the employment placement. Indeed, it is illegal to charge a fee for this second element. Our support package covers you in the UK and also during your time in China. Preparing for China, getting there, staying there for a year with appropriate local backup is essentially what the support programme does. It also covers the language training programmes where required. Full details are on the website. China is both rewarding and challenging. Our aim is to support you in making informed and correct decisions throughout the application and departure processes and thereafter make sure that there is appropriate support for you in China.

There is another website called Teach English in China. Is it the same organisation?

No it is totally different and we advise you to be clear about the difference. We are also Teach English in China but better known as TEIC. When you contact us send your email to Phil@teic.co.uk or phone Professor Thomas on 07531789984

I have read about pollution in China. Could this affect my asthma?

As China has industrialised its care of the environment is questionable. If you suffer from a chest complaint let us know and we will seek to place you in an appropriate school.

Why TEIC?

  • Minimal cost package
  • International programme with a difference
  • No local language knowledge is required
  • Opportunity for travel around Asia
  • Small friendly, non-commercial programme
  • Full local support
  • Free TEFL and TESOL training and Teaching Practice Camp