Making a Difference through Friendship and English!

FAQ – Long Term Teaching

1. Do I need to be able to speak Chinese to teach English in China?

Being able to speak Chinese is not a requirement for teaching English in China. However, if you wish to learn some basic phrases there are many Mandarin language learning resources on line. Your school can help you find a teacher or student who will help you learn.

2. How much are air tickets to China?

Roundtrips flights vary in price depending on departure city, time of year the ticket is purchased, and how close to the departure date you buy the ticket. In general, tickets can be anywhere between US $800 and $1,600. Depending on the length of your assignment you may need to buy a one way ticket. We will help you locate the best ticket price available for the assignment for which you have applied.

3. What expenses will I have prior to arriving in China?

You will need to have a basic physical, buy an air ticket (roundtrip or one way), pay for medical emergency insurance that will cover your stay in China, and obtain a Chinese work visa. Depending on your teaching placement you may need to have an overnight stay in Beijing and you will need to pay for transportation to your site.

4. What type of housing will I have?

Your school will provide you a typical Chinese apartment on or near campus. The apartment will have hot water and heat. Most of the school accommodations have air conditioning, washing machines, TV, computers and internet, though these options vary The apartment will have a small kitchen with a cooktop unit and refrigerator, and often will have a rice cooker and microwave oven. Bedding and towels are generally to be provided by the teacher.

5. What is the food like?

Food in China is as varied as the people in China! Different areas have different specialties. Changzhi is known for its noodles and dumplings. It also has a Pizza Hut and multiple KFCs, though eating in these western restaurants are considerably more expensive than eating at typical small restaurants where your students eat. No volunteer has ever starved in China! In Beijing, you will have more food options which include western food, like KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Subway.

6. What is the deadline for applying?

There is no deadline for applications. Yet, if you expect to have a teaching placement for the fall semester, then you should apply no later than April. You are encouraged to apply by completing the Application Form and the Simplified Resume. After all reference forms are returned, you will be evaluated and told if you qualify for the current teaching opportunities. Please keep in mind that it takes time to get a Chinese visa and that air tickets increase in price as the departure date nears. Submitting your application early is always better than at the last minute.

7. Do I need a passport?

Yes, you need a passport that is valid until at least 6 months past your exit from China. If your passport does not meet this requirement, then you need to apply for a renewal. It can take 4 to 6 weeks to renew a passport. Do not wait until the last minute.

8. Do I need a visa to enter China?

Yes, a visa is necessary for entering China. We will guide you through the application process and give you directions on how to complete and submit the forms. It can take 2 to 4 weeks to obtain the visa which is why you should plan ahead and follow the steps we give you carefully.

9. Can I use a credit card or traveler’s cheques in China?

Chinese cash is the only payment accepted outside of big cities. Your foreign dollars can be changed to Chinese yuan at the Bank of China. Bringing dollars which can be easily exchanged into yuan is the best option for money in China. These dollars must be clean, crisp bills. Larger denominations of $100 or $50 are preferred.

Visa and Master Cards are accepted in many tourist stores and shops in large cities like Beijing. Changzhi has ATM machines at the Bank of China and can be used to get Chinese yuan. Foreign credit cards cannot be used at stores in Changzhi. Traveler’s cheques can be cashed at major banks in China, but it takes a long time to go through the process. Traveler’s cheques are not accepted as payment anywhere. Traveler’s cheques are best used as emergency funds.

10. How can I stay healthy in China?

We recommend that you consider following this advice:

  • Do not drink tap water in China. Drink only boiled water (provided at no extra cost) or bottled water (provided by some schools or available for purchase).
  • Eat food that is completely cooked.
  • Avoid eating at street food vendors.
  • Do not swim in rivers or lakes in China.
  • Bring a variety of medications with you from home for things like diarrhea, colds, and other general illnesses. Though medications for these are available in China, often people feel more comfortable using meds with which they are familiar.

Contact VFC if you have further questions.