12 Best Entry Level Jobs For Recent College Graduates

5 Best Entry Level Jobs For Recent College Graduates

University graduation is an exciting time for many young adults, but what happens if you are at this point in your life and you do not have any idea what the future holds for you? That small caveat can have you wondering if all those years in university were worthwhile.  

Thankfully, those years were well spent, because they will allow you to eventually have the job of your dreams.  If you are unsure of where you want to work, or what you want to do, after university graduation, then you must check out these best jobs for university graduates

1. Translators

working as a Translators after graduation

If you have a knack for languages and spent part of your time in university learning a second or even third language, then a translator job might be your best option upon graduation. This position may have you staying in one place, but most of the time, you will find that you are traveling to different exciting parts of the world.

The best part is that you can either work for one specific company or you can work for a translation firm and help multiple companies at the same time.  

2. Web Developers

 graduate entry level job: junior developer

Young adults are more tech savvy than the older generations, which is why you may want to consider becoming a web developer after attending university.  You can spend your days creating fabulous websites, while working on enhancing your programming and graphic design skills.

While you can work for a company doing this, there is also potential for you to branch out on your own and do some freelance work or be self-employed.  

3. Real Estate Agent

working as a real estate agent after graduation.jpg

Becoming a real estate agent is easier if you managed to take a lot of the classes when you were in university, but nothing should stop you from taking them after graduation!  As a real estate agent, you can work when your schedule allows it, although, you will earn more if you put in a forty plus hour week.

This is an excellent option if you want to help people find their dream home or if you are interested in finding a job that you can do in addition to another one. 

4. Computer Support Specialist

working as a technical customer support after graduation.jpg

You may not have the skills to develop websites after graduating from university, but you should have the skills to help others with their computer issues. Computer support specialists are becoming more popular and that demand will only continue to grow in the future. As a support specialist, you will use your knowledge to answer many questions and solve problems that many people have throughout the day. 

This position is available within many individual companies or you can choose to work in a call center environment and help numerous companies or clients each day.  

5. A Substitute Teacher Or A Teaching Assistant

graduate entry level jobs - teaching assistant

For college graduates who had majored in Music, Education, the Liberal Arts, or Computer Science can become a teaching assistant or a substitute teacher. This way, they will also see if teaching is a career they really want to get into as this is a great way to test the waters.  

Have you ever considered teaching English abroad? Panda Buddy is currently hiring for more than 300 positions in China. We carefully select our education partners to make sure they are well recognised in the industry, provide great local support (airport pickup, visa, and accommodation support) so that you can have a smooth transition to your new life in China. Apply today with Panda Buddy to get your journey started.

6. Film and Video Editors

working as a film editor after graduation.jpg

Film and videos are taking over the world, which is why you may want to jump on the bandwagon now!  This is one of the fastest growing positions and while you may love the thought of working on films, you will find that the majority of your work will be videos.  This is due to videos becoming quite popular online, as everyone seems to prefer watching content instead of reading it.

As a video editor, you can work for some major companies or you can work on your own, as you help bloggers and other online companies enhance their customers’ experiences.  

7. Technical Writers

working as a technical writer after graduation.jpg

As a regent university graduate, you may think that you never want to write another paper for the rest of your life! However, you may want to consider becoming a technical writer, because the pay is amazing!

This position is filled with opportunities to write instruction manuals, how-to guides, and many other technical documents that others will find helpful in their day-to-day lives.  Technical writers do need to do a lot of research, but the end result will be something that you can be proud of.  

8. Construction Workers

working in construction as a graduate

Getting a degree in one field doesn’t mean that you need to stick to that field once you graduate. There are so many options available to you, including as a worker in the field of construction. It is quite common for people with English or History degrees to find themselves working as construction managers within ten years of graduating.  

You will definitely not start out making tons of money as a construction worker, but as you learn the trade and get the experience, you will find yourself rising up in the ranks.  All you need is a love of working with your hands and the desire to solve any problem that comes your way quickly.

Once you have acquired both those things, as well as the ability to construct almost anything, you can then use your degree to become a construction manager or even get promoted to a higher position.  

9. Paralegals

working as a paralegal after graduation.jpg

Some people toy with the idea of continuing their education and going to law school, but then never do because they do not know if it is the right choice for them. 

If you are having these thoughts, then you may want to consider working as a paralegal after graduation. This position will allow you to learn more within the field and see if it is truly something that you would want to do for the rest of your life.  

10. Marketing Coordinators

working as a marketing coordinator as a graduate

Everyone normally takes some type of marketing class in university and that is what usually piques their interest in this field after graduation. This is definitely the position that you should consider if you love creating ideas and strategies that will allow someone to see the potential in a product and why they absolutely need to purchase it. 

Marketing coordinators work in many different areas, both in print and online, so you should have the skills to promote products in all areas. This position also requires you to multitask as you work, so be prepared to have multiple balls in the air at once, especially in the beginning when you are just learning the ropes.  

11. A Social Media Manager

working as a social media manager after graduation.jpg

This career is one that many freelancers without a university degree can do from home, but when it comes to working in social media management through in this situation. That is because their clients will come and go.

If you want to work as a social media manager at a larger company where your position will be secure, then you will need to be a university graduate with degrees in Public Relations or Communications.  

12. Administrative Assistant

 graduate entry level job: administration assistant

This role is a common one that many college graduates that have degrees in Communications, Psychology, and Business take on.

This way, those who start out as an administrative assistant can eventually move on to management roles if they were to stay working for a long time in any particular company.

Conclusion

These are some of the best jobs out there if you just graduated from university and are looking for a position that you will love!  You may need to start at the bottom for each of them, but they all have potential for enormous growth. This is excellent news, especially if you fall in love with the position and know that it is something that you want to do for the rest of your life! 

If you are thinking about venturing outside of your comfort zone, teaching English abroad in China will also be a great option, you get to experience a new culture, while strengthening very important skills such as communication, leadership and languages etc. 

10 Things I Wish I Knew About Teaching in China

10 things i wish i knew before teaching in China

I worked and lived in China for three years, and learned a lot that I wouldn’t have expected about the workforce and education in China. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before teaching English in China.

1. Naptime is very important

Chinese people value nap time a lot. This means that most offices will have 12:00-1:00 lunch, then 1:00-2:00 optional nap at your desk. This is awesome because you don’t get penalties for taking the nap, but also means that if you want a meeting at 1:00 pm, good luck. I had many students say they were free then forget to meet with me because they were asleep.

2. Your students could be at any level

teaching in china - Your students could be at any level

When teaching in China, you may work with students who don’t even know hello in English, or students who are fairly fluent. If you have never spoken to a 6-year old that can’t speak a lick of English… it’s tough. They are just barely grasping their native language and then are expected to start learning yours. 

Children are information absorbers, so they learn quickly, but it can be frustrating when they respond in Chinese and you just don’t know how to help, or when they can’t quite figure out what you mean, even with all the gesturing and props in the world. 

3. Your students might be older than you

When you first get to China, you may have an idea of who you’re teaching, but if you don’t stay at the same job the whole time, or work at a training center that’s grabbing as many students as it can, you could end up teaching children as young as 2 or 3, or working professionals trying to improve their English for business reasons

Many people are even hired to teach English at local universities, where the students would be quite fluent already. This means the content and style in which you teach may vary wildly. The vocabulary your student needs, and their interests, may very quickly surpass “what’s your favorite color” and you may find yourself getting questions about anything from technical business terms, to how to date a foreigner. 

4. Student-Teacher relationships are different

teaching in china - Student-Teacher relationships are different

People often state that student-teacher relationships are different because there is a unique respect that Chinese students have for teachers. I’d say this is generally true, but depending on your exact job, your relationship with your students might be more complex.

If you work with adults, they may ask you to grab dinner as a kind gesture, or go out for drinks! Parents of your young students may do this too. If you’re teaching smaller classes especially, finding friendship in teachers is something students may hope for, especially if their exposure to other native English speakers is limited.

5. Most of their teachers haven’t taught in English

This one threw me for a loop. If you meet a student who has studied English for years, you may be surprised by some of the seeming entry-level mistakes. Or you may be shocked when you read their writing, not sure how it came from the same student who stutters over every word. 

This is because local English teachers drill vocabulary and then teach grammar mostly in Chinese. Students rarely have verbal English conversation, instead just memorizing and presenting speeches. This means their writing tends to be stronger than their speaking, almost in all cases. It also means it isn’t uncommon that when you meet their English teacher, you’re surprised that their verbal English is quite poor too.

6. Culture shock isn’t what I thought it was

teaching in China - Culture shock isn’t what I thought it was

My impression of what culture shock would be like was really skewed. I never thought about the small minutiae of everyday life or the pure frustration that starting up in a new place could bring.

Because I didn’t expect this kind of culture shock, I didn’t really realize or understand why I was constantly frustrated and stressed out in my first few months, whether it was setting up wifi, or any time i had to deal with the bank. Not knowing the language was frustrating, but being run around to apartments I hated at prices I felt were unreasonable was uncomfortable

I learned I had to be both patient and stubborn, and that I could learn the system, at least a little, and get what I needed. For example, after 4 or 5 rounds of apartment hunting over 3 years, I think I finally managed to figure out how to haggle for rent prices, find apartments with the amenities I desired, and not settle too much. 

7. If I can get away with not knowing Chinese… I will

This is more of a personal one, but I think it may be relevant. If you don’t know any Chinese ahead of time, and are stressed and busy when you first move, you most likely will have to learn how to get along without it. 

For my first year or two, I could say “this” and “that” and I knew my numbers, but not much else. And I survived. Which was good and bad. This made me super unmotivated to learn, and my busy schedule just reinforced my laziness. 

It took a lot of effort, but I’m finally learning. I hired a private tutor (we had tutors offered at our company, but they kept quitting, and I kept getting the same intro to pinyin lesson for about 3 months before giving up).

Now I’m (kind of) conversational and really motivated to learn more, even after leaving China. I continue to practice daily and have hopes of taking the HSK4 exam next year.

8. Teaching English is a real job

teaching in China - Teaching English is a real job

This is something I honestly expected more of on my trips back home over the years. But still, it did seem that many people back home thought I wasn’t doing a real job, or that my time in China was a gap-year, more for fun and travel than anything else. 

A lot of people were genuinely shocked when I told them I was staying longer, and when I mentioned how much I actually worked (which was a lot). People tend to have a very specific impression of working abroad, especially teaching English, and over time I learned to ignore the potential judgment. This is my life. I work hard, pay bills, save money. Teaching English in China is also respected by locals because you are bringing value skills to them. 

The thing that I felt was often hardest for people to grasp is that it’s not a pause, it is three actual years of my real life that I’ve spent working hard. But for some, real life is settling down in the suburbs, not living as far away from your friends and family as physically possible. 

Honestly, I see where they are coming from. I don’t think I knew what my time teaching and living in China would mean to me when I left. Now I consider those years a part of a journey that hasn’t ended. Traveling and working abroad is probably something that will always be a part of my life. 

9. You can’t learn teaching through TEFL

I needed a TEFL certification to get my visa because I was less than two years out of college and had no formal teacher training. Most companies will pay you to get yours when you arrive. 

But honestly, a one-week crash course on teaching only gets you so far. In my case, my job was a bit off-center of teaching, though it was in education, so the TEFL experience wasn’t particularly useful. I found that it was a good bonding experience with the co-worker I went to the training with, but other than that I found little value. 

I think any job you may have in China, teaching included, will be one that you learn a lot about on the job. Even if you have teaching experience, the way that teaching centers and schools work will be different from what you’re used to, so don’t expect all of your training and experience to easily transfer.

10. Major Holidays are crazy times to travel

teaching in China - Major Holidays are crazy times to travel

I guess this is sort of true everywhere, but it seems even more true in China

The Mid Autumn Festival and The Spring Festival will likely award you at least a week off of work. You, and the entire rest of the country. If you’re lucky, you’ll get even more time for Spring Festival since most schools are closed.

This means a lot of people are traveling. Some areas are super busy and crowded, and others are ghost towns. Newer cities aren’t really “home” to as many families, so those cities tend to empty out and don’t really have many holiday celebrations.

Older cities can be incredibly packed, and traveling to nearby destinations in Southeast Asia are also very popular. No matter what, flights and hotels are more expensive at these times, so have fun with your holiday time, but book early!

A rewarding experience 

Working in China as a teacher was an incredibly unique and rewarding experience. While there are some insights I wish I knew before-hand, this was a part of the valuable process of being an expat in China, even when the lessons were tough.

The Truth About Teaching English in China

the truth about teaching english in china

1. You don’t need teaching experience

While certified teachers might have some more opportunities in China for higher pay, as long as you have a university degree, you can teach in China. Most teachers arrive with minimal or no experience, including myself.

This also means most likely have to do TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) training once you arrive, which is partly for your education and partly for visa reasons.

This is a bonus for experienced teachers, as it opens up wider options to teach different subjects like history or chemistry, and also can get you higher-paying jobs right away.

2. Getting the “right” visa is complicated

Getting the “right” work visa in china is complicated

The requirements for getting a Z-visa, the official work visa, in China are constantly changing. In most cases, people don’t come with one, they apply once they are already in China, instead of coming with a tourist or business visa.

This, however, means that most people, upon arrival, are technically working illegally. This is standard practice for most companies and schools because it’s really hard for new graduates (you need 2+ years of work experience in most cases) or non-TEFL certified employees to get a Z-visa.

Basically, this process is complicated, but just make sure to ask questions. If your company isn’t specific and clear on the timeline to get your Z-visa (1-3 months is normal), then it might be cause for concern.

Panda Buddy carefully selects our education partners to make sure they are well recognised in the industry, provide great local support (airport pickup, visa, and accommodation support) so that you can have a smooth transition to your new life in China.

3. You won’t just learn about Chinese culture

You won’t just learn about Chinese culture

You will learn about Chinese culture from your new coworkers, friends, students, and everyday life. But through work, and more so if you choose to run in expat circles, you will meet a lot of people from all over the world.

I’ve met expats from pretty much everywhere, and it’s exciting that just by choosing to move abroad, you get to learn about the ways people live everywhere, and what motivates different people to move abroad.

4. Many companies set you up with accommodation

This can be good or bad, depending on your preferences. One of two things will happen with most companies: you get a housing stipend, or you just are given an apartment near work.

Apartment hunting in china can be a hassle, so being handed one may seem great! But also means you don’t get a lot of say over the layout or size of your personal living space.

If your personal space is something you care a lot about curating, having someone else tell you where to live can seem annoying. If you’re up for it, choosing your own place means having to haggle and getting the runaround from housing agents which can be stressful when you first arrive. Considering which you personally prefer can be really helpful in deciding what to look for in jobs and negotiate about.

5. Students are super motivated

Chinese Students are super motivated

If your personal memory of classrooms include sleeping teenagers and passing notes, you may be really surprised by the atmosphere in Chinese schools. Chinese people value education a lot and put a lot of pressure on students to do well, which means they, on the whole, are more well behaved and willing to work.

Of course, this isn’t always true, but still notable. That being said, due to the high pressure, especially if you’re teaching older kids, you will likely encounter burnt out teenagers who are afraid to get answers wrong, which brings us to…

6. Students may be hesitant to answer open-ended questions

This has to do a lot with the culture surrounding education and collectivism. Being correct is super important because of the value of education, so when there isn’t a clear right or wrong, many students clam up. An emphasis on collectivism and like-mindedness mean that discussions you may have been used to in your classroom back home aren’t common in Chinese classrooms.

Questions that ask for individual critique, judgment, or creativity may be met with blank stares at first. Part of your job as an educator may be to help students develop the critical thinking skills necessary to feel comfortable answering these types of questions.

7. You may have unusual work hours

Teachers in China may have unusual work hours

There’s a really good chance you won’t be working a 9-5 in China. Especially if you’re working in a training center. It’s not uncommon to have evening and weekend workdays or to have changes in your schedule week to week. This means you can choose to find a job that fits your preferences and preferred lifestyle, but also means that your other expat friends are doing the same.

This can get frustrating when you end up always working Sunday mornings, or when all of your friends want to get together but don’t have the same off days. But it can also be awesome if you’re not a morning person and can manage to never have to work before noon. It takes trial and error to find the right company and school that fits you, but ultimately it’s great to see how many options there are.

–> 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Teaching in China

8. It is so rewarding

teaching in China is so rewarding

Among the stresses and steep learning curves, ultimately the result is seeing success from your students. When I see my students’ faces light up because the finally know how to say something the couldn’t express, it’s unparalleled.

My personal favorite is teaching students the nuances of jokes and sarcasm. I love it when a student can quickly come up with witty retorts, which are some of the hardest things to do in a new language.

Those moments are worth all the other stresses you’ll encounter teaching English in China.

Education in China: How does it work?

Education system in China

The education in China is best characterized by a strict primary & secondary education as well as a relatively flexible tertiary education. That means primary schools and secondary schools have stringent rules, whereas universities in China encourage creativity more frequently.

That being said, Chinese schools don’t really expect foreign teachers to worry about their strict rules at school.

To take a more holistic view, there are mainly four school types:

Most public schools in China offer high-quality education

Public schools in China

Unlike public schools in western countries, the majority of Chinese public schools are great places for kids to study.

In western countries such as the United States and Australia, public schools are generally for those who can’t afford to go to private schools. In contrast, a very good public school in China is for students who are academically outstanding.

Private schools are very expensive in China

Private schools in China

In fact, there aren’t many private schools in China. More specifically, private schools are for the elite in the Chinese society, but it doesn’t mean these children are better in terms of academic achievements.

Usually, it only means their rich and famous parents are too busy to look after their kids, so they send their kids to private schools where everything is taken care of.

–> Public School vs Private School: A Teacher’s Real Experience

In China, international schools are similar to western schools

International schools in China

Most international schools in China are very similar to western schools in many ways, e.g. the curriculum is more western; the methodology is also more western. That’s because students from international schools will study in western countries when they go to university.

Having said that, students’ workload in a typical international school in China is still more than students’ workload in a western school. But if you are a foreign teacher, your workload shouldn’t be affected in an international school in China.

Training institutes are the most flexible schools in China

Language institutes in China

A training institute isn’t a mainstream school because it’s actually a company. For example, the most common training institutes in China are English training companies. But oftentimes, these institutes are called “schools”. They provide English language programs for learners from different backgrounds. Some of their students are kids; some of their students are adults.

If you work for a training institute, chances are you will need to work at night and on weekends because your students probably have to go to school or go to work from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. In other words, your students can only go to the training institute in their spare time. 

–> The Truth About Teaching English in China

–> 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Teaching in China

Conclusion

No matter which school type you teach in China, you’ll encounter hard-working students who are mostly respectful towards teachers. Often, you’ll be impressed with how much they can sacrifice in order to get a good score.

Teaching English in China Requirements [Updated in 2019]

requirements for teaching english in China

If you are seriously considering teaching English in China as your next adventure, you must be curious to know what qualifications you need to have in order to come and work in China.

As the Chinese government constantly changes its visa policies, you need to keep yourself updated with the latest information. This article is updated in 2019 to give you the most recent update in teaching English in China requirements. 

Check it out! 

1. Is a Bachelor’s degree required? 

If you want to apply for a work visa and teach in China legally, the answer is yes.

The process of getting a work visa is quite straightforward, and a bachelor degree is needed for this to be approved.

2. Is teaching experience required?  

Not necessarily, but if you, you will be in a more favorable position during the interview, and more likely to land on a better package.

However, this is not a “must-have” for you to teach in China. In fact, there are a lot of programs offering training for graduates without any teaching experiences. A university graduate without any teaching experience can also land a good position and transition smoothly to teaching English in China life.

3. Do I need to be a native English speaker?  

No necessarily, however, due to China’s recent visa update, candidates need to be passport holders from native-speaking countries, i.e., United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or South Africa.

Need to be passport holder of United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or South Africa.

4. Is the TEFL certificate necessary?  

TEFL is the certificate to teach English as a foreign language which usually takes serious training for you to complete.

You do need a TEFL certificate in order to complete your work visa application, but you can also obtain it after you’ve secured a position. In fact, some positions Panda Buddy offers can offer you TEFL course at a much cheaper price. So if you don’t have one already, don’t worry, you’ll be fine.

P.S. There are also many different kinds that are equivalent to TEFL, such as TESOL certificate, CELTA, Cert TESOL, Dip TESOL, those are big ones. 

5. Can I teach in China without a degree?  

A Bachelor’s degree is required for the work z visa in China. 

There might be some positions available for people without a degree due to the high demand, however, it’s not recommended to take the risk to teach in China without a work visa.

The good news is, there are countries hiring English teachers that don’t require you to have a Bachelor degree. For more detailed information, please check out our summaries of teaching abroad requirements. 

bachelor degree is required for work z visa

6. Any other requirements?

In order to obtain a legal work visa, you need to have a clean background check, a valid passport, and an updated curriculum vitae. 

 To recap, here are the basic requirements for teaching English in China: 

• You need a Bachelor degree

• You need to be a passport holder of either United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or South Africa

• A TEFL certificate is required for the work visa (but it can be obtained after the interview with the support of your employer)

• Teaching experience is not required but preferred 

Teaching English in China Requirements - A Checklist

Panda Buddy is currently hiring for more than 300 positions in China. We carefully select our education partners to make sure they are well recognised in the industry, provide great local support (airport pickup, visa, and accommodation support) so that you can have a smooth transition to your new life in China. Apply today with Panda Buddy to get your journey started.

How to Spend Your Spare Time Teaching in China?

how to spend your spare time in China

You made the decision, you booked your tickets and packed your bags, and you finally flew around the world to embark on an exciting adventure!  

While it will be easy to become consumed by your new routine, it’s important to maintain a healthy life-work balance. You are here to do a job, of course, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on all of the amazing things that China has to offer. 

Hopefully my experiences can offer some inspiration on how to make the most of your free time in China.

Visit Interesting Places

China is the fourth largest country in the world and is home to thirty-six Unesco World Heritage Sites, so no matter where you live in China there’s something fascinating to see! 

advanced train system

One of the greatest benefits to living in China is access to an extensive and affordable rail system. Many of China’s most renowned destinations, like the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and the Terracotta Warriors are easily accessible from most major cities. 

Depending on your location, you can even take short trips to neighboring countries like Russia from the north, or anywhere in Southeast Asia from the south. 

visit nearby countries in China

During my time in China, I lived in the northeastern province of Jilin. It’s far from most of the popular tourist destinations, but there were still so many captivating places to visit, and I even flew to Thailand during one of the national holidays!

My first weekend trip was to the northeastern city of Harbin, home to the famous City of Ice. This is an annual winter festival where impressive snow and ice sculptures are erected and, at night, illuminated. 

Harbin

It’s a great place to visit, not just for this fun and frosty festival, but also for a chance to see firsthand the unique blending of Russian influence and local Chinese culture. 

Two more interesting sites are the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the adjacent War Atrocities Museum in Changchun city. Here you can learn about the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty (the puppet emperor), and the Japanese occupation of China. 

It gave me an eye-opening appreciation for a part of history that I had previously known very little about. Whatever city you live in, ask about the local sites and seek them out!

Sample the Cuisine

chinese food has great variety

Chinese cuisine is nearly as vast and varied as the country itself, and you’d be doing yourself a grave disservice if you didn’t take full advantage of this culinary cornucopia. 

You may already be daydreaming about wontons, Peking Duck, and Kung Pao chicken, but China has so much more to offer in terms of food. Find out what and where the locals eat, give it a try, and sample as much of the local or regional cuisine as you can. 

Trying to live on a western diet is possible, but expensive; save yourself the money and expand your culinary horizons with delectable chinese dishes instead. There are bound to be foods that you’ve never heard of, but you’ll be happy to have tried them. 

While it would be impossible to list everything I ate in China, here are a couple of things that became a regular part of my diet. 

The first is Ma La Xiang Guo, which is a flavorful and spicy Sichuan dish that is incredibly customizable; you are given a bowl to fill with whatever you like from a vast selection of meats and vegetables, which is then stir fried in a spicy sauce and served with rice. It remains my absolute favorite Chinese meal! 

Chiense food ma la xiang guo

The second became my go-to snack food in winter. A familiar sound in the streets during the colder months is the loudspeaker call “Kǎo Dì Guā!”. Sweet potato vendors wheel around large metal drum ovens filled with baked sweet potatoes, ready to be weighed and sold by the gram. These sweet potatoes are amazing, and quickly became a stable street food during my winter wanderings. 

So, if you hear the call of the Sweet Potato Guy, do yourself a favor and indulge in a healthy and traditional Chinese snack!

Fun Around Town

One of the best pieces of advice that I could give to anyone planning to move to China is to take the time to get out, get to know your city, and make friends

make friends in China

When you are living in a foreign country, even a simple walk to the park or trip to the supermarket can turn into an adventure. You never know what you’ll see, as there are special events, festivals, and hidden gems everywhere. 

Ask around your office or look online and find out what there is to do in your city. Undoubtedly, there will be no shortage of entertainment activities available for varying budgets and inclinations. 

How I Spent My Free Time?

My free time in China was filled with outings and adventures. In the winter there was a tubing course set up on one of the hills at the local park, and some friends and I spent the entire day speeding down the hills on our tubes only to hike up the makeshift stairs carved into the packed snow to repeat the process. 

my free time in China

In the summer, a group of us got together at the park and had an epic water fight. I also made frequent trips to a sports complex near my apartment where I did rock climbing and even played badminton a couple of times. 

Nearly every week I sang at the karaoke bar, danced at the local nightclubs, and took walks around the city to visit different parks and shopping districts. Whether it’s sports, shopping, or nightlife, you’ll find something to help you unwind and have some fun. 

As a teacher in China, I made it a point to visit places on my bucket list, and take day trips to nearby historical and cultural sites to learn more about the country and its history. 

Another important part of my Chinese experience was the food; no matter where you are, food is life. Chinese people enjoy a wide variety of dishes encompassing countless regional specialties, many of which I was fortunate enough to taste. 

When I wasn’t eating or traveling, I was making incredible memories with amazing people. With a job that takes you so far from your loved ones, it’s important to make friends and to create a family of the people around you. Some of my best memories of China are of simply spending time in the city with my friends.

8 ESL Warm-up Activities to Start Strong for Your ESL Lesson

ESL Warm-up Activities

When teaching ESL, warm-up activities are a powerful tool that can set the scene for the class, make students feel happy and relaxed, and help them to become mentally receptive to learning new English.

These short games are also a great way to review past material. For an activity that usually takes only two to five minutes, warm-ups offer a lot of bang for very little buck.

In this article, we will discuss fun and easy ESL warm-up activities that can be played with three basic resources that are found in virtually any ESL classroom: a whiteboard, flashcards, and a ball.

Whiteboard/Blackboard

ESL Warm-up Activities with whiteboard

The whiteboard is a fundamental part of any classroom. It is an incredibly useful tool that can provide students with helpful visuals that aid in the learning process.

There are so many easy warm-up activities that can be done using only a whiteboard and a marker. Here are a few of my favorite games to use to start my lessons off right.

1. Word Lightning

This is a fast-paced activity where you choose a common letter of the alphabet, write it on the board, and give students two minutes to shout out as many words as they can that begin with that letter.

It’s often a good idea to do a short example with your students when you introduce this game to ensure that they all understand how to play. This is a fun activity that gives all students a chance to participate without being pressured or put on the spot, and you might even be surprised at some of the words that your students come up with!

2. Correction

I use this activity periodically to review and reinforce English punctuation and capitalization rules. To play this game, start by writing a sentence on the board containing a few mistakes, and allow students to volunteer or call them each up to make a correction. This activity is incredibly versatile; just change the length of the sentence or the number of mistakes and it can be used in any classroom!

3. Phonics Relay

This is a quick and easy game that I like to use with my younger students to help them memorize letters of the alphabet. First, write some letters of the alphabet in random order on the whiteboard, then have your students line up against the wall opposite the board and give one of them a marker.

Say the name of a letter and have the first student run to the board, circle the correct letter, and run back to pass the marker to the next student in line to repeat the process. For some added excitement, you can give the class a time limit to complete the relay or use words instead of letters for a greater challenge!

For more interesting ESL games using whiteboard for your class, check out this amazing article about what you can do with a whiteboard.

Teach ESL in China

Flashcards

ESL Warm-up Activities with flashcards

Flashcards are some of the most useful and versatile tools in a teacher’s arsenal, and there are countless games and activities that can be played using this resource alone. Here are some of the best go-to warm-ups using only flashcards.

4. YES Wall/NO Wall

This is a vocabulary review game that gets students moving and challenges them to remember the meanings of words that they’ve seen before. With four or five previously learned flashcards, have your students line up facing you in the middle of the room, and designate the walls to their left and right as either “Yes Wall” or “No Wall”. Show your students the first flashcard, and ask a simple yes or no question, such as “Is this an apple?”. The students should reply by running to the correct wall and shouting either “Yes, it is!” or “No, it isn’t!”, after which they return to the center of the room for the next round.

5. Four Corners

 This fun and easy review activity is especially good for young students or those with low levels of English. To start this game, place one flashcard in each corner of the room with your students standing in the center. Next, say the target vocabulary word, for example “Dog!”, and have them run as a group to the corresponding corner of the room and say a short sentence, like “It’s a dog!”. Do this for each of the four corners, repeating any that your students might have difficulty with.

6. Match Game

This is about the most classic flashcard game there is, and it can easily be adapted into a wide variety of short, two to five minute warm-ups. While there are many ways to do this activity, I prefer to use it as an opportunity to practice my students’ reading skills by placing a row of word flashcards on the floor, and making a small deck of the matching picture cards. Each student takes a turn drawing a picture card from the deck and finding the correct word card to match. It’s also a good idea to have your students say the words aloud when they draw and match the cards to reinforce phonics and sight reading.

Check out this article and the video collection here for more ideas for flashcards games!

Teach ESL in China

Balls

ESL Warm-up Activities with balls

Balls are staples in teachers’ tool boxes everywhere. This classic toy can be used in virtually any context to add some fun to otherwise mundane activities. Something as simple as being passed a ball when asked a question in class can ease some of the pressure that students may experience. I can think of few resources better suited to warm-up activities.

7. Topic Talk

I like to play this game with students to set the scene and to get them thinking about vocabulary in lexical sets. To start this activity, form a circle in the center of the room and choose a topic. Then, pass the ball around the circle, with each person saying a word that matches the topic; for example, if the topic is “Colors” each student should say the name of a different color. Continue passing the ball around the circle until someone repeats a word or fails to produce one, and if there’s extra time, you can choose a new topic.

8. Ball Pass

This quick and easy game gives every student a chance to practice their speaking. As the name would imply, students pass the ball around to each other, with the thrower asking a question and the catcher answering it. I usually ask the first question, and have the students continue the chain until everyone has asked and answered at least one question.This activity works best with questions that students have already learned, but need to practice in order to increase their fluency; for example, you can have them practice asking each other what foods they like or what their favorite color is.

Here are another 7 fun ESL activities that you can do with a ball!

Bonus: Flash card game with sticky ball!

Start Strong for Your ESL Lesson

There are so many games that can be used as warm-up activities in your ESL classroom.

Whether you develop a new game, or adapt an existing one, warm-ups are great, brain-boosting activities that can set the tone for a great lesson and help your students get the most out of their English learning experience.

So please make use of some of these warm-up ideas for a strong start to your ESL lesson!

You might also be interested in:

ESL Lesson Plan Resources for Different Range of Abilities

9 ESL Teaching Tips for Chinese Kids

How to Prepare to Be an ESL Teacher in China? 

Life is Not a Checklist: A Side Note on Teaching in China

Harold teaching in China with his student

You’re sitting there in your gown waiting for the guy on stage to call your name. Once you’re called, you standup, shake hands in front of 100s of people, and finally get your piece of paper.

It’s been a while but it’s official – you’re now an adult.

It feels good. But one thing of being an adult is that you have to find a proper job and one that’s related to your major. It’s been four years (and quite a chunk of money) so you’re hoping to get a job the moment you step off the stage.

It’s the reality for some people and that’s great.

But for others, they want something different.

They want to go festivals in America…

Explore temples in Thailand…

Go trekking in Machu Pechu…

…and longer than the 2-weeks they’re given every year.

And I don’t blame them.

I wanted to start a business and I wasn’t going to get there by working my way up an invisible ladder.

But there was only one problem – bills.

It would be good to pay them on time vs. being some mix of bitcoin investor / serial entrepreneur / IG influencer (in other words, unemployed).

That’s when I got introduced to teaching in China by my friend Zoe.

To be honest, at first I didn’t care what I had to do, I was only looking at what was in it for me. As a big reader, I’m not even particularly keen in structured education either.

There was nothing at stake expect time, so there was no reason not to try something new.

A month later, I got my TEFL certificate, packed my life into a suitcase, and booked a one-way ticket to China.

I didn’t even know much about Chinese culture other than the Three Kingdoms from a popular video game I played as a kid.

(Side note: it was great hearing the students talk about Sima Yi and Liu Bei and know what they were talking about)

After arriving in Chongqing and then my apartment, the first thought that crossed my mind was, ‘I should’ve studied harder at uni’. Heck, I would even say self-learning only gets you so far.

I must admit the few weeks in the beginning were rough.

The language was difficult, the food was strange, and I got along with maybe one other person here… (then again I’m the guy who likes to stay home and watch an analysis of some movie I’ve never watched before)

I didn’t even think I could last a six weeks let alone six months.

I wasn’t cut out for this.

Then they said I was moving to a different city.

It was much smaller where I’m the only foreigner for miles. I like my own company (as you can tell) but this was pushing it.

I thought I should have left to make it easier for everyone.

But for some reason I stuck it out… two years later it became one of the most transformative experiences of my 20s.

Harold teaching in China with his students

If you learn one thing is that living like a traveller and exploring as a tourist are worlds apart.

For one a tourist is someone who has a checklist of things to do.

See this museum. Eat at this restaurant. Post X number of photos on Instagram.

It’s useful if you want to get a lot done in a short time but you forget you’re on holiday – it shouldn’t be stressful… not the Amazing Race where if you didn’t see the Mona Lisa, ride on a Gondola, and meet the Queen in four days you feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth.

The traveller, in fact, buys a one-way ticket to a country that isn’t Canada (or the UK or Australia or any Western country if you happen to be from there already).

You’re jumping off the deep end and doing something completely different from what you’re used to.

I wouldn’t even say it’s enticing at first glance.

First, you’re choosing to uproot your entire life. Next, you’re saying those awkward goodbyes to everyone you know. Then, you’re off to a country where one word can have four different meanings (depending on tone).

But choosing one place while earning your keep (e.g through teaching) is where the real learning begins.

Don’t worry, I still want to see more of the world like anyone else. But there’s something profound about living the way another culture does.

When you understand why Chinese students study like it’s life or death or why families are so close to one another you develop a real empathy for others.

Imagine if all you did was check things off a list without going deep with the culture – everything becomes a blur.

It reminds me of something Mark Manson once said. Travelling to one country is cool. The second one is pretty neat as well, the third isn’t too bad either.

But country number 50th? Aren’t those buildings the same as country number 37? Haven’t I seen this same side street cafe 100 times now?

You get the picture.

This will sound cliche but even though you’re there to teach, you’re learning the most out of everyone.

Because when you’re living by yourself for a long enough period you pick up on a few things… (and I’m not only talking about doing laundry for the first time in your life either).

You learn what’s important and what’s not. It happens without that nagging feeling that you might be a little too weird compared to the people back home.

For example –

Good idea: riding on a motorbike across the mountainside in the middle of the Winter fog.

Bad idea: doing the same trip on a bicycle.

Good idea: trying yoga.

Bad idea: getting pressure sold 2-weeks of private yoga lessons for $1000 (…you learn that it’s not all rosy and that you know how to deal with people).

Then comes the teaching.

At first you’re a fish out of water.

One of my first classes was teaching a group of 20-somethings English without an assistant and yes, it was brutal.

Now it becomes one of those things that’s second nature.

You have almost full-control for the outcome of each class… it’s not all chaos so every class does have its structure. But you know you’re making a difference when the students are having fun and learning something worthwhile at the same time.

Well, that’s enough of my rambling about life in China. If you leave with anything, it’s worth having the ability to put yourself in your 80-year old self and work backwards.

If I could be a clueless 20-something again, what would I be doing?

If I never left for China, I’d be struggling to pay the bills while in limbo… the one where you need a graduate job to get experience and need experience to get a grad job.

But instead I’m able to live a way that’s completely unique to me.

On top of the teaching, I can pursue the things I wouldn’t have time for back home. Exercising, reading, hiking mountains, walking every day, exploring, working on side projects.

They’re not life-changing at first glance to but to be able to do that in another country?

Well, that’s all the persuasion I need! 🙂

Teaching English in China Salary: An Ultimate Guide in 2019

Teaching English in China Salary

If you are wondering how much you can earn working as an English teacher in China, this article is for you.

Due to the currency exchange rate and lower cost of living in China, you might not earn as much as you do back in your home country (US, UK, AU, NZ). However, your teaching salary in China will provide you a comfortable living that would have sometimes been a luxury in your home country. 

How much can you make teaching English in China?

In general, teaching English in China offers a decent pay which allows for a comfortable lifestyle for expats. It might vary depending on a few factors. 

So how your salary teaching in China is determined?

First of all, your salary standard will be based on the average salary in China. With the growing economy, there’s a steady increase in the average salary rates for Chinese people. In a purpose of attracting foreign talent, the average salary for foreigners is generally higher than local employees.

For foreign teachers teaching English in China (ESL teachers), your salary depends on mainly three factors:

  1. Your qualifications and teaching experiences
  2. The type of institutions you teach at
  3. The location of your school

Let’s take a look at each factor in more details below:  

1. Your salary teaching in China depends on your qualification and teaching experience

your qualification and experience will affect your salary teaching English in China

To be qualified to teach English in China, there are some basic requirements:

  • Valid passport from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject
  • Passing the medical test
  • Passing the criminal background check
  • A TEFL certification (+120 hours)

These items ensure you obtain your work z visa in order to teach in China legally. 

Formal teaching experience is not required but much preferred, therefore you’ll see a difference in salary between experienced ESL teachers and inexperienced teachers (university graduates) in China. 

  • Salary for inexperienced teachers 

For teachers without teaching experience, or university graduates, the salary will range from 10,000 RMB to 15,000 RMB (USD $1,584 ~ $2,123) per month. 

  • Salary for experienced teachers 

For experienced ESL teachers, especially those with more than 2 years teaching experience in China, the salary can go up to 18,000 RMB to 25,000 RMB (USD $2,548 ~ $3,539) per month. 

Of course, the exact amount of salary will also depends on the location as well as the type of institution you work with.

Some second tier cities will never be able to afford an experienced ESL teacher as much as 25,000 RMB, but the salary of 15,000 RMB in a second tier city can potentially go longer than the 25,000 RMB salary in a first tier city. 

2. Your salary teaching in China will vary based on different institution types 

your school types will affect your salary teaching English in China

Below is the infographic of a teaching in China salary guide based on the institution types.

As it shows, apart from your qualifications and experiences, how much you earn depends on the type of institution you work for. Generally speaking, greater income comes with bigger responsibilities. 

Teaching English in China salary
Teaching English in China salary based on different institutions

Let’s take a look at each type and the working conditions: 

  • Public Schools: 8,000 – 11,000 RMB per month (1,268 – 1,740 USD)

Public schools in China belong to the government educational system, the teaching hours usually are around 20 hours/week, Monday to Friday. You will be able to teach students from multiple English level, and generally a medium to large class (30 – 60) size.

The teaching schedule won’t be very packed giving you a lot of free time on your own, usually a native co-teacher is there to work with you preparing and delivering lesson enabling you to cope with the environment better. Another one absolute perk is that most public schools have canteen open to you for lunch (amazing food!).

  • Private Institutions: 8,000 – 16,000 RMB per month (1,270 – 2,535 USD)

As you might already have heard that in China, parents usually have high expectations towards their kids’ academic performance, and private Institutions are where parents sent their kids to further develop their skills after normal school hours.

In these institutions, teaching performance expectation for teachers is generally higher which results in more working hours (as well as the increase in salaries).

Private institutions are generally more open and less restrict about candidates’ background. Candidates who have high English skills and a genuine passion for teaching in China can get a shot in winning a position there. Working hours are different from public schools where after-school hours will be your working time.

  • International Schools: 10,000 – 25,000 RMB per month (1,584 – 3961 USD)

International schools in China are for expats’ kids or kids from more well-off families (that aim to send their kids overseas). Most classes in international schools are taught in English (100%), therefore expectations for foreign teachers here could be more than English language, and extended to other subjects such as history, arts, maths and physics etc. Of course, your salaries will be aligned with high expectations and more working hours.

  • Bonus: Accommodation Allowances and Flight Reimbursement

In most jobs, free accommodation or allowances will be provided on top of the standard salary, giving foreign English teachers more disposable income to enjoy their stay in China. 

Apart from that, flight reimbursement (exact amount varies) is often offered at the end of the one-year teaching in China contract. If you really enjoy your teaching job and would like to extend, you are more than welcome! The average length people stay and teach in China is about 2 ~ 3 years. 

3. Your salary teaching in China also depends on your location

which city you teach in China will affect your salary teaching English in China

China has a unique tier system for all cities, and it’s used as a point of reference to refer to different economical development levels. 

There’s usually a noticeable difference among these cities in terms of the average salary standard, cost of living, city infrastructure and business opportunities etc. Therefore, choosing different cities to teach English in China also results in different salary.

For cities with lower pay, the lower cost of living will often offset it, meaning you can enjoy the same or even better standard of living comparing to the city with a higher pay. However, if you want to have access to a better entertainment life, bigger expat community, bigger cities (Tier 1 or new Tier 1 cities) will be your choice. 

China's tier city system
China’s tier city system (Source: Wikipedia)

So let’s take a look at the pay scale for different tier cities:

City TierSalary (USD)Cost of Living (USD)Rent (USD)
Tier 1 Cities$2,123 ~ $2,800$1,000 ~$1,500$400 ~ $600
New Tier 1 Cities$,1415~$2,123$700 ~ $1,100$283 ~ $424
Tier 2 Cities$1,415~$1,840$560 ~ $1,000$212 ~ $424
Tier 3 Cities$1,132 ~ $1,415$424 ~ $566$141 ~ $353

For most Tier 1 and new Tier 1 cities, teachers will be provided with housing allowances that will cover at least 80% of the rent cost; and for Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, the accommodation will usually be provided for free. 

Cost of living in China

cost of living in China while teaching english in China

As mentioned above, different cities have different salary standards and cost of living. However, in generally you will have a comfortable living. 

You’ll get to experience cheap but amazingly awesome food, super convenient and cheap transportation, and many other entertainment activities as well. Also, a decent amount of savings if you are determined.

Want more luxury? You can have your restaurant order delivered to you anytime you can, get a pampering massage every now and then, or a one-year gym membership. They are all very much affordable for your earnings as an ESL teacher. 

Sample budget from an ESL teacher

Below is the sample monthly budget from Harold, an English teacher in Chongqing, China. Check out his post about saving money while teaching in China. 

Sample ESL teacher monthly budget (Infographics)
Sample ESL teacher monthly budget

Non-monetary reward: a new life experience

Apart from getting paid decently, teaching in China is a great opportunity to open yourself up to a new and exciting experience. Check out the stories from other teachers:
Experience of Jennifer: My Teaching in China Experience
Teaching in China Story: Culture Shock? Most Welcome!
Teaching in China Story: A Spontaneous Decision Turned Life-Changing Experience
Teaching in China Story: The Beginning of A New Chapter

Are you ready to teach English in China?

Teaching in China is an experience that is meant to stay within you for a lifetime. You’ll get to experience, learn, grow and impact.

Why wait when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this presents itself? 

Interested in teaching English in China? Talk to us!

This determines your visa eligibility

ESL Teacher Resume: The Ultimate Guide [With Template]

ESL Teacher Resume

Applying to become an ESL teacher overseas is an excellent opportunity, but knowing how to present yourself in front of potential employers can be challenging for a lot of first-time ESL teachers. One of the things that presents you as a potential candidate is your ESL resume.

Although there’s no absolutely right or wrong way of writing your ESL resume, you want to tailor it towards being an ESL teacher so that you’ll greatly increase your chance of getting hired. After all, a great resume is something that you have to spend hours creating, typing up, and honing, so you want to make sure it stands out! 

Download the ESL Teacher Resume Template

Know the Basic Format for ESL Teacher Resumes

Here are some basics for getting started, so as long as you can follow directions, you can easily create the perfect ESL teacher resume. 

  • Personal Information

The personal information section will contain your name, address, and phone number, but this is also where you will include your date of birth, gender, and nationality. 

These are the basic information what overseas employers will be looking for on your ESL resume. 

  • Education Information 

This section will include all the education that you have received, starting with your TEFL certification and continuing with your highest levels of education and working down from there.

It is necessary for you to be very specific in this section and include where you received the education, what your major was, and when you received your degrees. With our recruiting experiences, some international schools even require the candidates to be graduated from certain top universities! 

If you do not have an education degree, you do not need to worry that you will automatically be disqualified. All you need to do is list all the courses that you have taken in the past that are relevant to education. A few of those courses could include English literature, public speaking, foreign languages, and even journalism.  

  • Your Skills  

The skills section will have you touting all those special skills that you have acquired over the years, even if they are not related to teaching. 

This is a great place to share that you are proficient with computers, know multiple languages, or anything else that you think will be helpful. It is always nice to include both hard and soft skills, as they allow the employers to see how well-rounded you really are.  

A few hard skills that would help boost your ESL resume include being proficient in at least one other language, capable of writing and editing, knowledge of computers, and prior teaching experiences. Soft skills are also important such as the ability to communicate with others well, capable of building relationships, adaptable to any situation, and being quite patient (extremely important for young ESL learners).  

  • Work Experience

ESL teacher resume guide

Almost anything counts under work experience and you will want to include what you have accomplished over the last ten years. 

Most overseas employers love seeing job titles in this section, so add those along with what you did for each position, you start and end dates, and any recognition you received while there. 

If you just graduated college, or have little job experience, volunteer work and even summer camp positions are helpful. These experiences are also strong proof that you are someone who’s active and driven, and are capable of working with others in a team environment. 

  • Extracurricular Activities

Schools also want to get to know their potential employees as much as possible on a personal level, which is why they love to see what you have been doing in your spare time. 

This is really your place to shine on your ESL teacher resume, because you can list all those times that you mentored, tutored, or coached others, as well as any activities you are passionate about which showcase you are a positive person. 

  • Professional Photo

It is also recommended that you place a professional photo at the top of your ESL teacher resume. As mentioned above, schools love getting to know their potential employees, and nothing does that better than a professional picture of you! Employers will instantly form a personal connection with you and will love that they have a face to put with the name and skills that they are reading about.  

When you have your picture taken, make sure that it is done professionally. This is not the time to do a quick selfie and hope for the best!

Enhance Your ESL Teacher Resume

Enhance Your ESL Teacher Resume

There are certain things that you must keep in mind when you are crafting your ESL teacher resume. 

1. The Language You Use

First, please remember that a non-native English speaker may be reading your resume. Therefore, it is important that you keep the format simple and standard, while making it easy for anyone to read.  This is not the time for you to use words that most people would need to take a dictionary out to understand.  

2. Big Bonus: Overseas Experiences

The last item that you should make sure is on your ESL teacher resume is any of the times that you have studied or lived overseas. This is not a deal breaker, so do not panic if you have never been away from home. However, employers love to see that their potential employees have the ability to adapt to new situations and can be independent.  

3. References

Not everyone requires references, but they are nice to include just in case. 

Three references are recommended, and it is important that you list how you know each one, how long you have known them, and their email and phone number.  

A Checklist For ESL Teacher Resume

ESL Teacher Resume Checklist

Click to download the ESL Teacher Resume Checklist

ESL Teacher Resume Samples

The good thing about writing an ESL resume (or any resume), is that you don’t always have to start from scratch! There are a lot of great samples available online that provide both basic templates as well as creative inspiration.

ESL resume samples:

ESL resume template

Resume Templates (Downloadable, Customisable): 

Resume Templates

Looking For An ESL Opportunity?

A great ESL resume is there to help you knock the door of  the ESL teaching world. The next step is to explore all the opportunities possible!

With its creasing demand and cultural appeal, China is probably one of the best places to start your teaching journey abroad. The teaching positions are opening all year round, which you can review and apply at your convenience.

Final Words

As you can see, it is not that difficult to write an ESL teacher resume. However, you should also be able to see why it is so different than many of the other resumes you have sent out in the past.  

Now that you know how to write this type of resume, you can sit down and type one up to send out and start living your dream of being an ESL teacher in another country!

Prepare for your ESL interview? Check out this article!