Most people are probably aware of the fact that industries are huge in China. I mean that because of the products with “Made in China” that we see everywhere in the world. If we were to think of particular booming industries, though, I think most of us would probably mention technology and food. Several tech companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei and Xiaomi, among others, are very relevant in China and in the world. Food wise, I know that Chinese cuisine is the bomb in America, because of the box take-aways and meals such as noodles and dumplings.
However, for the foreigners that actually live in China, they are aware that the TEFL industry is booming. In some cases speaking perfect English is not even necessary, because what schools and parents really want is for the students to contact foreigners. Another common exchange program is au pairing – this one is probably more common in Europe but it is starting to be common here especially for young people with few formal qualifications. There is also the possibility to do internships in China and work at actual businesses, but I would say that as a foreigner you are almost guaranteed to have a job as a teacher, at least.
Since I am a teacher myself, I will talk a little bit about my experiences as a teacher and I will also talk about some side jobs that one can do in China to earn some extra income. So, here we go. I work from 10AM to 7PM and although it seems like a lot to me, apparently that is normal in every country so kudos to China. My company pays for my lunch and I can teach whatever I want. There are some books in our system but I have the freedom to use my own material shall I feel the need to. Of course, the kids are divided in levels and I must respect that, but they are not very strict when it comes to the actual material being used. I lucked out because I give one on one lessons but usually classes are not very big. Usually foreigners work at training center schools instead of public schools and they are aimed at kids that either need to move to English-speaking countries or would like to enroll in international schools. Personally, I think teaching in China is great because you don’t need to have a lot of experience to be able to do so. However, once you finish the program, your CV will be awesome. The pay is also pretty decent especially because a lot of teachers are underpaid in other countries. Also, since the RMB is not very strong if you come with some international credit cards you will have quite a lot of purchasing power.
Jobs on the side include translation, transcription, voice-over recordings, babysitting and, of course, teaching private students. I succeeded at finding private students and doing freelance voice-over recordings. One particular industry that not so many people know about but is actually booming is the… hiring foreigners to fake that they work for you industry. Seriously.
That doesn’t seem very nice, but it actually happens and when you think about how appearances matter in China, it actually makes sense. If a business needs to look serious, usually they will put some foreigners in the meeting room for the magic to happen. So, hey, if you look good in suits you know what to do.
I have also briefly worked as an Au Pair in China and the experience was great. The cool thing about au pairing here is that you normally don’t need to do any housework because the rich families already have Ayis – some sort of cleaner and cook that most families have. So, you basically have to speak English to the children and ensure that they are happy, so you need to play with them a lot. I think it is an ok job and experience and I would recommend that to people.
About the food, I have already mentioned that China has some cool fruit. Apart from that, what caught my attention is that they have some sort of meat snacks that they offer in little packages and you just eat that and carry them around as they are small. They are not bad, but they are certainly exotic. Starbucks also has a Green Tea Frappuccino version. Oh, and one weird thing that I ate was… fish-flavored chips. Yep. That happened. But, really, as long as you are into eating small-portions, Chinese food is great. Just watch out because they are very spicy.
If I find out about any other jobs that you can do in China, I will write it on my next posts. Hopefully this one was useful. Personally, I find that working in China is a blast and learning Mandarin will certainly be a big plus for my career prospects