The ESL Teacher Quality of Life in China

The primary reason most ESL teachers approach a profession in China-- or overseas in general-- is a travel and the broadening of one's horizons. Nevertheless, that's not to say that there aren't other chances to enhance one's lifestyle in other ways. Economically, a career in ESL can likewise be really gratifying.

While earnings and rate of pay do vary from job to task and area to area, even a lower-paid teaching position leaves ample space to conserve money and lead a very comfortable life. My extremely first position, in an independent language school in Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, was not very well paid, however the cost of living was so low and I had such benefits that I still earned a tidy sum within a year's agreement.

All Expenditures Paid

Like lots of schools, I was offered a home spent by my school, and I was responsible just for the water, electrical energy, and gas costs (all cost-effective). Even if this weren't the case, rent in many locations of China is also very economical, and there are extensive options offered for all budgets. I currently pay around 4000rmb (roughly 450 pounds) monthly for a big two-bedroom house in a great district of Chengdu-- over half the amount one would expect to spend for something comparable back home.

This leaves a lot of one's income for savings and consumables. My mind was blown when I bought my very first can of beer for 3rmb-- hardly 30 cents in pound sterling. One can eat for a king on 100rmb (about 10 pounds) a day. The cost of the average takeaway varieties from in between 5 and 20rmb, depending on one's location and taste. Obviously, you could cook for yourself too, and fresh fruit and veg from the supermarket are also very economical.

All this, spent in a mostly cashless society. Instead of money and card, we utilize the phone apps WeChat and AliPay (linking your bank card and passport to the app) to pay for purchases, to send and get cash. A quick scan of your QR code at the checkout, and you're on your way. It's an advanced system-- simple even for us immigrants-- and really quick to get the hang of.

Other tourists in Chengdu live likewise comfortable lives and have little trouble discovering their house conveniences. From fitness center subscriptions to video gaming (I myself am an avid PS4 fan), there's something for everyone-- and usually, even more, cost-effective than it would be back house. For those here to travel, that's cheap too. Being on the other side of the world implies that Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia are a lot closer than they otherwise might be, and airlines tickets are much cheaper as a result. Or, a minimum of, they would be if it weren't for this pesky Coronavirus keeping us from leaving.

Conserving Time

For myself, life in China represents an opportunity to develop a savings account for the future and recoup debts from ten years of working base pay in the UK. In addition to working full-time at a Chengdu language school, China has also approved me the ways of working additional with personal students (1-1 lessons with diligent students in their spare time), and composing for ESL sites such as this one. In my time in China, I have also participated in voice recording tasks and have actually even been provided a position hosting a red wine tasting evening! Putting aside the money, life in China is also great for expanding one's CV and checking out brand-new things and prospective career paths.

Sure, it could be simplified to transfer that cash into my UK account (last time I tried, Bank of China would only transfer a measly 350rmb at a time), so I presently have to utilize PayPal, losing cash in costs with every transfer. But for now, it gets the job done, and I feel comfy and secure for very first time in years.

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