Finding an ESL Job In China

I have been working in China for about a month now and it is all well and good to say “I’m working in China now!” But how did I get here? A lot of people have dmed me asking about the process of moving to China, so I want to detail that for you guys!

Step 1: Research

I cannot stress this enough, research is the most important step in this process. It is probably easier to pinpoint the continent you want to teach English in first, whether that be Asia, South America, Africa or Europe and start researching the countries that interest you.

For me, Asia was my first choice, because I was already heading to Japan this summer. So it made sense to join my trips together.

What you should be looking for is the average wage of teachers in that country, vs the cost of living, so you can figure out how much you can save. Some ESL teachers save thousands of pounds/dollars teaching English!

Another consideration to look for is what life is like in the place you want to move to. If the life does not match your preferred lifestyle, then it is probably best to choose a country that would suit you better.

Step 2: Dave’s ESL Cafe

I found the jobs board on Dave’s ESL Cafe to be the best resource when looking for a job abroad. It can look pretty dated, but it gets the job done. The descriptions are, for the most part, in depth and clear and you can be assured that most of the listings are made by people in the schools that can give you a good amount of information about your potential job.

Step 3: Interview

So, you have been invited for a skype interview. You should have a few questions prepared so you leave the interview with all of the information you need.

- Are your flights reimbursed?

- Will you have help with your visa?

- Is accommodation provided?

- What is the wage?

- What are the hours?

If the answers to these questions are positive and you are happy with the job position and they want you, it will be time to talk contracts.

Step 4: Contracts
Like anywhere, contracts are very important in China. What is very important is that your contract has BOTH English and Chinese on ONE document. If your school asks you to sign a separate Chinese and English contract, that could be suspect as you are signing a Chinese contract that you cannot read. You could be signing away your soul for all you know.

It is important to ask for a contract with both English and Chinese on one document. If your school refuses, I would recommend finding another job.

Once you have signed, it is a case of getting your visa sorted and catching your flight. I will write a whole blog post on working visas in China as it can be a complicated business.


Do NOT move to China illegally. It is not worth however much money the company is offering you. I have seen an instance where someone messed with their visa and they were blacklisted from ever coming to China again. It is serious business. If you do not have the qualifications for the working visa, then I would recommend a different country that has less strict rules. It is not worth the hassle of being an illegal immigrant here.

Let me know if you are thinking of looking for an ESL job! I would love to hear about your journeys and offer any advice that I can give. You can DM me on Twitter or Instagram and I will always reply!

Until next time,
Stay peachy,
Paige xx

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