With economies suffering in many countries, some people are looking to take their education and skills elsewhere, where they might be more beneficial, and where they may have better opportunities not only for a better job. But for a job with advancement opportunities and a potential for new education, on-the-job training, and exposure to a new culture.
Should you look for work in China or look elsewhere? What would it be like to live and work in China? How would you go about moving to China and obtaining a visa to be able to work? If you wanted to teach English, either as your primary job or as a side job on top of the career you chose to move to China for, how would you do that? Is it important that China is becoming an economic superpower and how does this affect you? Are things different in China as a foreigner if you are an American versus if you come from some other country? This article will answer all of your questions, and we will get you started on the path to working, living, and enjoying your new career and culturally diverse life in China.
There is Plenty of Work in China for Foreigners
Many Multinational Corporations need people who are bilingual as they work with other countries all over the world, and it’s most convenient and more professional to do business with a client in their native language. Because people from other countries, especially Europe and the Americas, speak their native language, they would be able to learn Chinese, a bit about the culture, and be able to transfer their skills to their trade that is of use in China. A company there may even pay relocation costs to get you to China to work for them. The most in-demand fields are engineering, information technology, hospitality, and teaching.
Living and Working in China
If you were to move to one of China’s bigger cities, like Shanghai, Beijing, or Guangzhou, you would have relatively little culture shock coming from the west. These cities have markets where you can find western cooking ingredients, western movies, and even western clothing. The jobs there can range from schools to restaurants, to hotels. These cities have fairly easy to navigate subway systems, and most people do not need vehicles.
However, a lot of China is rural, and if you are teaching outside of these cities, then you will want to have a vehicle, a satellite phone, and ways of surviving if you aren’t able to get fresh water for a few days. You’ll need a radio and all of the supplies for teaching English and any other chosen subject you will be teaching, such as China’s rich history, or global history, mathematics, or science. To live and work in China, especially rural China, you may experience some culture shock or you may absolutely love the change in your life. Either way, embrace it!
Getting Your Visa
For working in China, a visa is required. China calls this a Z Visa. You need to first obtain a work permit from the country of China. For this you must state that you intend to work in China and what you intend to do there. If it is for a limited period, you must state that time period. If you don’t know, or if you are hoping it will last quite a while or forever, then you must state a time period of ‘indefinite.’
Once the work permit is issued, you will be granted one entry into the country with a duration specified from your work permit. If the Z Visa has a time period granted of ‘000’ then you may stay an indefinite period of time.
Teaching English in China
It is very easy to work in China teaching English. Many people who go to China to work other jobs, even if they are full-time, also teach English on the side just to make a few extra Chinese Yuan. Sometimes they just help out as a private tutor in someone’s home, sometimes they help give night classes, or sometimes they are hired on as a teacher at a school. They can volunteer their time or be an employee, but this can be a full-time job or something just for fun or volunteer work. Because many people from the west go to China to work and explore the culture, they don’t often have contacts in China but teaching English can help introduce them to a lot of people at once. Once a class is finished, they are no longer a teacher, and they can be friends outside of the classroom.
Tips for Americans Living in China
For an American living in China, tips are always handy. You could always go to the bookstore and pick up a handy guide that lists them all, but who has time for that? You need to know the basics. The best way to do this is to go to an online forum on this topic. There will probably be a board specifically for Americans living abroad, and then a sticky under that specifically for China. Try looking at the tips that others have given from their own experience. What did they learn in their first day, week, month, year, of living and working in China? The best way to learn what you need to know is to get information from the people who have been through the adventure you’re about to embark on.
Why is Japan an Economic Power?
And why does this affect China and your ability to work there? Why would you care? It is the 3rd largest economic superpower in the world. The US and China are the first two. Japan may be a choice for you to go to find a job, especially if you’re looking for that Asian culture and you have skills in manufacturing (which is what Japan is succeeding at right now), but Japan doesn’t have much room to grow. It’s a small country, and you can only expand so much as there is land to expand onto. When you look at China, comparatively, there is a lot of room to expand, and they are in the process of doing so. If you want to be a part of that, you can get in now while the jobs are hot and the companies are looking for people who have skills like yours.
Are You an American Moving to China?
Most of the people who are living and working in China as foreigners are American. There are a lot of colleges and trade schools in the US that will teach those who may want to go to China the skills that those employers will want. Also, American English is often seen as the ‘correct’ English because so many American movies are shown there, both new and old. So when teaching English, many people want to be taught by someone from America.
Whether you are from the US, South America, Europe, or somewhere else, China is a great place to work and live if you are bilingual and have the skills and work experience that employers there are looking for.
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