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Could China Be the New Destination for Your Job Abroad?

From soccer coaching, to teach English in China. Here's the story and the full low down to why China should be next on your gap year job list.

Author: Oliver Norris
26 Nov 17:00

China, a far away ancient land full of misty mountains and mystic temples.

For a lot of people, it’s an impenetrable place which a lot of travellers never quite make it to. The language is different, the culture is different and the food is very different, but for an intrepid breed of traveller these are the very same reasons that make them want to explore.

FOR A LONG TIME, CHINA HAS BEEN INACCESSIBLE TO INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLERS UNTIL RECENTLY.

The most famous of all being Marco Polo, who was the first to describe to Europeans the vast wealth and cities of the Chinese empire in 1300.

Since then, there have been relatively few who have managed to discover the real China but in the last 30 years, China has made a real effort to open it’s doors and welcome the rest of the world.

Since that first historic KFC opened in Beijing in 1987, there has been a steady increase in exchanges between China and the world.

One of those exchanges has been of people and right now, there are more than 600,000 international citizens living and working in China and they’re fulfilling a wide range of different job roles. However, this still only accounts for less than 0.1% of the total population (Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 Revision, UN report, 2015), which is even smaller than North Korea, so for those looking for a real adventure and a story to tell, working in China definitely ticks the boxes.

TEACHING ENGLISH HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN THE EASIEST WAY TO LIVE AND WORK IN CHINA.

When looking to work in China, it’s difficult to see past the large number of opportunities for teaching English.

For a long time, China has been importing international teachers to help provide an immersive English experience for their students.

This means that 18% of all foreign nationals living in China work as teachers. Until quite recently, it was simple for native English speakers to find work as an oral English teacher in China.

The only requirement tended to be a bachelor's degree, regardless of the subject. However, over the past few years, the Chinese government has become much stricter with who they allow into the country to work as a teacher. Now, without a couple years of experience and a teaching related qualification (TEFL, PGCE etc), it can be difficult to find work.

Being an English speaker in China is full of benefits however, as each generation of young Chinese people realises the advantages of being connected with the rest of the world.

International travelers in China can be a cause for great curiosity and it’s no surprise to be invited to banquets, dinners and even family weddings at the drop of a hat.

This hospitality often extends to job offers as an emerging middle class, who have disposable income for the first time, are keen to hire English speakers as private tutors for their children.

This can be a lucrative side job with families often paying around £30 per hour to provide an immersive English speaking environment for their children once a week. However, taking on this kind of role is fraught with difficulty due to visa constraints of working on a tourist visa.

Currently, there is no working holiday visa equivalent in China, so those simply traveling in China are legally forbidden from finding part time work. If you’re found to be working on a tourist visa, then you are liable to be fined and expelled from the country.

AFTER PRESIDENT XI’S CALL FOR RAPID INVESTMENT IN THE SPORT, FOOTBALL COACHES ARE BEING RECRUITED IN THE THOUSANDS.

In 2016, President Xi Jin Ping and the Chinese Football Association stated their goal of becoming a footballing superpower by 2050. In the course of achieving this, the plan is to create at least 20,000 soccer training centers and 70,000 pitches by 2020. As a result, there has been an emphasis placed on finding foreign coaches to help lay the foundations for future success.

In the past few years, China has bought in some of the biggest names in international football to help develop their game and this has trickled down to the grassroots as there are more and more opportunities for qualified football coaches to work in schools and private academies across the country.

As the football revolution grows, more and more private companies are popping up, which offer a great opportunity to work in China teaching English and coaching football at the same time. Most football coaches are FA Level 1 accredited and work across a number of schools at once, travelling between different locations in a city to take different classes.

VOLUNTARY AND FARMING WORK IS A RELATIVELY NEW CONCEPT IN CHINA BUT IS GROWING RAPIDLY.

For many international travellers, WWOOFing or volunteering on farms and ecological projects is a great way to extend their trip and get to know the real, local culture.

China is still a little behind other countries in their efforts to reduce their ecological footprints but there are private enterprises popping up across the country aimed at developing sustainable food and energy sources which require likeminded volunteers.

As a WWOOFer, you might be expected to turn your hand to a variety of roles such as labouring on a farm, mending fences or teaching English to local children.

This is a great way to live and work in a truly Chinese environment, however the number of opportunities are limited when compared to other countries. In the USA, there are more than 2000 different projects signed up to receive WWOOFers whereas in China, there are only around 200.

BUT THE NEWEST WAY TO WORK IN CHINA IS SUMMER CAMP

Being inspired by the tradition of summer camps around the world. China has developed their own twist on the summer camping industry.

The camps are similar in their structure and accommodation and are in some pretty spectacular locations.

This is a new venture for China and is changing life for a generation of Chinese children. Summer camps are founded in cultural exchange, creating connections and forming mutual understanding between nations.

Chinese summer camps are looking for outgoing people from round the world to become counselors, to share their culture but to really learn and benefit from working in China. China has so much to offer and this is a great new opportunity to experience China in a new and immersive way.

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Oliver Norris

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SPEND YOUR SUMMER EXPLORING CHINA