Reply To: Overview of Working in China

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Working in China whether to learn a new language or get work experience is not as breezy as it seems.* Life in China can be frustrating or absolutely wonderful, and here are some tips on how to get the most out of your stay here.

The Chinese customs and values stress the relevance of relationships and hierarchy, and give importance to bargaining and compromise.* This trait reveals itself in the interaction between workers and their employers, in business negotiations, in families, and even in dealing with merchants.* It would be difficult to get by without this basic knowledge.* Western culture particularly that of American business ethics, is very different from the Chinese.* It would take a while before you get used to the greatly relationship-oriented ways in China, but you could arm yourself with various articles and books about the culture and the changes that have taken place over the years after China opened its doors to the world.

Finding work is relatively easy.* There are lots of openings for foreign language teachers in China, and English is very hot in the market.* There are minimal requirements, usually a bachelor’s degree and native fluency in English would do.* Agencies are also helpful but you can find jobs on your own by trying to contact universities and schools before the vacation ends.* Your salary would depend on your credentials but the bare minimum would be around 4,000 RMB per month, including housing and sometimes a ticket back to your country.* Hours of classes and the salary itself can be negotiated if there is no standard contract provided, and there is added value in having ESL or EFL training and a master’s degree in any field.

If teaching is not for you then you can scout for numerous jobs in China that suit your preference and you field in online job postings and e-magazines.* The process is similar to applying for a teaching job.* You can contact the employer or ask agencies to forward your CVs to different companies.* After you get the job you can also negotiate for flexible hours and rates.

It is important to know what region in China you want to work in.* China is a very big country and is subjectively divided into several parts: East, Middle, and Western China.* Reading up about the regions where work is available would save you from a lot of frustration and disappointment.* Ask yourself first if working in a big city is a very important factor in making the decision.* Usually the eastern and central parts of China are more developed.* There is vast technological penetration and economic progress in these parts, and the western regions are more rural and have less people.* If internet access and urban amenities and conveniences are important to you then make sure you look for jobs in big cities and more progressive regions.

Other things to consider are learning the language and the cost of living.* It would be a great experience learning a new language while immersing yourself in a different culture.* There are so many dialects spoken in China but around 70% of the population speaks Mandarin.* Standard written Chinese is the same and is understood by all dialects.* China’s cost of living is 50 to 70 percent lower than in the United States so be sure to factor that in when considering your salary.* Working in China can be the ultimate experience but better be prepared to cross the cultural divide!

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