How do I get settled in China?

Settling into your city is a fantastic way to feel less homesick, have less culture shock, and enjoy the most out of your amazing decision to join the Chinese education community and educating students in the English language. In this page, we’ve put together some useful information for you to consider on how to get settled into China as quickly as possible.

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Start before you arrive

Firstly, did you know you could do this without being in China? You could join WeChat groups with international teachers that are in your city, read books about China to understand historically how they are influenced culturally, and you could even access the myriad of websites dedicated to providing useful information to expatriates on the best places to visit, which will almost definitely have lots of useful information from people who live where you will be teaching in. You will then be able to hit the ground running when you arrive, with already familiar locations that you have recognised online.

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What should I do when I first arrive in China?

Learning your local environment, shops, bars, restaurants, places that you could go for a leisurely walk, bus routes, train stations, and other amenities, is a really useful tool for you to enjoy not only your area but China as a nation. You will be able to combine different leisurely activities. For example, you might want to go to two bars by the Lake and then take a train to another city where you can continue enjoying the nightlife. Or you may want to do all your shopping in the morning cheaply, at a local farmers market, cook with your newly purchased appliances from a supermarket you found hidden on the third floor, and then go for a walk with your partner. By understanding where all the different amenities are, you can, therefore, create habits, live more fluidly and naturally. The best way to do this is by getting out of your apartment, your comfort zone, and having an optimistic and explorative mindset. Be sure to download Maps before you set off, or Didi, so you can return home easily. Lots of international teachers in China purchase an electronic bike (ebike) so they can explore further on hotter days than would be comfortable for you to walk. If you enjoy commuting by Metro, consider the opportunity cost of not exploring the locations you’re missing in between stops.

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How can I join social groups outside of work?

Another great way to settle in is to join travel groups such as Etravel Club or other groups that allow you to separate from your professional teaching environment. If you are into photography or visiting new cities, there are lots of like-minded people you can find by exploring different social groups. We at HiredinChina recommend Etravel Club because they allow you to integrate with expatriates that are possibly not teachers, so you can get a broader insight into how people live and orientate themselves within the Chinese community, without having to hear stories all the time about students. To watch football (soccer) or other international sports such as the World Cup, the NBA or UFC you can visit local international bars and restaurants to view these live events, or if you are feeling a bit less sociable and want a quiet night in, you can purchase TV packages such as Sky to watch all your favourite channels inside the comfort of your own home.

ESL Job Board

Access all our Teaching Vacancies in China on our ESL Job Board

Your FAQs

We’ve put together a Resources Page to answer your most frequent questions. From Saving Money, to Getting Your Z-VISA, we have gone into detail there.

Your school will apply for your VISA for you to work directly for them. We’ll be with you every step of the journey. We’ve created our own VISA Support Page. Remember, the VISA you’re applying for is a Z-VISA.

You will have a minimum of a one-year contract, that will be full-time. You can save a lot of money teaching in China, and we’ve put together more information for you to read.

When you are directly employed by the school, they will offer you insurance. This means private level care. Be sure to check your contract for sick days.

You will have to go through your bank to legitimately send money home. To do this, follow the steps they give you. Your school will help support you and will be able to translate anything you need.

That is fantastic news! Not speaking Chinese is great for your students, as you will be able to immerse them in English more. We’ve also put together an Essential Mandarin Guide, and Benefits For Learning Mandarin when you’re exploring.