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      • Q:Are living accommodations convenient to the workplace?
      • A:As part of the agreement, institutions provide free accommodations to foreign teachers. Lodging varies from guesthouse room, similar to a standard hotel, to a complete apartment with sitting room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen area. Much depends on the school facilities and what they are able to provide for the teacher. Normally, a teacher receives an apartment setting. At some schools, teachers share a living space but have separate bedrooms. In all cases, there is "private" space for a foreign teacher.

        Most institutions offer lodging on the campus. In some cases, the lodging is not on the campus and the institutions are required to provide transportation in those cases. Type of transportation (or stipend) depends on distance from campus. In a few instances, institutions allow teachers to live off-campus and they are willing to pay a lodging stipend to help cover rental costs. The stipend might not cover all costs, but will help to defray costs. The teacher then can choose his/her own accommodations.

        If lodged in campus housing provided by the institution, the lodging is furnished. In some cases there is service attendant available; in other cases, the teacher does their own cleaning. If a teacher lives off campus, they are responsible for furnishing their own area. Normally, if teachers elect to cook for themselves, they are responsible for purchasing their own pots, pans, and other equipment. Sometimes, previous teachers will leave such items behind for others to use.

        Rental costs vary according to city, region, and circumstance and cannot be quoted here as a "norm". Most institutions will not allow their teachers to live off campus, since the institution is responsible for the teacher's health and safety which requires the teacher’s presence. If a teacher lives a distance from an institution (as arranged by the institution - not the teacher), it is the institution's responsibility to see that transportation and safety are addressed.
      • Q:Why teaching in China?
      • A:A different world, students eager to learn, a group of sincere friends, a country with an ancient civilization dating back to five thousand years ago...
        Once recruited, you will enjoy a reasonable income which guarantees you a completely easy life in China. Most schools offer you free accommodations, safe and scenic environment, compensation for round-trip ticket (for one year contact), insurance and rich opportunities of traveling.
      • Q:What about water and food quality?
      • A:A person should never drink tap water in China. Bottled water is readily available. A person should always check if the seal on bottled water is unbroken. Sometimes, a water dispenser will be available in your apartment.

        Food should be thoroughly cooked. Be aware that sometimes food purchased on the street, such as roasted meat on a stick, might not be thoroughly cooked. In such cases, the person will often experience bouts of diarrhea or upset stomach. It is wise to carry chewable Pepto Bismol or some other remedy. The Chinese will often eat a whole clove of raw garlic prior to eating out where they are unsure of the food quality.

        If you feel food poisoned, you will need to visit a doctor/clinic/hospital for treatment. Inform your host institution and they will help you.

        Any fever, diarrhea, or loss of weight over a long period of time needs to be attended to by a physician.
      • Q:What is the best time to travel to China?
      • A:Given the vastness of China, its seasons and climates vary depending on when and where you visit. The months of April and October are usually good times to travel. China is usually warm, humid, and rainy in the summer. In contrast, winter weather can vary considerably from city to city. Beijing, for example, is very cold in winter, with afternoon highs averaging only 34 degrees F. The best times to visit Beijing are in the early fall and late spring, especially May and September, with April and October almost as pleasant. Humidity, however, can be high from June to September.
      • Q:What guide sets salary standards for foreign teacher or expert?
      • A:Following are the guides as stated by the Chinese government:

        *Category 1: RMB 2,200 ~ 3,300 teachers having a bachelor's degree and over two years of work experience, or middle school teachers with over three years of teaching experience.

        *Category 2: RMB 3,300 ~ 4,600 assistant professors or lecturers of institutions of higher education, or middle school teachers with over five years of teaching experience, and professionals with corresponding titles and business levels.

        *Category 3: RMB 4,600 ~ 6,000 professors, associate professors of institutions of higher education, senior lecturers of the Commonwealth countries, and professionals with corresponding titles and business levels.

        *Crucial talents badly needed in China and difficult to recruit may be employed with high salary.

        NOTE: There are the established guidelines, allowing room for negotiation. In reality, many schools will offer higher salaries to entice the foreign teacher. However, a higher salary from a school often means more contracted teaching hours or other specified duties.
      • Q:What are all the different kinds of visas in China?
      • A:"Z" Working Visa allows a person to reside and work in China with an invitation letter from a school for duration of the contract followed by additional 30 days of travel. Z Visa is the standard visa for foreign teachers and experts. The date on Z visa is only good for entry into China within 90 days post issuance. The document that qualifies your living and working in China is the Residence Permit issued to you by Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Public Security governing your school’s location . By government regulation, you must be registered with Shanghai Municipal Bureau of the Public Security within 30 days upon your arrival or you will be illegal. If it fails to register you, the school is normally charged with a heavy fine.

        Your Residence Permit identifies you by photo, name, and personal details. When you are registered, the date of your registration and the date that you will be expected to leave China are written into this card. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE! The expiration date should take into account the additional 30 days for personal travel following the expiration date of your contract. If it does not, you must ask your foreign affairs officer to have the date corrected. If you travel during the extra 30 days without a proper Residence Permit, you will be stopped at any hotel for illegal residence and have to leave China in about 24 hours. If you are caught during your illegal stay in the country, you will be subject to deportation and/or heavily fined as an "overstay". The fine is normally 500 Yuan RMB per day of overstay.

        "Z" visa is normally single entry visa. If you wish to travel outside of China during your contracted period, you MUST obtain a re-entry stamp from Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Public Security, which is applied for by your school. There may be a cost .

        When leaving China, you must give over your Residence Permit at Immigration and your original visa becomes invalid. If it is discovered that you are an "overstay", you will have to pay required fines at Immigration. It happened to past teachers. When leaving, you must present your passport and your valid Residence Permit. If your Residence Permit is lost or you do not have it, you will most probably be charged 500 Yuan RMB for each day of overstay commencing with when your entry visa expired.

        *Be reminded that "Z" visa cannot be transferred to tourist/visitor visa while you are in China. To transfer your visa, or obtain a visitor visa, you must leave China to get it and then re-enter. Hong Kong is the nearest location for that service. Any hotel travel agent in Hong Kong can help you. You cannot work in China on an "L" visa.

        "F" Visa: Certain municipalities (Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, certain east coastal areas) are able to hire teachers on a 6-month "F" visa and still take care of the residency side of the regulations by issuing a Temporary Residency Permit and Temporary Foreign Expert Card. "F" visa can be multiple entries visa, governed by the Letter of Invitation issued by Provincial Foreign Affairs Office on behalf of your school. If you remain in China teaching at the same institution beyond 6 months, your visa can be transferred to a "Z" visa by your school. At that time, you will be given a permanent Residence Permit to validate the newly obtained "Z" visa. You will also need a full medical examination.

        *Be reminded: An "F" visa can only be transferred into a "Z" visa throught proper application by your school and further documentation at Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Public Security is required. Note what is described above.
      • Q:What is the public transportation system like?
      • A:Public transportation is normally sufficient for a teacher's needs. Many times, a teacher has a bicycle for transportation. Bus systems are normally efficient (although crowded) and there is convenient taxi system in Shanghai.
      • Q:Do employers supply living accommodations? What is supplied?
      • A:Free accommodation is provided for the foreign teacher. The lodging is ready to be used by the teacher upon arrival. This is a responsibility of the host institution. See previous sections for full details. In some cases, there is service attendant care on a regular basis. In most cases, the teachers care for their own living space. Teachers are not taxed on accommodations. Lodging is the responsibility of the institution.

        Teachers will need to provide small items as needed to function in the lodging space. This can include pots and pans, kitchen utensils, or anything the teacher feels is necessary.

        Lodging comes furnished with enough furniture to allow for comfortable living.
      • Q:Do I have to pay Taxes?
      • A:Foreign teachers/workers in China are subject to a 10% tax on anything earned above 4,000 Yuan RMB per month. In many cases, the host institution will refund refund this cost as a benefit to the teacher. There are no other taxes levied on the foreign teacher.
      • Q:What about sick leave pay maternity leave and pay?
      • A:A foreign teacher is allowed up to 30 sick leave days with verification of a doctor. In some cases, if the illness is lengthy, the teacher receives a pro-rated salary for that time. The institution has the right to terminate employment if a teacher is not able to resume a normal working schedule after 30 days of sick leave. If a teacher is diagnosed with an illness that cannot be cured within a short period of time, arrangements are made to return that teacher to their home nation as soon as possible.

        Institutions provide medical services to the teacher up to approximately 1,000 Yuan RMB ($120 USD) during a contracted period of time. In some cases, an institution will pay only 80% of medical expenses. Medical care is normally sought at the institution’s clinic or designated hospital. If a teacher wishes to go elsewhere, they must bear the medical costs themselves. There are no provisions for maternity pay. The same medical information holds as for illness .
      • Q:Do I need any vaccination injection?
      • A:A teacher should be current with vaccinations and any other injections deemed necessary for international travel as advised by physician. Unless teaching for a period of time in the extreme southern part of China, people do not need to worry about malaria or other tropical diseases. It is wise to have a vaccination certificate (WHO) listing your inoculations and dates of injections in case they are needed for any reason.
      • Q:When will salary be paid? In what currency? What is the official exchange rate?
      • A:Salaries vary from institution to institution and region to region. They also vary among public schools and private schools. Salaries are dependent on the teacher's education and work experience. The base salary for a foreign teacher in China is 2,200 Yuan RMB. However, most institutions pay much more than that and salaries can range from 3,000 Yuan RMB to as high as 7,000 Yuan RMB, depending on teacher’s qualifications and teaching demands. These are determined by the host institution and can be negotiated by the teacher if there is a question. Any earnings above 4,000 Yuan RMB is subject to a 10% tax.

        Salaries are paid in cash in Chinese Yuan Renminbi (RMB). Normally, salaries are paid by the 5th day of every month and are paid for the previous month worked. This means that a foreign teacher might not receive their first salary payment until the beginning of the second month of teaching. However, some schools will pay one month ahead as a courtesy, realizing the teacher has nothing for the first month. NOTE: A teacher is allowed to exchange up to 70% of their salary for foreign currency, normally United States Dollars (USD). Current exchange rate is: $1USD = 6.11 RMB.
      • Q:Do I need an HIV test?
      • A:Anyone coming to China to teach is required to have a full medical examination in order to meet the guidelines for working in China. This includes test results recorded on an "official" Chinese health form, chest x-ray, ECG, blood tests, Hepatitis and Syphilis test, and HIV/AIDS test. If the medical is done in his/her home country, all original results must be brought into China and presented to the host institution. These complete your file for Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Public Security, allowing you to receive a Residency Permit. If the medical is not done in the home country, it must be performed in China after your arrival at the host institution. Without a medical exam, a foreigner cannot live and work in China. The medical form should be stamped with an official physician, clinic, or hospital stamp.
      • Q:Will I be able to live on a RMB 2000 monthly salary? How much do I need to spend in China?
      • A:Yes, indeed you are higher paid than many local workers and teachers in China. Normal wages in Beijing and Shanghai (the richest cities) are between RMB 1500-2000, and less in rural/inner China. Since you do not have to pay for accommodation, your main expenses will be on food (some schools also provide free meals to teachers), transportation, and entertainment. Food is generally cheap in China. Single-dish meals at the cafeteria on campus cost as little as RMB 4 (USD 0.50). Chinese restaurants on campus in the school area offer meals for RMB 10-20 (USD 1.25-3) per person per day. Western restaurants cost between RMB 50-100 (USD 6-12) per person per meal. Transportation options include public buses (which cost about RMB 1 per ride) and subway (RMB 2-3 per ride), and taxi costs about RMB 10 (USD 1.25) for short distances. Internet Cafe is very cheap for about RMB 4-6 (USD 0.5-0.75) an hour. Entertainment in general is also inexpensive.
      • Q:Will there be opportunities to learn or improve my Mandarin Chinese during the teaching program?
      • A:Yes, many schools in China offer Chinese language courses for foreigners, which you can take at your spare time. Some schools may offer you free lessons or tutoring services at a discounted price. You can also find a private tutor or share one with other foreign teachers. Private tutor may ask for RMB 30-40 an hour. We find the best way to learn Mandarin and Chinese culture is to find a local Chinese student or teacher as a language exchange partner. Many Chinese students and teachers are eager to teach you Mandarin in exchange for your help in English.
      • Q:I am not a native English speaker. Can I teach English in China?
      • A:Native English speakers are preferred but not required as long as you have a good command of English language and do not have much of a foreign accent. There are many teachers in China who were not born in but educated in English speaking countries with not much of a foreign accent. There are many ESL/EFL teachers in China who did not educate in English speaking countries but have taught very well.
      • Q:What is a Foreign Expert Certificate?
      • A:This certificate is needed if you are a foreign teacher in China. It is mainly used by you/your school to exchange part of your salary (up to 70% monthly) into hard currency. This is their verification and your proof that the exchange has been made. At one time, the certificate could be used for discounted airfares/train fares in China due to different fares for Chinese and foreigners. Fares are now supposed to be equal and the certificate has no real effect in travel rates. It might help in some hotels.
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