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These are the questions that have been most frequently asked but if you need more information .

About the Programme
What's so unique about this programme?
We focus mainly on the growth of Verbal English language in China. It’s the area of English language that is particularly needed and has a strong future.

Most English Language Teaching in China is focused on helping children to pass the equivalent of the GCSE the Zhongkao and A-Level equivalent Gaokao exams. There are many companies who provide private tuition, booster classes and teaching in private language schools for aspirational Chinese students. These Zhongkao and Gaokao exams are important to parents in China and many are willing to pay private tutors and/or send their children to private language schools. These don’t reflect the majority of schools and young people in China – this can give something of a skewed understanding of the ‘real’ China

The VEC approach is to encourage a love of English by giving children in ‘real’ Chinese schools – the kind that all types of Chinese children attend every day – opportunities to listen, speak and apply the language in a more relaxed way without the pressure of exams. We find that by letting your personality permeate your teaching, children are more enthused and learn quickly. It is a true cultural exchange – helping all young people in China and Western graduates to further themselves and share experiences we’ve been lucky enough to have had.

What’s the pressure like on the children?
We believe learning a language should be fun and enjoyable. There are no exams in the Verbal Education programmes so there is no pressure on the children beyond joining in the lessons.

Does this tie in with Chinese government policy development?
Chinese Government exam reforms mean that the wider aspects of a child’s life and the learning of life-skills are a strong part of the Chinese educational future. The spoken word is vital to the development of life-skills, whether this is in business or in general day-to-day conversation between friends. In comparison written English is a tiny proportion of the Englisg language when compared with speaking and listening.

Why would your programme set me apart from the crowd?
What you will learn from your time living and working in China is immeasurable. Certainly, from the point of view of adding power to your CV and setting you apart from people that have just travelled and not worked there will not be much that can rival your experiences. Being able to explore how Chinese people think and operate could be vital for any prospective employer. It would certainly put you head and shoulders above other candidates who haven’t had a similar experience when looking for your next career move.

There are few things that resonate as powerfully as having a Work Permit and Temporary Residence Permit from the Foreign Experts Office of the Chinese Government for anyone looking to show that their life-experiences have gone beyond the gap year travel culture.

Do I need a degree in English?
You do not need a degree in English to join our programme. You will need a degree but the level of English you’re likely to need will be quite low and is mainly focussed on speaking and listening. Your enthusiasm for the English Language will count for a lot.

Be honest with yourself about your level of English language, and more importantly your interest in English? Do you have a natural inclination to want to know how words and sentences are used or say, how Shakespeare’s idioms are used in English, whilst to many non-native speakers they make no sense at all? Are you able and willing to explore, reflect, find out more and take pride in the English language? If you are, this programme is for you!

Your TEFL qualification will equip you well. It will go through the kind of grammar you need to be aware of and how to deliver it. You will find that your degree will have prepped you perfectly to work with young Chinese children and inspire them to want to learn more.

You will receive a Foreign Experts Certificate, which will be issued by the Foreign Experts Office of the Chinese Government. This is part of the process of getting temporary residence and extending the Z Visa.

How safe is China?
It’s likely that the thought of hopping on a plane and travelling 5000 plus miles away from your home may feel a little scary. Rest assured that  it is part of Chinese culture to be welcoming; even more so in the second and third-tier cities where people from outside China are quite rare.

Even if you’ve travelled before, you could well be out of your comfort zone. At first you may have jet-lag to contend with as well as having to cope with a new job, house and food you may not be used to. The extra challenge will bring with it a huge sense of achievement though and you will be learning all the time and ‘supercharging’ your life experiences, setting you apart from others.

Crime rates are usually lower than most Western places and you will need vaccinations to suit the area you’re going to of course, but other than that there are no real issues to report.

We advise you to look at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office information on China – and you will no doubt want to do your own research but we think you will be surprised at how safe it really is, compared with other Asian and Western countries.

Parental input 

Though you are an adult in your own right, we completely understand if your parents would like to talk to us. Please feel free to put them in touch. They can often bring experience and wisdom that can be helpful. Some parents have a good understanding of true Chinese culture, but many also have preconceptions about China due to media representation that is often unfounded.

Am I really getting paid to travel to China?
Teaching children English in China is an incredible opportunity. The Chinese Government are investing huge amounts of money to help drive their country forward. It is an unprecedented time for world development and a great time to be part of the China’s future.

Though you will have time off to explore, you are going to China to work. This is, first and foremost, a job and a serious undertaking that we are sure you will love.

What kind of school will I be placed in?
You’ll be working in a government-funded school. This will give you a richer, more real idea of life in China than if you were working in one of the Western private enterprises that you might find there. Of course, that kind of teaching might be right for you at this time though they do not follow a Verbal Education programme preferring a more rigid academic course which focus on rote learning and exams.

You’ll find a deeper experience of ‘real China’ – an altogether earthier, more traditional place in which to live and work.

Do I need ACRO or a DBS Police Certificate?
Yes, you will need an ACRO or a DBS certificate although it must be dated within six months of application.
ACRO Certificate

ACRO is the standard certificate required to gain a Z Visa.
DBS Certificate

If you already have a DBS certificate, this will be sufficient in gaining a Z visa,

Will I need insurance?
Medical insurance
Medical insurance is usually provided as part of your contract. However, you should always check this. This basic contract will not cover loss or theft, or other travel related insurance issues. It also does not usually support the cost of any ongoing treatment beyond emergency care.

This means that if you are hospitalised or need other emergency medical care, the insurance will cover it whilst in China.  However, there are some things to consider:

If you take out insurance in the UK, it will obviously be in English and you will be able to monitor and understand any changes. Insurance policies usually come with an emergency number that can be used outside of your country which allow you to contact multi-lingual support teams. You should check that this facility is built into any policy you take out.

General Travel Insurance
You will need to take out suitable travel insurance and confirm that you have this before leaving for China.

Your Chinese employer will always support you in the event of an emergency when in China. They have often been known to put themselves out to help when the going gets tough. However, they will not be able to support you financially in the event of loss or theft or for emergency travel home to your native country.

Of course, the likelihood is that you would never need such help but our advice to you is, for peace of mind, ensure that you have sufficient cover.

What would be my working hours and holiday pay be?
There are various different contracts depending on the province, school and your experience and skills profile. Typically, a working week is around 20 hours per week (each lesson would be about 45minutes).
Most schools will not expect you to work weekends. If they do, this will be explained before you accept the job and will be written into your contract. Time worked at weekends will almost always be offset by extra time off in lieu, or other benefits.
You will receive a holiday bonus of 4000 RMB (£550 approx.) for the Winter (Chinese New Year) and Summer (July until September) holidays.

Towards the end of January and much of February, the whole nation is celebrating the Chinese New Year. It is the perfect time to enjoy the local customs or get out and travel around other parts of China. Remember to budget for further travelling – though, once you are in China it shouldn’t be too expensive.

If you have an interest or hobby (such as in sport or the arts) you think the young people would love or benefit from then do offer to contribute to the wider life of the school in this way. This work would not usually be paid but it will bring great benefits in terms of goodwill and respect.

What is the salary for new graduate?
The standard, new graduate rate for a minimum 10-month commitment for a second or third tier city is 8000 RMB (£950 approx.) per month after tax. Which is paid by our Chinese partner (not The Go-Between). There are also other benefits such as free accommodation, food etc. Check out details, which can be supplied by our Chinese partners.
The wage or grant you receive works out to be around two to three times the salary of a local Chinese teacher and is similar to an upper Director in a school.

Remember that the cost of living is much lower in the parts of China you’ll be working, and on top of that you also get:
Meals (or food allowance)
This is a remarkably high wage and benefits package when compared to some of your colleagues, who will also have to feed their families and pay rent on a house. When compared to the UK it may seem a bit meagre but we have to remember the low cost of living. Nevertheless, we advise a keen sense of budgeting, as Western residents are often used to spending more money than their Chinese counterparts. It can sometimes take a little time to understand the value of money in a developing country.

Don’t feel too guilty about taking a relatively high salary though – you are going there with a passion, to make a difference and to help others. This is highly valued in China.

Is accommodation included?
Accommodation is provided free of charge by the school as an expectation of your contract.
It is usually part of a block of flats or an apartment on, or close to, the school site. This is particularly convenient when you need support, but also obviously for travelling to and from school. Nothing will be deducted from your salary in terms of your accommodation unless it has already been discussed. If there are utility bills – and this is not common – the costs are usually very negligible.

Other teachers may well be in the flat/apartment too, but you will have your own room and bathroom. It makes for a really exciting, rich and diverse set of experiences and relationships. Virtually all will be graduates and if not straight out of University they will be newly qualified.

You are of course free to choose different accommodation, although any extra costs would be payable by you.

Is food provided?
Most schools provide three meals of authentic Chinese food a day, free of charge. If you’re thinking of UK school meals, banish such thoughts from your head – Jamie Oliver would definitely approve!
The cost of food is not deducted from the salary. 

There may be some schools that do not provide all meals, for example, if they do not have a catering facility specifically designed for foreign teachers boarding. I these cases there will be an extra food allowance of 500 RMB and a kitchen in your accommodation.

What support is there to help me with the teaching?
We have a wealth of experience in working with children and young people in a huge range of teaching and learning contexts both in the UK and in China. We are more than happy to give you some pointers or put you in touch with an expert who can help. However, we will not be in a position to provide you with continual, ongoing support for individual lesson planning. You are the teacher – that is your role.
You will be surprised at how well you get on as you have a unique skill set as a UK University Graduate.

Your TEFL course will prepare you well to teach English in foreign country. TEFL is a well-established course – refined over many years. Hundreds of thousands of successful people enjoying what opportunities it’s brought to them.

Your school will assigned a teacher who can speak both English and Chinese. You can ask them questions, seek support and in most cases they may help you plan some of your lessons.
There are plenty of resources you can download online to support you before you leave. You can also ask for further resources when you get to China. However, you will quickly find that you are seen as the ‘expert’. It is the perfect opportunity to design your own curriculum, based on your classes and children. Resources to support verbal education, phonetics, English language games etc, are all useful to research before you leave. You will find that you quickly build up a body of resources.
There will be an English speaking teacher assigned to you to help you outside the classroom, such as with your apartment, local travel and other challenges which you’ll need to navigate, so make friends with them quickly!
You are about to become one of those teachers you remember from school, college or university who just inspired you with how they taught. You may not get it right 100 per cent of the time, but if you have a passion for motivating others and want to give something back to society then you will be in the perfect place.

Your job is to try hard, to prepare lessons using resources from your TEFL course and continue to grow and learn from teachers on the ground in China.

How do I know if this is the right job for me?
Deciding whether to work teaching English to children in China might not have been at the forefront of your mind when you finished your degree but it is a great way to make a difference and experience a culture that is markedly different from ours.
Our experience here at The Go-Between shows that most candidates fall into one of four categories.

You’ve never really thought of teaching before but you like the idea.
You’ve thought about teaching but you’re not sure whether it would be your final career choice. You might have had some experience of working children or young people and the work gave you a real buzz but you’re not completely convinced about it as a full career.
You’re keen to teach, even just for a while to see what it’s like. Could it be the career for you? You’d like to test out whether you have the right temperament to make a difference in children’s lives and do a good job.
You want to teach! You’ve known for a while that in your bones and you love the sense of achievement and the challenge.
If you fit into any of the above categories, a job in China could be right for you.

What is WeChat and do I need it?
In the main the Chinese use Skype and WeChat for international communication.
WeChat is basically the equivalent to a very enhanced WhatsApp – everybody uses it for business and pleasure. It is developed by Chinese tech giant Tensent and also has a social media platform underpinning it.

We advise that you download and sign up for a WeChat account as it will really help your recruitment and transition process. Communication is everything! 

What if I want to leave before the end of my contract?
We would really hope that you would spend at least the full ten months working at your school in China. However, there are times when this may not be possible.
The school contracts are fair and reasonable. However, as you can imagine, the process of finding a new teacher for a school is complex and costly. It will have already cost the school thousands of pounds to find you and when that process has to start again from the beginning, it is costly and time-consuming. You will find that there is a longer notice period than most jobs in the West – this can be two or three month and in some cases up to a term. This will, of course, be discussed with you and spelled out in your contract and throughout the recruitment process. There will be no surprises don’t worry!

If you decide that you’re unable to serve the full notice period, there is usually a fee to pay, roughly equivalent to the salary you would have earned had you have served the full notice period. This offsets some of the cost of recruiting a new teacher. Again, this will be detailed in the contract and discussed with you before you sign.

Your Chinese employer’s sole aim is to fulfill the government agenda of supporting young people’s education through input from foreign teachers. They are reasonable people and not out to unfairly take money from you, however, they do have school budgets to balance.
Our preference always is to help you to stay in post and support you where we can.

Where are the schools based?
We place teachers in schools throughout China and many you may not have heard of. Some cities in China, with populations close to the size of London, are relatively unheard of by Western citizens. Here at The Go-Between wesupport schools who need input from English graduates to help nurture their next generation of leaders who will work and enjoy the company of Western Citizens.
So, the kinds of locations we’re talking about on this programme are the second and third-tier cities, not the East coast economic powerhouses such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Locations include:
Shandong province
Henan province
Zhejiang province
Sichuan province
Hubei province
Hunan province

Part of the matching process is to find a location that suits both you and the Chinese people. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean a completely free choice of schools and locations for the candidate. There are so many variables that contribute towards placing a teacher in the best possible location and there will be competencies that you need to demonstrate in order to qualify.

Will I be placed with another Western teacher?
You can be and if this is really important to you please make sure you mention it during your application.
Our intention is always to place people in clusters in the same area even if they’re in different schools, for example, if ten people are placed in Shandong, you may find that though they might be in different schools they will be within travelling distance of each other. 

Our Chinese partners match candidates to schools and they keep your skills, profile and personality in mind. It is a nuanced process and aims to get the best fit for all.

Should you pass the application stage, you may well be offered more than one school so you will be able to choose, on some level, where you go.

Will I be able to visit big cities and the main tourist sites?
Yes, you can. If the term hasn’t started Hope will collect you from the airport, do your paperwork and then take you on a trail around such sights as the Great Wall and/or the Summer Palace. Then after a couple of days of being a tourist you’ll be whizzed off ready to start at school.

Will I be able to move school?
We try our hardest to keep teachers in place but it would be possible, if there are genuine, unresolvable issues – rather than for ‘teacher-tourism’ purposes.
We would ask that you balance your needs against the needs of the school and the local community. Imagine you are the headteacher and you have put lots of effort, time and money into engaging with this wonderful foreign teacher to help enrich your school community, having to go through the recruitment process again would be very difficult. A teacher who stays for a long time is much better for the pupils.

So, movement from school to school cannot be fully guaranteed but it is possible. Our Chinese partners do understand when there are difficulties, and will always aim to help you and balance these as best they can with the school’s needs.

What else should I know about the balance between work and play?
Travelling is enriching. We believe travel makes better people and brings so many opportunities for learning. But there’s something that trumps travelling and that’s working and travelling.
It’s fairly common these days to take a gap year and travel. It no longer makes you stand out.

What’s really unique is work experience abroad. Many employers like to see that you’ve been able to adapt and overcome tough situations in adverse contexts. Real-world experience of working with and for local communities, understanding the deeper elements of what makes the world tick is really meaningful.

We have tremendous faith in the next generation of leaders, business people and politicians. We understand that type of experience you could gain from working in China and see how this will set you apart. You will be well set for a wider choice of careers and have a truly incredible sense of achievement.

All this and a wage too!

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