What do I need to know about teaching in China?

Teaching ESL in China has never been so easy. Through significant economic development during the last 20 years, China has seen a boom in demand for English, particularly in the East Coast cities. The ESL package varies significantly from region to region, and there are differing requirements in each city.

Generally speaking, the cities of China can be divided into Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. Tier 1 cities include the likes of Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, Macau, and Shanghai. These cities normally require 1-2 years of experience. You will also need to possess a degree, a teaching certificate, and be a native English speaker. Tier 2 cities have the same requirements bar the experience, and include the likes of Wuhan, Shenzhen, Tianjin, etc.

Teach to Travel focuses on the Guangdong and Heibei provinces, which include the likes of Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Macau, Shenzhen and Wuhan. We occasionally have posts in Shanghai, but focus more on the south of China.

Apply for roles in China

Submit your application here.

Teaching & Living

What’s the culture and lifestyle in China?

There is no such thing as a brief history when it comes to China as it has existed in one form or another since 2100 BC. Imperial China started with the Qin dynasty which lasted from 221-226 AD. The Qin dynasty is famous for uniting the Han people and the erection of the Great Wall of China. China was later consolidated under a central government with the Han dynasty and to this day, China’s majority ethnic group refers to itself as the “Han people” and the Chinese script is referred to as “Han characters”. Imperial China came to an end after the Qing or Manchu dynasty in 1911. China today as we know it is known as the People’s Republic of China.

Chinese cuisine includes numerous styles originating from the different regions of China. Leading to a wide range of ingredients, techniques, dishes and eating styles in what could be called Chinese food. The eight major culinary styles of China are Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang cuisines.

Job requirements

Am I eligible to apply?

You need to meet the following criteria in order to apply for this position:

  • English as a native language
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • A teaching qualification (e.g. TEFL / TESOL / CELTA)
  • Less than 45 years of age


What do I need to know about my accommodation?

  • Accommodation is provided by the schools.
  • This will be a single studio apartment, and will be located close to the school locations.
  • You will need to put down a small damage deposit on the accommodation.

Visa process

How do I apply for a visa?

Please note that none of the below is in any way official and obviously subject to change – your mileage may vary.

To apply for the Z visa from the UK, your school will need to provide you with the following documentation:

1. An employment permit
2. A visa notification letter

For your school to get this documentation you will need to send over copies of:

  • Passport (should be valid for at least 6 months with blank pages)
  • Education (degree) certificate & academic transcript
  • Criminal record (obtainable from your local police force or faster from Disclosure Scotland)
  • Medical record (GP or hospital should complete, sign and stamp Physical Examination Record for foreigner)

Copies of the above need to be notarised by a Notary Public (search Google to find one near you), and then sent to us for processing.

Once your school has made the application for the employment permit/visa notification letter and sent them back you can then apply for the Z-visa at the Chinese embassy (appointment required) or Chinese Visa Application Center (more expensive but no appointment needed) for which, in addition to the aforementioned documents (plus photocopies), you will need:

  • Completed Chinese visa application form
  • One passport photo affixed to the visa application form

Unfortunately all of this is expensive and time consuming – expect to complete the full process in 6 weeks at a bare minimum. Once you arrive in China you will need to obtain a residence permit, which your school will assist you with.


Key Facts

1.4 billion
Humid continental/subtropical/dry


Teach to Travel