PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

FREE HYBRID 150 TEFL. TEACH IN CHINA: TRAVEL & EARN
Echo Education Header Image Echo Education Header Image

FREE HYBRID 150 TEFL. TEACH IN CHINA: TRAVEL & EARN

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • 8

  • 8

  • 9

  • 10

  • 8

  • 10

“You don’t know what you’ve got tis it’s gone”

“You don’t know what you’ve got tis it’s gone”

I like this saying as it’s how i feel about the year i spent in China between 2016- 2017 teaching English. I have a tinge of regret about the experience, but not about my school, children or TEFL. It’s more that i didn’t cherish every moment i had out there. During my time teaching i sometimes felt flustered and pressured and i wasn’t always the most agreeable person. My decision to go to China was a quick decision largely because of a nasty break-up with a long term boyfriend…. if i’m honest i was running away from Dublin. So when i got to China i was immediately hit by a sense of dread and that i’d made an awful mistake. During the first 2 weeks i was very very close to quitting and returning back home with my metaphorical tail between my legs!
However, i persevered and found inner strength. i somehow unwittingly stumbled on the job and found myself over the other side of the world and not really knowing why i was there. After 2 months i appeared to get my act together. But i was always focused on my exit, just completing the 10 months teaching and returning home to say i did it! … i could hold my head high.

The problem is, retrospectively, the time was a lot more special than i realised. I really didn’t cherish or realise how beautiful the experience was at the time. It hasn’t been until I’ve been back in Dublin for 6 months that everything seems slightly dream like and surreal… but very special. I have no intention of returning to teach abroad. I’m not a particular good traveller, i’m a mummy’s girl at heart!! But my advice to prospective teachers is… really engage with the experience, embrace it and realise this kind of experience is special … take time to look at the detail around you, remember people’s names, smile when they smile, listen to the sounds of the city and the country… let it in

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • 8

  • 8

  • 9

  • 10

  • 8

  • 10

“You don’t know what you’ve got tis it’s gone”

“You don’t know what you’ve got tis it’s gone”

I like this saying as it’s how i feel about the year i spent in China between 2016- 2017 teaching English. I have a tinge of regret about the experience, but not about my school, children or TEFL. It’s more that i didn’t cherish every moment i had out there. During my time teaching i sometimes felt flustered and pressured and i wasn’t always the most agreeable person. My decision to go to China was a quick decision largely because of a nasty break-up with a long term boyfriend…. if i’m honest i was running away from Dublin. So when i got to China i was immediately hit by a sense of dread and that i’d made an awful mistake. During the first 2 weeks i was very very close to quitting and returning back home with my metaphorical tail between my legs!
However, i persevered and found inner strength. i somehow unwittingly stumbled on the job and found myself over the other side of the world and not really knowing why i was there. After 2 months i appeared to get my act together. But i was always focused on my exit, just completing the 10 months teaching and returning home to say i did it! … i could hold my head high.

The problem is, retrospectively, the time was a lot more special than i realised. I really didn’t cherish or realise how beautiful the experience was at the time. It hasn’t been until I’ve been back in Dublin for 6 months that everything seems slightly dream like and surreal… but very special. I have no intention of returning to teach abroad. I’m not a particular good traveller, i’m a mummy’s girl at heart!! But my advice to prospective teachers is… really engage with the experience, embrace it and realise this kind of experience is special … take time to look at the detail around you, remember people’s names, smile when they smile, listen to the sounds of the city and the country… let it in

Overall Rating

2/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    1

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Compensation & Benefits

    2

  • Support Services

    1

  • Day to Day Life

    1

  • Community

    1

Echo is not an Honest Company

I came with Echo in September 2017, and within 2 weeks of me landing one employee(Chinese) had their wages withheld. One of the teachers was falsely impersonated in a reviews online, request for assistance are left on deaf ears. You are treated like a product,to be sold, and over promised about your results. You teach classrooms of 40+ once a week and are blamed for the kids lack of English skills. They take away money from your salary based on KPI which is hardly given from my experience and many other employees. If you do resign based on their 90 days they end up terminating your visa, and giving bad remarks on future visa applications. I would strongly suggest not taking the reimbursement for the paperwork as they won't give it back to you. They blatantly bully teachers due to their lack of knowledge. Honestly would strongly recommend going with EF, Wall Street, or other well known brands at least with them they do take care of you.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Compensation & Benefits

    N/A

  • Support Services

    N/A

  • Day to Day Life

    N/A

  • Community

    N/A

Walking tall

The first thing to say is this ain't no holiday! If you’re looking to bum around in flip flops and waltz into class hungover from the night before then book a flight to Thailand or Cambodia because teaching in China isn’t for you…

I’ve been with Echo 20 months now. Having gone through most of the reviews below i think they are fairly balanced in general. I think one or two teachers want to take a long hard look at themselves though and really put things in perspective. It’s not like those with a gripe to bear are virtuous beyond reproach… it boils down to flexing for more dosh at the end of the day. Certain expectations and mindsets of some foregin ESL teachers are very blinkered… i think it’s the new snowflake generation where they melt away and crumble at the first sign of discomfort and challenge when they are no longer at the centre of the universe

I’ve put in the yards with this job. Tested myself more than at any other point in my life and i’m smashing it. I love this city and i love my school… do i want more money? Of course i do…. but it’s not always about that. I’ll be financially driven when i return to London and join the rat race again. life is incredibly short and beautiful. It’s a cliche but you really do have to seize the day and appreciate this kind of opportunity. I take nothing for granted out here. I treasure every moment teaching, hiking, partying, learning mandarin (& failing!) because i know one day i will be back to the mundane London commute … but it’s these memories which will propel me forward

word!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Compensation & Benefits

    7

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

  • Community

    6

Take a deep breath!

I’m in two-minds what angle to take with this review… Whether to highlight the good aspects or go to town on the more challenging aspects of the programme and job. I’m going to try and be as balanced as possible and not necessarily spin it excessively to either side.

The first part of the TEFL programme is an industry standard online 120 course which is through TEFLexpress, a company ECHO partners with. It doesn’t necessarily take 120 hours in total, it’s really a guideline. Informative as it is (and challenging in places) you’ll never exposed to “real” teaching. The second part of the TEFL involves a mock classroom and conference room environment (with up to 15 other teachers)... some teacher to teacher teaching and some peer to peer instruction. Overall it’s good but I wasn’t exposed to onsite school locations until I moved to my designation school for observation lessons. I believe they are changing the programme in the future which will involve onsite lessons as well. Again, as the TEFL is gratis it’s still very strong despite the “rushed” feeling towards the end. I might add that I did extensive research in my own time. Watching PPP lessons on YouTube and carefully browsing the teachers resource centre before I arrived. I’n unsure whether other teachers took as much extra time as I did. I would say 50% of teachers in training already had teaching experience in some form or another. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions and learn from their lead.

Honestly, I didn’t particularly enjoy my first week on arrival. It was more my mindset ... I think I put too much pressure on myself and just couldn’t relax. The life orientation was good... I felt a little immature and lost at times asking “stupid questions” ... but the truth is., you have no choice., if you don’t know how things operate. All the information supplied beforehand was good . I felt I had a clear picture of what was going to happen. Nevertheless there’s always a bite to reality when it “actually” happens. I regret not relaxing and absorbing those first few days in China. I think I had a reflex action of stress and panic which was needless. Most the other guys around me seemed ok but this was my first time out of Europe, shall we say: things were a little enlightening!

I was also under the impression that the first time I met the pre-existing teachers at my placement school they were a bit stand offish. Handshakes seemed insincere and several off them constantly moaned about everything from office supplies to quality of toilet paper! After a couple of days I thought it best to really focus my mind on the positives and to remove myself from negative conversations. I think negativity is like a disease, it can spread from one person to another,

I’m happy to say things are going well now. I’m adapting to my teaching schedule well. I keep the positive people around me close and the negative people at arms length. I haven’t seen much of the city or any other cities in China for that fact as I’ve been etching away at teaching. I’m looking forward to the rest of this journey and I’m staying positive

Leon

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    10

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

Bonnie (Taizhou)

What a great year. I got exactly what i wanted from this experience. The plan was always one year and I’m falling a little short as i have to return to Ireland next month due to a family situation. Nevertheless i think I’m going to return home a changed person… for the better. I don’t know if my travelling days are over. I can see myself living abroad again for another year somewhere.

As for China. I think it’s a case of adapting and soaking in the experience. I find it easy to make friends here and politeness is respected and rewarded. I’ve missed my friends and family back home but the past 8 months have gone incredibly quick. My heart is kind of heavy and i have been tempted to stay for another year because the truth is you do become close to the children… in fact it’s probably dissuaded me from becoming a teacher back home long term as i don’t think i could deal with he constant worrying about the pupil's welfare. I have a new found respect for teachers… we can have a real and genuine effect of students .

I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I’ve had support when i needed it and i believe i’ve acquired more worldly knowledge in these past few months than in my previous 22 years on this planet.

Next time you feel like bad mouthing teachers or mocking someone who decides to take this as a career… have a little consideration. These are important roles for our societies

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Compensation & Benefits

    7

  • Support Services

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

  • Community

    8

Reasonable programme and placement

Tefl Course Content/ training = 8/10

Online 120 is comprehensive. The arrival TEFL is a combination of life orientation and classroom management. These lessons are mock lessons and often involve adults rather than children. Further observation lessons undertaken at school before full schedule commenced. But the whole thing is FREE which makes it very very attractive

Resources= 7/10

Plenty of material available online and through various log-in systems. These are quite standard but are a good base to develop your own lesson plans from.

Visa Application= 6/10

China appears to be more beaurcpatic and slow than other countries. Everything appears very legitimate and serious with details. There’s no skipping over requirements. Was guided well but the whole process took almost 7 weeks. Once you receive residence permit in your passport you won’t have to deal with any of the red tape anymore.

Professionalism/ Transparency= 9/10

Received accurate details of my school, accommodation and local amenities nearly one month before a flew out. I gave certain stipulations and broad guidelines as to what i’d accept in terms on location and children’s ages. All these were met and i’m very happy.

Community and Lifestyle 7/10

Cost of living is a little more than anticipated but this is representative of living in central downtown area. Nice local international community. Plenty of activities to do weekends. Pollution isn’t bad here and local scenery is splendid

Pay and bonuses / working hours = 7/10

Work bonuses are nearly non-existent but you do get paid overtime. Travel bonuses are replacements for salary in school holidays. Base salary is reasonable for entry level as accommodation is free. Low tax rate. Comfortable living. Plenty of scope for private tuition work and easy to find . Teaching hours are quite low… schedule between 12-16 hours per week. Office hours flexible

Overall this is a good solid programme that gets you into genuine hands-on teaching with real results

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Compensation & Benefits

    8

  • Support Services

    6

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Community

    10

Take the ride and buckle up

i’m in a good mood today as the weather is gorgeous here in Hangzhou…. i think the weather is a fair reflection of life in China. When the weather is good, it’s exceptionally good…. blissful, perfection even. But when the weather is bad, it's pretty grim! i think after 2 years in China… this is what China feels like for me…. a rollercoaster with incredible highs and then days with dips and twists. I think it’s unfair to sugar-coat the entire experience but what i will say is overall these highs outstrip the dips and turns… it’s what i signed up for and no life-changing experience is ever plain-sailing.

What i did want from my school and agency was reassurance and transparency. A small problem can delveop into a big problem if your school isn’t competent. There’s also safety in numbers with Echo, due to the volume of teachers they hire… it means they need to have good systems in place. So, yeah… Echo got me my work permit without any undue stress. They filled in the blanks when i was clueless and for the first month i felt very well-looked after. What i will say is though… once you “get settled” day to day contact with Echo kinda wains… I’m not saying this is a bad thing.. but it’s more a case of me having to reach out to them rather than visa- versa. After one month most day to day enquires and formalities are between me and head of department at school. If there are any visa issues or housing issues i still deal with Echo but these are few and far between.

So here’s the thing… Echo are legit… they do what they say and you get good comprehensive orientation… but its not like you're a close family-member with them or anything like that!. They’re kind of like fair-weather friends … like everything in China. Having said that… i still recommend this company and programme and have never experienced anything but professionalism and upfrontness with them.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    9

  • Support Services

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    7

  • Community

    7

Don't fly to shanghai!

Finally after several years of delaying doing this i finally found the strength to grit my teeth and jump onboard. After a little wobble at the beginning i’m pleased to say I’m now doing great.

So from around 2013 after graduating i had designs on doing something like this. I looked at Thailand, Korea and Columbia. It was always really pie in the sky and i knew deep down it wasn’t going to happen. Last year an old friend started posting Facebook updates from teaching abroad. I thought to myself… “ok Joy, you’ve had enough time wasting your twenties away. You’ve got a very average job which makes you unhappy, a clapped-out car which will soon be off the road and an ex-boyfriend who’s not returning your calls…. let’s just do this!”

I did some research and spoke to several agencies. I was very keen on public schools as i didn’t want to work weekends (unfortunately my strict Catholic upbringing still haunts me!). Echo were really good at sending plentiful information. They put me in contact with a couple of teachers also which more or less sealed the deal. Honestly, no matter what school or agency i came across there was always a mixture of pros and cons involved. The fact Echo has their own TEFL (free) and sorts all the visa problems for you gave them the edge in my opinion.

So after a thumb-twiddling 2 months i was finally on the plane to Shanghai. Now here lies my first problem… the office did advise me to fly to Hangzhou as its easier for pick up collection. I was told if i landed in Shanghai i would have to get the train to Hangzhou myself and they would meet me at the train station. The instructed me how to get the subway and train and we arranged a time to meet at Hangzhou East railway station. So far so good…. apart from one thing… my connected flight got delayed in japan for 3 hours and i had no way of letting anyone know. Furthermore i didn’t arrive in Shanghai until 11.30pm… this meant the subway was closed and the trains had finished running to Hangzhou…. AHHHHHHHH! So my first few hours were a bit of a panic. Not only that but i managed to get on the airport wifi and book a hotel room via Bookings.com . I asked someone at the information desk to help me and a guy approached me in a shirt and tie and said he was a driver. He offered to take me to the hotel for 200RMB which i accepted. It wasn’t until retrospectively i realised the guy was ripping me off and it was a bit of a con! Anyway.. it got a little worse as when i arrived at the hotel the receptionist looked very confused and started saying they couldn’t accept foreigners. I have no idea why they were even on bookings.com! Sooooo after further panicking they let me use the wifi in the lobby to book another nearby hotel and order me a taxi. By this time it was gone 2am and i was exhausted… thinking my life in China was going to be a disaster. I was accepted into the new hotel and slept right through to 11am. I then got the receptionist to phone the number echo gave me… i explained everything. They arranged a new train ticket for me and a time to collect me from the train station in Hangzhou. From that point everything seemed to go smoothly. It’s fair to say that it was my decision to fly to Shanghai against the advice of Echo and i suffered bad luck i think.

The good news is… since arriving in Hangzhou everything has been great. I had one other small tentative moment on my first day at school when i got a bit panicky and felt overwhelmed during my first lesson… one of the other teachers had to step in as i went outside to gather myself. Thereafter i become much more focused and determined and it’s paying off for me now….

The city is great and now i’ve conquered my classroom fears and anxieties I’m focusing on my travel plans for the summer. I’m finally one of these people who are doing rather than just watching and thinking … “i wish”..

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Support Services

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Host School or Placement

    8

Meet lifelong friends

I love my life here.Most of this is to do with the friends i’ve made and the routine i’ve set for myself. Everyday i feel that i improve myself. Not only as a teacher but as a damn human being! I’m much more confident and extrovert than i used to be. I feel no situation is too big to handle and i shy away from nothing now.
I guess there are a multitude of options for employers and schools in China. Perhaps the end result is always more luck rather than design but what i can say is that Echo have constantly hit home runs with me. I give them two thumbs up… but if i had 3 thumbs i’d give ’em 3!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Compensation & Benefits

    10

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

A blessing in disguise

My name is Jason Henry and Echo English has been a blessing in disguise.

Flash back to October 2016, the senior year of college, my life was a mess. All of my friends had offers to Fortune 500 companies or comfortable government jobs while I was stuck with a dead business I invested two years of my life growing but would go nowhere because of unforeseen government regulations passed in September 2016. I was confused and my parents were furious.

Like any emotionally unstable young adult, I thought to myself “I’m going to sign up for the Peace Corps.”

My parents pleaded with me, "Do NOT go to a third world country! You are NOT in the right state of mind!" They insisted I should take a construction job with my father or a desk job with a small company. “No!” I yelled. I was tired of life and needed something different.

On October 15, 2016, I marched into the career fair with the intention of locking myself into two years of service with the Peace Corps, but they never showed up. Instead, I found a friendly Chinese man named Jim who when I made eye contact with, opened his mouth to say “Interested in teaching English in China?”

That’s how it all began.

The date is March 19, 2018. I will be signing a second year with ECHO English. In this past year I discovered how beautiful life really is. I want to give you three reasons why life is beautiful.

The first, teachers are able to guide children to not make the same mistakes they made as children. Before this point in my life, my mistakes have been a waste of time but now my mistakes serve a tremendous purpose of saving valuable time for future generations.

The second, we humbly open ourselves to accepting advice since we don’t want to be seen as hypocrites who only give it. An Army Sergeant once told me, “you will probably only use 2/3’s of the advice people will give you, but 0/3’s of the advice people will give you if you don’t listen.” Before teaching, I didn’t listen to the advice people gave me (my poor parents). I was a fool! Fortunately, being a teacher I have now learned to listen and think about other people’s advice.

Thirdly, “the art of teaching is patience” - Principal Connie. Everyone grows at different paces and it's unnecessary to yell at someone when they don't grow at the rate you want. As you begin to learn patience you have less and less anger in your life. Maybe this is why the Chinese live such peaceful lives, because they are patient!

I highly recommend Echo to anyone willing to see tremendous growth in a quick amount of the time. Echo provides you with an excellent job, they assign you a personal manager, and they help you grow by providing you with learning content and assessing your class twice a year. Teaching in China is like a master’s degree you are being paid for! But like all things in life, you have to be willing to work hard if you want to get the most out of it. Teaching in China is not a free ride and if you treat it that way you will waste a wonderful opportunity.

If you have any questions you can add me on wechat.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Compensation & Benefits

    8

  • Support Services

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

Mutual relationship

So here's the deal with Echo education. Firstly don't be fooled by the thought that "they are doing you a favour"... by hiring you and arranging your visa. It's a money making business and they basically rent you to Chinese public schools. Soooo is that as bad as it sound?
Actually it isn't ... once you sift through all the red tape it actually isn't that worse a deal.
Here's the thing... it's China! You can't do things by yourself. People coming in for the first time need this umbrella. This kind of company not only trains you but locks you into a genuine work visa and fast tracks things for you. I have no intent on staying with Echo beyond my second year now but I have zero regrets in using them to bed-in China. Overall I feel I've used them just as much as "they've used me". This is the bottom line when all things said and done.. If you're a new teacher you can do a lot worse then using this programme ... my advice is let them use you, you use them... then jump ship in your second or third year if you're serious about money and staying long term. Treat them with respect and keep your head down and you'll breeze through everything.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Support Services

    8

  • Compensation & Benefits

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Host School or Placement

    9

Amy in the orient

I’m very happy with this program. Overall i’d give this the thumbs up for security and peace of mind. I had a lot of offers from different schools and agencies which i felt was all rather overwhelming. I was surprised about how in demand graduates for teaching English in China are. The truth is i found it very confusing at first and there’s no sure-fire or concrete way of knowing who you’re dealing with or talking to is legitimate. I think there was a leap of faith involved accepting Echo’s offer. They gave me a huge amount of information which settled my nerves and clearly explained the information process.

So i’ve been in China 5 months now and things are going well. It’s gone quickly to be honest. I still wake up every morning and think to myself “jeez i’m in China, damn!” Everything’s cool though. The teaching is fairly full on at first because you kinda need to adapt quickly so i was grateful for the Tefl and orientation which i thought was solid. You're in the hands of HR when you arrive.. you just have to comply with everything they ask for and it gets done quite quickly. One note of discomfort is the Chinese government keeps your passport for 3 weeks when you arrive… when waiting for your residence permit. It’s standard practise, but i think it’s fair to say it’s a little uneasy when you don’t have your passport in your possession. Nevertheless that came back after 3 weeks with my residence permit.

My classroom management has vastly improved since January. I’m now at a point where i genuinely have a kick in my step when i walk into lessons and look forward to teaching. My salary has always been paid on time and everything Echo said i would receive i have received. I’m earning enough to save but originally i thought i could save $800 per month. I’m a little short of that target because i bought E- bike to help me get to and from school. Obviously i can always sell this and recoup the cost when i leave. E-bike is basically an electronic motorbike (never seen such a thing before coming here)

I live in quite an international area as i’m not far from the university. The social life is good but i miss live music! The local scenery is stunning and the pictures i’ve sent back home have made my sister and brother-in-law book flights to come out here and visit.

I’m happy to show any new teachers around the city. We’re trying to arrange a weekend hiking club so the more people the better

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Compensation & Benefits

    N/A

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    N/A

  • Community

    N/A

Blessed for this chance

The TEFL course has been very informative and I’m looking forward to arriving in Hangzhou. Yoyo has been a good help in advising me about the document process.
I’m grateful to Echo for this chance. I spent 3 years in America. But this will be my first time in Asia. I’m from Brazil and i hope other non-native teachers can get the same chance i have

Jose

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Compensation & Benefits

    7

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

Short and sweet....

I’m not one for taking time out my day to place reviews on the internet. The only other time I’ve done it before has been to vent about services…. so i’ll keep this short and sweet!

Echo good points: Free Tefl, good life support with things like bank account and phone, translation. Easy and clear visa process, money back for notarising documents, Daniel from Academic Department (absolute hero), paid on time (after one month) and they have “influence” with the authorities so seem to get people out of any potentially sticky situations . Reasonable salary, full health insurance, short classes

Echo bad points: limited classroom training before teaching, large classes (sometimes 40), sometimes schools not centralised, other moaning teachers!

Put simply… Pro’s considerably outweigh the cons

Done!
Jake x

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    8

  • Support Services

    6

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

So far so good

Hats off to this programme and Echo. I saved myself a small fortune doing the Tefl through them. If your desired destination is China then it’s the quickest and cheapest way. It is free, although they do ask for an insurance policy of £99. I guess they keep this money if you don’t choose to work for them in China but i received the money back once i arrived and completed the classroom training. Also the programme is only open to those with a degree, unfortunately this made two of my friends ineligible.

I decided to stay with Echo for their work placement and so far it’s worked really well. They pre-arranged the placement with me before i completed the online part of the TEFL and helped me arranged all the documents. They use an agency in Manchester called chinavisaservices and (surprisingly) cost an eye-watering £300 to process my degree and criminal record check which you have to do now to get your work permit. Again, hats off, as i received this money back from Echo within one month of arriving. All together i paid for my flight, z visa and criminal check… around £500 in total. I’ve been told i receive the flight money back in June which should cover everything. So overall there’s an outlay cost but it seems you get reimbursed for nearly everything somewhere down the line. They do seem to be a bit fussy about receipts and signing stuff constantly but i presume this is all office stuff.

China is a lot more modern than i thought and some aspects put the UK to shame. I haven’t done much traveling so far as I’m concentrating on my job first and exploring the local city. The bars appear to be more expensive than back home but food is a lot cheaper.

The school i’m working at is great. I’m the only foreign teacher there but my classes have a classroom assistant (Maggie)… so she’s kind of become my sidekick. The children are pretty well-behaved (as well as 5 year olds can be). Girls are definitely more controllable than boys!

WeChat has taken over my life. It’s an app like WhatsApp but you do EVERYTHING through it. At first i was uncomfortable using it so much as it felt it invasive… but i’m a convert now as it aids you with everything from maps to translation.

Haven’t had any serious problems dealing with Echo and the programme they do is comprehensive. I still feel i’ve a way to go yet as a teacher but it’s early doors and so far so good. I’ve also got no qualms about my salary

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    10

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Community

    10

Older & wiser

I spent seven years in Hangzhou, China between 2008- 2015 and 3 1/2 of them were with Echo. In fact,- I was there at the very beginning of Echo when CEO Shirley Jin was starting the business. I saw the business grow from one small training centre to becoming a major teacher dispatch centre

Firstly I think Echo do a poor job of defending themselves against unsubstantiated smears. I never saw eye to eye with senior management about all issues but what I can say is you don't manage hundreds of teachers without a few hiccups and learning curves. Compared to other companies I dealt with in China, Echo were above and beyond the best (but by no means perfect). I can only assess my time in China retrospectively and, at the time, I didn't always appreciate the full picture.

First thing to say is this old chestnut of "my school pays 25,000rmb per month to Echo and I only get 10,000rmb... blah blah blah" BULLS@@T!
This has been a rumour for years and was spread around by a handful of vexed teachers. Let me clarify in easy English IT'S NOT TRUE! It's nowhere near true... and how do I know? ... I was privy to working not only as a teacher but also in administration for the company. I can tell you that on average if ECHO pays a teacher more than 13,000rmb per month THEY MAKE 0% profit ... A BIG FAT ZERO!
(this is withstanding whether budgets have increased since i left in 2015)

These are government schools with limited budget. They have no way of hiring teachers... they don't know where to start (and most of the HR in government schools can't even speak English)
So companies like ECHO have formed as a result ... and good on them! . The bottom line is without ECHO there would very likely be no English teacher in some of these public schools. Even if you work with another teacher at a school who isn't employed by Echo and their salary is higher IT DOSEN'T mean the salary budget for you is the same. WHY? Because schools try to offload surplus budget to companies like Echo otherwise they won't get the same funding the following year. Put simply, if government schools DON'T SPEND IT THEY LOSE IT. Therefore additional teachers are often shoehorned into positions to try to maximise spending. And kudos to Echo for facilitating this.

I watched Echo come a long way and I wasn't always confident they would make it. Seeing now that they pay for teachers TEFL training and knowing the scope of their orientation programme... I'm one of their plaudits not a critic. Now I'm out of the industry I can kind of look back and separate the good guys from the bad guys.
Yes I'm still familiar with a few of the staff back at Echo but I don't have a good reason to needlessly go out my way to defend them unless I think what they're doing is above board.

In the past I saw teachers act completely unreasonable towards Chinese staff. Not only unreasonable but offensive. Some of these frustrations boil down to failing to adapt to a new environment and culture. My advice is communicate with respect and decorum and you'll receive the best assistance possible.

Do I miss my time in China? Sometimes. I think 7 years was perhaps 2 years too long. I know I'm not the person I am today without having undertaken that journey. I'm writing this at 2am in England while my pregnant wife is sleeping next to me... wondering what the next 7 years have waiting for me.

Godspeed

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    4

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Compensation & Benefits

    5

  • Support Services

    5

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Community

    10

You are a product, not a person

My experience of Echo has been mixed, my living agent has personally been very accommodating and helpful, even helping me during their days off and late in the evenings when I've had a pressing issue that needed immediate attention. My recruiter was a delight to deal with and cut me a fair deal on my contract, she was also very helpful in advising me on how to get my documents processed to apply for the visa. Though I expect nothing less than good treatment considering that Echo do take a sizeable chunk out of the wages they receive from my school.

However my experience is not a shared one as I have witnessed how other teaching staff have been ignored, bullied and threatened by employees at Echo, and in some instances have heard of different ploys to cut and take wages from staff.

The job itself is endearing and fairly easy, I love my students and teachers and for the most part, with the guidance of the head of English (non-Echo employee) feel accomplished and have improved my teaching practice. There are issues within the school, which brings me to my personal issue with Echo.

In Echo's eyes we are a product to be rented out to schools who can afford the 20-25k payment per month, leading to these schools having very high expectation of teachers who only see 1/3 of that money if their lucky. If teachers don't bend over backwards, work unpaid overtime or make too much noise about how unhappy they are with the job they didn't sign up for or get paid for, Echo swoops in to accommodate that school, regardless of what your contract states.

The city itself is marvellous and both the expat community and the local people are very lovely and supportive. I have made life long friends here and I'm very happy for the most part. My school has gotten much better but not because of Echo.

Advice before you choose to sign up with Echo:
Have a set of expectations that you want written in the contract.

Double check the salary payment section of the contract and make sure they explain clearly how and when you will be paid. Keep and bring copies of this and challenge them constantly over any attempts to change this.

Bring as much money as you can, you won't be paid for up to 7 weeks after arrival and they will also give you a loan for the first 3 months of rent (this will dramatically effect your pay for the first 3 pay checks and the more you can put upfront the better off you will be)

Work to the letter of your contract and no more, Echo can not make you do anymore or they will be in breach of the agreement. Echo do not have enough foreign teachers to afford to loose you over the unrealistic expectations of some schools.

Advice for Echo, lurking in the review section:
Pay your teaching staff more, people are more willing to work better and do more for their company if they're earning a decent wage. Stop cutting wages over trivial things.

Respect and support your teaching staff, they're the bread winners of the company and if they have an issue with their school or living situation it is your job to compromise not demand.

Get another living agent, it's ridiculous that the company only has two, and audit how they treat your teaching staff. There are major differences in how 1 member of staff is treated from anouther, it should be consistent.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    10

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    7

  • Community

    9

新年快乐 Happy new year of the dog.... from Hangzhou!

China is ridiculous and brilliant at the same time. I’m not sure if it quite lives up to the stereotype of a mysterious nation of philosophers and kung fu masters as we think back home. Nonetheless is has its charms alongside its mind-boggingly cultural nuances! The food is great but the price of cheese is painful!

Everyday is a challenge but i wouldn’t have it any other way!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    9

  • Support Services

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    9

Spreading wings!

I’ve been working for Echo Education since March 2016 in Ningbo Cixi district. I actually didn’t do the TEFL through Echo as i already had a TEFL qualification i did back in America in 2014. However i can give a review about their work placement.

Originally my ambition was to work in Shanghai as i had a friend working in that city back in 2016. After researching a great deal about the cost of living in Shanghai, i decided it was going to be too expensive. The job opportunities also seemed more limited and i didn’t want such a sanitised experience of China which i think you sometimes get with Shanghai. One of my main motivations for moving to China was to learn Chinese and i feel avoiding Shanghai has helped me do that. This is no slight on Shanghai but, personally, I feel if you’re going to do something... try for most authentic experience possible.

The positives about Echo are their relocation assistance. All the information i could find online about documentation, healthcare and work permits was very very vague. I went onto several Facebook groups and people would tell me different things, everyone of them proclaimed to be an expert. It wasn’t until i spoke to Echo and got some concrete instruction and clear information about the entire process. I also think it’s important for teachers to have good orientation and support when they arrive. Being met at the airport, settled into a hotel and driven around the city gave me great confidence and reassurance. I’m not sure whether i would have received that with another school. Honestly, at the moment, i tend not to use the support staff so much as i don’t need them. In my first year they were there for me every day. After some time you learn to do things for yourself and become very resourceful. I’m very proud like that! The negatives about working for Echo are probably the same as any other Chinese company, sometimes relying too much on bureaucracy which seems pointless and a waste of time. Again, you kind of accept this after a while, it’s all part and parcel of life in China

Salaries at public schools are usually lower than training centres but the working hours are much better. Training centres are anti-social work hours and they are very sterile environments whereby education is second to profit. What i like about teaching in a public school is that you’re first and foremost a teacher and the education of children is the most important thing. My weekends are free and i’m usually out of school by 4.30pm weekdays.

In terms of pay, my salary with Echo increased considerably in my second year. The holidays at public schools are generous, all of February, July and August off. I don’t receive full salary for these months but it works out about 4000RMB per month and i can use the free accommodation. The first summer i went travelling but last summer i taught summer camp to bulk up my earnings. Overall the renumeration package is decent. I’ve never struggled financially here but i think I’m lucky as my accommodation was all set up up here in Ningbo with free wifi and i don’t have to pay electricity. I also get 3 meals per day for free from the school canteen so i save a huge amount of money by not wasting it on food. My first year salary was 10,000rmb per month but now i’m earning 13,000RMB which is more than $2000 base salary. I do a little private tuition online and i still have a small Amazon business based back in the US so most months i easily clear $3000 without having to pay for accommodation and bills etc. I think it’s fair to say that’s more than i was earning in my previous job back in California. Money can be a contentious issue for some ESL teachers but some of the talk about salaries and teachers being hoodwinked is all baloney. I understand how things work here now and as long as you’re conscientious and serious about your job things kinda fall naturally into place. Most Echo teachers work at public schools who have small budgets.. if you want 25,000RMB or 30,000RMB then i suggest you invest in your qualifications and seek a position at an international School. I, for one, don’t want to teach spoilt reach kids and i feel i’m doing something more valid and useful teaching at a regular government school. I get to see the real China

I’ve just returned from a 2 week holiday in New Zealand. It was absolutely incredible and something i’ve wanted to do for a long time. Since i arrived in China i’ve also taken holidays to Cambodia, Thailand, Macau, Maldives and South Korea. My friends back home are incredibly jealous and i feel i’m finally making my parents proud, but more importantly, making myself proud.

I can be contacted at Sarahgarrison87@aol.com if you’d like any more information.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    10

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

Tanya Woakes in Suzhou

I'm 100% happy to review for this programme for Echo Education. Deciding to come and teach in China was an easy decision for me but not so much for my parents who tried every trick in the book to stop me! I therefore needed to be very thorough and careful when choosing a programme and organisation to work through. Echo provided me with more due diligence than any other school I spoke to and one of the staff even had a 40 minute conversation with my father to put his mind at ease (not sure that it did, but he did decrease his nagging)
All the documents were processed quickly and it was clearly explained to me what I was required to do.
My orientation week was brilliant as I got to meet 2 teachers from Australia and we instantly hit it off. I was a little confused at first because I thought my training would be done in the school but it's actually at head office in the conference centre there. Daniel sprung an unexpected grammar test on me when I first arrived (so be warned newbie teachers!) ... it's pretty simple though and not too taxing.
Things like phone, bank account and medical were arranged within 48 hours of me getting off the plane.
My school is situated in Suzhou so after I finished training I was taken by train from Hangzhou. I had another 4 nights in a hotel until my accommodation was ready. Only hiccup was I was without wifi for the first 2 days as the previous internet contract had expired in the apartment. Other than that everything was perfect. I then had 3 days of only observing lessons at the school until eventually I commenced my first classes with a classroom assistant. The size of classes can be intimating at first but believe me you get use to it and now I prefer teaching larger classes and they are more fun and energetic (I may change my mind after doing it a year I suppose!)
Ian from Echo observed 3 of my lessons on the second week and I received a glowing report which made me very proud.

All this was nearly 6 months ago now and I'm truly happy doing this job. I hope to continue for another 2 years after which I'll probably return to Portland. I still have aspirations to work in the pharmaceutical industry but for now... I'm happier than I've ever been

i've noticed a couple of questionable reviews on here which i don't think are true. The talk of money and ripping teachers off is simple not true so anyone can contact me directly as I'm happy to talk to anyone considering this programme

I can be contacted Tanyawoakes@outlook.com

(I recommend Suzhou city btw... really beautiful city with heaps of history)

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    7

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Compensation & Benefits

    4

  • Support Services

    2

  • Day to Day Life

    7

  • Community

    7

Dispatch Teacher

I am very disappointed in this company. While the recruiting team was excellent and did an amazing job, once I got to China everything was awful. We were told to bring 4000 kuai to get started even though echo new that we'd need more money. They then force you to take a loan from them between 10-15 k to get an apartment. You repay the loan over 3-5 months but your first paycheck doesn't come in until you've been working for 7 weeks. So I've been here for 6 months and I've only just received a full paycheck. They charge schools ridiculous prices to dispatch teachers but pay the teachers a pittance. My school pays a little over 25k a month for me but I only see 9000 kuai. They take more than half of my paycheck and then can't provide me with any care. When I've had real crises my living coordinator has ignored me for days even though her only job is to see to foriegn teachers welfare. I was put in an awful apartment that was really expensive and told it was the best they could do. My heating didn't work and they couldn't do anything to get it fixed they claimed. I had mold in my walls and they told me I had to live there. When I found my own apartment because they refused to help me they tried to punish me by refusing to send aid so I could transalate and understand my contract. They constantly lie and misinform their employees of their rights and it makes for a really stressful work environment.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Compensation & Benefits

    8

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Community

    9

Working with Echo by Tom Atkins

I’ve been working with Echo since October 6th 2017. I haven’t been here long so can't profess to be an expert about everything or fully understand Chinese culture nor the whole business of teaching in China. All i can be is honest and tell you about my experience so far working through Echo Education and undertaking the TEFL programme.

Firstly i vaguely agree with a few comments Ben from Linping has written regarding location of schools. I don’t think this was necessarily Echo’s fault as they did send me the location beforehand and a synopsis of the area but i didn’t pay great attention to it. I was therefore quite surprised when i found out the area of Yuhang (where i’m current working) is a good 35 to 40 minutes by subway from downtown Hangzhou. At first i felt very uncomfortable most other expats you see are in the centre of the city. Honestly, i’m perfectly happy with the situation now and i feel i’ve adapted well.

Secondly, and most importantly, i take great umbrage with the reviewer who has said a lot of things (and gave 1/10 score) that i sincerely don’t believe to be true. Especially talking about Teresa (Service Officer). Teresa showed me this bad review and this is the reason why i’m submitting mine. I haven’t dealt with Eva much but what i can say is that Teresa has been an absolute stalwart in helping me acclimatise to life in China. She’s been there whenever i’ve needed anyone… from helping me install APPs on my phone, arranging train tickets, talking to doctors for me. She’s become a great friend and i’ve genuinely not met a kinder person in my life… i know several other teachers from Echo also agree. I’ve never been disrespected or threatened or heard anything of that sort happening. As i understand it there is a teacher from France who was trying to organise a strike of teachers and increase wages. I’m well aware Echo make profit by placing teachers but that’s business and there are plenty of employment agencies in the UK who do the same… personally i don’t have a problem with it. If i was completely money focused i would have stayed in Britain and continued my career in IT. Considering there are more than 200 Echo employees i presume the strike didn’t exactly go well and the threats have been reduced to her placing spiteful and unhelpful reviews on websites. I just feel it’s entirely inappropriate. Every teacher i speak to working through Echo is fairly happy. We all have gripes with employers but most of us just get on with our job. For example, when i first started teaching i was only teaching 8 hours per week… which is very very low and i was being paid a full salary. After 3 weeks they added 2 hours of Drama classes to my schedule. Now of course i was a little miffed but overall i think it’s fair and it’s in my contract (and i’m still teaching less hours than other teachers)

One of the best things about working through Echo was the Free TEFL programme, After the TEFL we also had an orientation week in Hangzhou. I’m well aware this was unpaid. Why would i be paid to do my TEFL and orientation…. most TEFLs cost hundreds of pounds to do so of course i fully except this this part of my training was unpaid…. but i get it if you’ve already an experienced teacher not being paid for your week’s training with Echo may be frustrating. They were also upfront with me about profiteering on teachers’ salaries. I understand the entire yearly budget per teacher is received from Echo in August as the public schools risk losing their government funding if they don’t spend it. Therefore it’s not a case of us being farmed-out to schools and Echo chipping away at a monthly salary. Maybe i’m wrong about this but it makes sense and other industries operate this way. Someone told me they look to profit around 15% in a teacher’s first year, 10% second year and 5% third year. Again… this isn’t the gospel truth and it’s not really my business as i’m happy with my pay grade and i live comfortably. Having the security of a valid work permit, medical care and service officers is very important to me

I should also mention Daniel and Ian who do a great job training and are always there to offer advise and support.

Teresa i hope this goes someway to helping you. Sincerely a big thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Don’t let one or two needless and negative comments get you down, you do a great job

For anyone who wants to add me on wheat my ID is Tom_AK12

You’re welcome to chat with me and look at my WeChat moments to verify everything

So guys go for it… there are no 100% guarantees but you’ll never know until you try. See you in China

Tom email tom.atkins88@yahoo.com

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Community

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

  • Support Services

    2

  • Compensation & Benefits

    4

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Host School or Placement

    10

Working for Echo

I first want to start by saying the school that i work for is great. i love my colleagues, i love my students, i love the facilities. i am 1 of 2 foreign teachers at my school which for me is not the worst thing in the world but some of you may not like that.
however, working for echo education has been somewhat troublesome. when i was first recruited, everything went smoothly. They helped me through the application process and getting into Hangzhou. from then on, things started to go downhill.
firstly, when we arrived, we were put up in a hotel for 3 days so they could keep all the employees together to do orientation,health checks etc. this may sound like good thing until we were told later that these 3 days would come out of our paycheck.
secondly, i was under the impression that i would be based in Hangzhou but it wasnt until i arrived, i found out that i was actually going to be based in Linping, which is about an hour and a bit out of the city by metro. there is not too much to do in Linping so travelling into the city is the main source of entertainment; however, if you miss the last metro, its 150rmb in a taxi home.
next, my contract states that i am required to work up to a certain amount of hours at my school. so providing i am within those hours my pay should remain the same. 3 months into my contract, echo told me that i have to work at a second school. when i asked why, i was told that it because i am not working enough hours. they also told me that i would not be getting paid any more even though i would be required to spend more time and money to travel to the second school as it was not in the same area that im living. Echo then backed me into a corner by threatening to fire me if i did not accept as they would deem it as breach of contract.
i feel that working for echo is like working for a pimp. i found out that i am being paid less than a quarter of what echo are charging the 2 schools that i currently work for. my advice would be to try and find your own work as you would be able to get way more money.
this is not a personal attack towards echo education. some of staff members there are great; they help you when you need it and are genuinely nice people that i could be friends with. however, some of them really could do with finding another job as they have no clue what theyre doing and only seem to want to help you when they need something from you.

Overall Rating

1/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    5

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Compensation & Benefits

    1

  • Support Services

    1

  • Day to Day Life

    1

  • Community

    2

One of the worse companies you’ll ever work for in China

To begin with, I question the validity of some of the reviews written below. As they are all from around the same time, but also written in mediocre English. Nonetheless, if this website is legit, they should reconsider advertising for such a scamming business. They’re are over 3000 scammers in China who specialize in foreign teachers; both agencies and recruiters. Echo is one of them.

To begin with the first contract that is given to you, isn’t the only one you will officially sign. But you only find out about the second contract when you are already in China having purchased both your flight and visa. Often times, teachers are placed far from the city and there are no other foreigners. Life without contacts becomes difficult and teacher experience depression. Often times, schools pay Echo more than twice your salary but Echo only gives you half of that. If you’re lucky. If you try and leave, they’ll start blackmailing you. Like human traffickers, they’ll make you pay more than $1500 to end your contact. They do not respect their own contract and often bully foreigners, by intimidation, insults, and are blackmail. Eva is one of the worse, but Teresa isn’t any better as she is the expert bully. They keep some of your documents such as your degrees to keep you from leaving. I wouldn’t wish Echo on my worse enemy.