Beijing is the capital of an emerging world superpower, a thriving global city with ancient roots which span back millennia (along with lasting historical architecture to prove it). Making the decision to teach abroad in Beijing can be one of the largest and most important steps you can take in your life. It will introduce you to an incredibly important modern city, a rich culture of both traditional values and new aspirations, a country that boasts one of the longest continuous histories and brightest futures in the world. Think you’re up to the challenge?
Teaching Jobs in Beijing
China is in the midst of a huge development boom and persistently looks to the West as a model of productivity by which to facilitate its own growth. As such Western teachers are highly sought after in Beijing as part of a the country’s continuous effort to globalize. Teaching jobs in Beijing are open to English-speakers in a wide variety of formats across the city, so research as many different options as you can while searching for the perfect program.
As you may have guessed, teaching English is the easiest way to teach abroad in Beijing. Chinese students begin learning English from a very young age, so it is possible to teach abroad in Beijing at virtually any level from preschool to adult learners if you go this route. Public and private schools tend to offer international educators great benefits and don’t often require any prior teaching experience. Private tutoring is another path that many international teachers choose to take, either independently or in supplement to their teaching job.
While positions teaching other subjects such as science and math are more rare in Beijing, it is also possible to expand into these areas by teaching abroad at an international school where English is the medium of education. At most schools you will usually be required to teach between 20-30 hours per week, leaving you plenty of time to explore the city.
Life in Beijing
With well over 20 million people living in the urban area, Beijing is one of the largest and most populous cities in the world. While the crowds (and smog) can be overwhelming at times, the vibrant pulse of the city cannot help but stimulate international educators to the height of their profession on a daily basis. There is a ton to do in Beijing, and teaching abroad here will give you enough time to immerse yourself fully in the city’s flow.
Some of the most popular sites across the city include the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and National Center for the Performing Arts. The Beijing subway is the second most extensive metro system in the world, offering affordable fare to most major destinations around the city. The Great Wall of China is also only a short bus ride away, an experience everyone should take advantage of while they teach abroad in Beijing.
Most teaching jobs in Beijing will not require you to know Mandarin, but learning even the basics of the language will take you a long way during the course of your everyday interactions in the city. A large chunk of the population of Beijing doesn’t speak English, so learning the local language can greatly enhance your experience!
Salary & Costs
China has perhaps the largest market in the world for international educators and so you will generally be compensated quite well if you teach abroad in Beijing. Contracted positions tend to pay between $1,500 to $2,000 per month, a salary which will take you quite a long in Beijing. On top of this you may receive additional benefits from your employer such as airfare, housing, and meals during school hours.
Accommodation & Visas
Often if you have a contract with a local school in Beijing then they will help set you up with housing in a convenient location. If your employer or teach abroad program does not set you up with housing, then your best bet is usually to get started by looking around online. Some of the most popular neighborhoods for expatriates to live in include Guomau, Wudaokou, and Sanlitun street.
China is a closed country and so their visa policy is fairly strict, but you should have no problem obtaining the proper documentation if you teach abroad in Beijing at a legitimate academic institution. Your employer will typically endorse you throughout the visa process, which is actually quite quick and efficient. For more information on where to start you can visit our Chinese Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Build Connections. Beijing is one of the most important global cities in the world, a great place to expand your network as an international educator and/or global professional. You never know what future opportunities may arise while you teach abroad in Beijing!
Mandarin Immersion. While many Chinese citizens speak English, very few native English speakers reciprocate by learning Mandarin. It is the world’s most widely spoken language, and while difficult to learn, can pay off big time to know.
Live History. China’s vast and rich history remains somewhat shrouded in mystery to many Westerners. The modern world’s largest country stems from one of the ancient world’s earliest civilizations; having long been an epicenter of the country, Beijing is the perfect place to learn about it all.