My name is Ksenia and I’m from Kiev, Ukraine. I was a sales manager in high school. I wanted to change something and improve my English and teaching skills. Coming to China was one the best decisions in my life and it has changed it completely in better way. I enjoy working with kids, my salary is much much higher than I would have back in Ukraine. I started from 6000 salary and now I’m earning more plus I have part-time job as well which helps me not only get more money but also it make friends and connections.
Hi dear, my name is Amine, I’m from Morocco, I’m working in China, Yinchuan city, before I used to work in Ukraine for five years, then I was lucky to meet Nikki online, then he introduced me to China, before I had no idea about this country or how it will be my working life, but with Nikki I really enjoyed it and showed me different things and made my life easy here, especially my job, now I’m working in kindergarten where I really enjoy and it’s very fun. So dear teachers, you will not regret being part of big Nikki’s family.
My name is Mackenzie and I’m 22 years old, it was my dream to teach English in China! I’m originally from California, bouncing between the Hollywood Boulevard and The Golden Gate Bridge. I was working with children and going to school to become a teacher ; exhausted and excited about my future! Through luck, I was introduced to Nikki where he taught me that teaching opportunities were plentiful in China, and my dream was within reach! Nikki, is a intelligent, thoughtful, driven, and overall advantageous teacher! He was the one who provided the tools I needed in order to land my job in China. Step by step, Nikki helped me contact schools and got me in contact with the right people, quickly and successfully. Because of Nikki, I am teaching at an amazing school, with great pay, living happily in Bejing and never looking back!
Mackenzie, San Francisco, Bay area
I’m Greg (27) from Budapest, Hungary. I had left Hungary a year before I moved to China: I spent half a year in Utrecht, the Netherlands where I was an Erasmus exchange student in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology; then I volunteered in a kibbutz in North Israel for half a year where I worked on the banana plantations. I’m a graduate of Central European University (Sociology and Social Anthropology MA, 2014) and Eötvös Loránd University (Ethnic and Minority Policy MA, 2015).
I wanted to take a break from academia between my masters and PhD, and I was looking for opportunities to take a gap year or so. I spent three weeks in China in the summer of 2014 when I visited my father in Beijing, who at that time was working for the Hungarian Embassy, and went on a backpacking trip in East Asia with my friend who studies at Nanjing University. During our trip we met several foreigners who were teaching in China, and since I enjoyed China and fell in love with the nature, the unique city culture, and its people, I decided to look for teaching positions in the PRC.
I’ve been working in a private school in Taigu, Shanxi (halfway between Beijing and Xi’an) for 7 months by now. Taigu might seem a bit remote compared to the bigger cities, and there is indeed less accessibility to Western products and less opportunities to spend your free-time; however, it’s great place to have an insight to contemporary Chinese society and live like the locals do. The lack of Chinese knowledge and locals who speak English might be bothersome some time, but your colleagues from the English Department are always there to help you. There are certain things which can be strange or, depending on your adaptation skills, even annoying (like people spitting and smoking literally everywhere; people staring at you and taking sneaky, or less sneaky, pictures of you; or you hear people saying ‘laowai’, the Chinese term for “foreigner”, wherever you go) – but that’s part of the life in China and after a while you’ll discover that you’re doing the same things or even miss them when you’re abroad the Mainland: when I visited the US in December for a conference I had to realize that China had became my comfort zone.
I’m quite lucky with my living conditions: the school rents a two-bedroom apartment in the proximity of both the school and the city center and also provides a bike for each ‘laowai’ teacher. However, don’t expect an oven (in Chinese households you usually have an electric stove and a rice cooker) or hot water in the kitchen, and day-long power cuts are also quite usual in my area. The quality of the internet is annoying some times, although with a little patience it’s manageable and you have certain ways to have access to the free internet.
My school is a private ‘rural boarding school’ (it’s a phenomenon, just search the internet) covering grades 1 through 9 (elementary and middle school) with a special English program introduced last year. Even for me who spent thirteen years in a ‘Prussian school system’ it is quite rigid, but if you have a deeper insight into school life you will recognize that the teachers and students have a considerably better relationship than in Hungary, for instance. In a private school working rights are non-existent, and the principal is the only and one decision-maker with an unquestionable authority. However, because of our ‘laowai’ status and the fact that she needs foreign teachers we managed to “domesticate” her: the working conditions gradually became fairly acceptable, and we also managed to have autonomy when it comes to teaching methodology. The students are just adorable and I have never received so much love in my life like I do now. On the other hand, due to the logic of the Chinese school system (everything is subordinated to the success of two major exams the ‘Zhongkao’, the high school entrance exam, and the ‘Gaokao’, the university entrance exam) English with a native/foreign teacher is considered to be a less important subject among students, and they rather see it as an opportunity to relax and write their homework for other classes: as a result, disciplinary problems are a daily issue. Also, the methodology which is based on problem-solving, independent thinking, group activities, and communication; and lessons conducted only in English is rather strange for Chinese students and takes quite a while until some of them adapt to it.
To sum up, the start wasn’t easy, and I had to make a lot of compromises both in my private and professional life. You will recognize, however, that all the difficulties you have to face really worth it. I’ve just announced in my school that I’m going to stay for at least one more term, as at the moment it’s hard to imagine my life without China and my students. It’s an experience for life, and it’s also quite beneficial financially.