I don’t speak Chinese. Will that be a problem?
Especially in a global city like Beijing, speaking Chinese is not a prerequisite for teaching here. There are, however, numerous opportunities to study Chinese—through formal schooling, language partners, or online—and many of our teachers have tried them all. We can help you get set up with language learning if you are interested. What’s better than teaching and learning a language at the same time?
What’s the quality of life like in China?
The cost of living in China is much cheaper than in other western countries. Our teachers generally find that their reimbursement allows them an excellent quality of life that permits them to both live comfortably and (depending on lifestyle) even gather savings. Many teachers use vacation time to travel both around China and more broadly. Both Chinese and western restaurants are reasonably priced and many people eat out several nights a week.
What’s China like?
Every China experience is different, and different people come away with different impressions, based on the degree to which foreigners involve themselves with the people and the culture here. It’s truly impossible to describe it from afar—come over and see for yourself!
Is there anything that I should expect that I may not be prepared for?
There are some cultural differences between the West and China that are very striking to newcomers. We provide all new employees with a Welcome Packet that will help you to get you ready for your China experience, including information on Chinese culture, budgeting, and tourism advice, among other things.
What’s the food like?
Chinese food is an integral part of Chinese culture and comes in an incredible variety—spicy, sour, salty, sweet. Every province and sometimes even cities have a specific type of cuisine they call their own. Although some dishes resemble their Western cousins, for the most part Chinese-style Chinese food is completely different. Some of the more exotic selections are definitely not for the faint of heart.
Is it difficult to make friends in China?
If you’re interested in something—from knitting to ice hockey—then there is probably a group of folks in Beijing that enjoys the same activity. For starters, you’ll have your colleagues at your teaching site: a group of foreign Day School and Global Track teachers who have been there before and can help you out if you need them. Our Muffys HR team is also there to assist in your housing, transportation, translation and other needs. To get a sense of our current teaching community, feel free to check out our Facebook group, “Muffys Education.”
What happens if I get sick?
Western-style hospitals designed with foreign clients in mind abound all over Beijing. Muffys optional insurance plan provides for treatment at the city’s best medical centers. For more run-of-the-mill colds and coughs, Chinese pharmacies stock traditional cures, while international pharmacies such as Watsons and others stock foreign cosmetics as well as some over-the-counter pain relievers and other drugs.
Are there any differences between Western and Chinese apartments?
Chinese kitchens do not include ovens, although they have stove tops. (Baking is not traditionally a part of Chinese cooking.) Also, while washing machines are included in apartments, clothes are hung dry on sundecks. Landlords in China generally expect a security deposit and several months of rent paid up front at the time of contract signing. Muffys is prepared to offer you assistance in locating comfortable and convenient housing, and an optional Housing Advance is also available to defray the burden of initial rent costs.
I would like to bring my dog/cat with me to China. is that possible?
Yes, it is possible to bring your dog or cat along. A helpful resource is www.pettravel.com which provides full details on preparing necessary documents and vaccinations.
Visa procedures seem very complicated. Where can I go for more details?
Visa processes in China are notoriously mutable. China Travel Guide http://www.travelchinaguide.com/ offers a fairly in-depth description of the various documents and procedures involved in L, F, and Z visa issuance, extension, and transfer. Always confirm specific details about your visa situation with your local Chinese consulate or company visa officer. All visa regulations are subject to change as well as irregularities resulting from different levels of enforcement depending time, place and other factors.
Some general visa points to remember:
1) Be aware of your visa status;
2) Don’t presume, always ask about your visa situation;
3) Save all receipts;
4) When visa processing in China, bring the seemingly extraneous/unnecessary document along;
5) Assume you need the original document (e.g. degree certificate, reference letters)