I'm thinking of moving to China...

…for a year. There are a few opportunities to teach English in China for a year and I’m thinking of doing it. In case you are wondering, I have a degree in English(not as a second language, though) and one in Education.

I would be located(most likely) in Tianjin, which is just east of Beijing. Anyway, I had a few questions for anyone who currently lives in China, has lived in China, or knows about living there.

I appreciate any help, but please don’t speculate.

  1. What kind of electrical outlets do they have? Do I need a converter?

  2. What is the best way to ship things to China?

  3. Where does an American male get a haircut in China?

  4. What was/is your opinion of life in China, especially if you did something similar and were living in the same area of the country?

  5. What one thing did you wish you knew(or wish you had brought) before you went to China?

I may have more questions later. If you feel you have a fair amount of knowledge about this area, please check this thread later for more questions. Mods, if this is the wrong forum, please move it. It kinda blurs the line between GQ/IMHO/MPSIMS.

Thanks

My brother taught English in China for a year. He met his wife in class (stewardesses !!). I’ll e-mail him your questions.

Here’s my brother’s response:

> I would be located(most likely) in Tianjin, which is just

Tianjin is famous for BaoZi (a food). It has some old
structures left over from various foreign incursions,
including a Russian Orthodox church.

It has a small town feel. That’s about like Manhattan to us.

It has higher cancer rates compared to the rest of China on
the order of China’s cancer rates as compared to, say,
Germany.

Winters will be about as cold as Bloomington, Indiana.

> 1. What kind of electrical outlets do they have? Do I need
> a converter?

220v 50 hz. It’s better to buy your iron, ghetto blaster,
and Hello Kitty vibrator over there. It’ll cost you less
than the converter, and the new US department of Searching
your Baggage won’t mug you. In fact, bring nothing, and buy
it all over there. They have everything, and I mean
EVERYTHING.

> 2. What is the best way to ship things to China?

An entire household can go in a half-container. They have
completely up-to-date intermodal container services.

Land postal mail will work fine, although it may 1) get
there before you do, or 2) get there four months after you
do.

They also have DHL, Western Union, etc.

> 3. Where does an American male get a haircut in China?

At the barbershop. Of which there are many. They’ll be happy
to work on you, and take great pride in being very blase’
about doing a foreigner. They might take pictures.
Participate in this gladly–it’s good for their business.

> 4. What was/is your opinion of life in China, especially
> if you did something similar and were living in the same
> area of the country?

I lived in Shenyang, which is 8 hours to the north, and has
the climate of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Life in China ROCKS,
although northeast culture is a rapid-fire, loud, pugnacious
northern culture.

> 5. What one thing did you wish you knew(or wish you had
> brought) before you went to China?

Everything is done through negotiation. Confrontation never
works.

You are being cheated. But by a small margin. Get over it.

Drink bottled water in Tianjin.

If you must drink tap water anywhere, boil it.

Know your antibiotics.

Carry toilet paper with you everywhere.

Don’t bring much stuff with you.

Find a reliable local to show you around.

Mahaloth, check the e-mail addy you have registered with this site. I sent you the e-mail addy of a friend who is in Beijing attending med school. As a recent arrival, he should be able to answer a lot of your questions.

Good Luck!

Two of my best friends are currently living in Beijing, one has been there for over a year and a half now. He’s teaching English and has taught for a couple different schools in Beijing since he’s been there. I’ll send you his email address too as he may be able to answer some more specific questions that these other contacts may not.

Hi. Do you know where I can find the sources on rates of cancer in China?

Xiexie ni (thank you in Mandarin)

Any special reason for Tianjin? If not, there are so many absolutely wonderful places in China you could teach English for a year of an incredible experience - why waste it in am armpit of a city when it is colder than hell for much of the year and you get duststorms. I personally have a huge attraction to southwest China.

[QUOTE]
*Originally posted by NinetyWt *
**Here’s my brother’s response:

> I would be located(most likely) in Tianjin, which is just

Tianjin is famous for BaoZi (a food). It has some old
structures left over from various foreign incursions,
including a Russian Orthodox church.

[quote]

BaoZi is also known as “bun”, basically dough baked with either some sweet paste or meat (pork, chicken, prawns or do…oops, nevermind) itself. They come in all types of shape and sizes…

Read the blogs by US English teachers in China here - you’ll learn more about what it’s like to live and work there than from any other source, I think…

http://www.sinosplice.com/chinablogs.html

I am sooo jealous.

Just out of curiousity, do you have to have a degree in English to teach it over there? Or do you just have to be an English speaker?
If I were going to live in China for more than a few weeks, I would dedicate almost all my extra time to finding a Martial Arts school and training (if I could find one that would take me).

I am an American living in the People’s Republic of China. I have lived here for 22 monthes (including Taiwan), so I think I can answer some of your questions. I have never been to Beijing, I live in a city south of Shanghai.

  1. They use the same voltage as the US. They do have a funny three prong outlet, but that is for high voltage stuff like a computer and electronics. I lived in Korea brfore China and they used 220 Voltage, so my electronic clock was worthless there. I do agree with the above poster about buying your things here. China is a reletively cheap country to live in.

  2. I would’nt ship anything personally, but China has DHL and FEDEX.

  3. Going to the barber is not a big deal, but I would take someone with you who speaks English to communicate to the barber what you want. Getting a haircut is a two step ordeal. First is the shampooing of your hair. Chinese like getting their heads massaged, kind of like cranial masterbation. I do not care for it and I usually wash my hair beforehand and skip theis procedure altogether. However, all of the shampooers are young women.

  4. China is a huge wonderous place. I live in Zhejiang Province, and I have been in Shanghai, spent the night in Shenzen and recently spent a week on Hainan Island (Hainan was wonderful!). The cities are mostly polluted and smoggy. The city from where I come from is fighting the pollution with laws about cars, motorbikes and public roadways.

Chinese people are by and large very pleasant people. They are very curious about foreigners and many will go out of their way to help you. What is annoying about them is they like to spit and talk LOUD. They are also very impatient, they don’t wait in line and the traffic here is hell because they are all competing with each other to get home quickly. Offensive driving.

  1. If you are bigger than a 34 waist, buy clothes. I am a big (yes, fat) man, so I had a hard time buying clothes. i have a lot of clothes tailored now. I am also married to a Chinese, so she buys things for me too.

DEODERANT-DEODERANT. Buy enough to get through the summer at least. They do not sell it here in China (or Taiwan or Korea). I have looked in Shanghai for it in vain. I have one stick to last the summer. Last year, my wife’s six year old nephew carved a chunk out of my old spice roll on and I was going to kick his ass for it.

Good Websites for ESL teachers

www.eslcafe.com
www.chinatefl.com
www.teachinchina.com

There is also a magazine called “That’s Beijing” which is like those weekly alternative flyers that talk about bands, pubs and things to do and see.

I hope I was of service.

Zaijian (goodbye)
Zheng

A bit off topic, but I thought I’d mention that Korea now has Body Shops, which offer their own brand of deodorant. Many Koreans have no idea what the heck it’s for, or where it’s applied. I don’t like the Body Shop brand, so I buy a year’s supply of my preferred brand every year when I go home for Christmas. In China, I’d agree with Zheng: bring enough to last.

Haven’t lived in China, but traveled there a few times. I like China a lot–I would probably be there if I didn’t have a job I like in Korea (and a wife who speaks only Korean). I have to agree with the advice to not bring much stuff with you. You can get it there cheap enough, with a few exceptions, and you’d be surprised what you can do without. It’s probably easier to buy whatever electrical things you need there, rather than think about converters and plugs.

Thank you for all the information. I have another question I’d like to throw out.

  1. There is a possibility of teaching in Tanggu instead of Tianjin. Do you think that would be better?

Depends on the program. My friend’s been there about 20 months and has taught English with two or three different outfits. He’s just got a BA in History.

I have a B.A. in English and one in Education and I am eligible. They mostly require a B.A. and good Engish skills.

Do you have any info on Tanggu. I googled and found a place near Tianjin.

Again, I am prejudiced as I spent 3 years in Southwest China. If I was going to pick a place for a great adventure and unrepeatable life experience, it would not be Tianjin.

Do you have to be around Tianjin or is the entire country fair game?