Frequently Asked Questions
Starting down a new career path, in a new and mysterious country is most certainly a scary prospect for most. Hopefully our dedicated FAQ's will help to alleviate concerns you may have. It's packed full of questions from fellow likeminded individuals with a passion for TEFL and a love for Teaching and Travelling.
Will edcentric teaching pay for my travel expenses to China?
Whilst we strive to help our employees in every way imaginable we are unable to pay for any traveling expenses incurred in order to arrive in China. We do however offer a flight ticket back home up to the value of £580, upon completion of contract.
Will there be somebody to pick me up from the airport?
Yes, indeed there will be someone waiting at the airport for you. All you need to do, upon purchase of your flight ticket to China, is tell us what time to expect you. We will send someone from the office over, so as soon as you land, there will be someone to assist you and help you get settled.
How long will the visa process take to complete?
The visa process typically takes anywhere between one and three months to complete from start two finish. Upon receiving your visa you will then be able to purchase your flight ticket.
Daily Life in China
Where can I go shopping for daily necessities?
Changsha is packed to the brim with all sorts of shops. From the very small and very quaint all the way to the large upscale malls, there is something for everyone. Convenience stores and supermarkets can be found everywhere if it's daily necessities you're after. Want to purchase clothing or shoes? We recommend Walking Street (think London's Oxford Street and you get the picture). This street is packed to the brim with all sorts of clothing and footwear stores. Want something tech oriented/ Then we recommend visiting Computer City right down by the train station. The list goes on and there wouldn't be enough space on this page to cover it all. The simplest thing to do would be to contact us and tell us what specifically you're looking for and then we can direct you to where you want to go.
How do I get around in Changsha?
Fairly easily actually. Buses are abundant in this city and there are two, recently completed subway lines (with more on their way) that really add to the convenience of getting around. Taxis and motorbike taxis are also readily available. Upon arrival and after settling in we will acquaint you with your local transport lines as well as any lines that can take you to the bigger shopping areas or the foreign run bars.
What things are there to spend my free time on?
There are a great deal of things to see and do in Changsha. Orange Island offers one of the more beautiful views in the city as does the nearby Yue Lu Mountain. There are plenty of very traditional temples should this be to your liking.In terms of nightlife there is an abundance of clubs and bars (foreign owned and otherwise) as well as a very local tradition of midnight feasting. People are up into the early hours eating BBQ and other types of food on the streets with their friends. The city is alive and full of chatter.
How cold can it get in Changsha?
Pretty cold... Whilst summers are a delight and, at least some people might think, even too hot with temperatures rising upwards of mid 30 degrees celsius, the winters can be around 0 degrees celsius. Check out a more comprehensive temperature reading here. (This link will open in another page and comes courtesy of Climatemps.com)
Health and Safety
Do I need medical insurance whilst living and working in China?
Yes it is necessary to have medical insurance during your time in China. We will purchase this for you however and you will be covered for the duration of your stay with us.
How does the hospital system work in China?
The system in China is pretty simple to follow. You must first register in the foyer of the hospital and they will provide you with a card. You must keep this with you as it is used simultaneously by the doctors to prescribe medicines and procedures as well as by the cashier desk when it comes time to pay. Once you have the card you must then proceed to the cashier desk and ask to see the relevant department pertaining to your needs. Follow the instructions to see the doctor, he will do a check up and see to the next course of action. At which point things can vary drastically depending on the needs of the patient.
What happens if I get into an accident and need to see the doctor?
We will send someone from the office to go with you to the hospital and help with any translation issues and also for general support.
What happens if I leave the country for travel?
Whilst there are many public holidays in China with which you can use to travel around, once you reenter China it is imperative you register with the local police within 24 hours. Failure to do so will lead to serious consequences and maybe even a fine. To this end, any travel plans should be shared with us so that, upon your reentering the country, we can send someone over to your local police station to complete the registering process. You will also need to be present for this.
Accommodation in China
How do I go about purchasing gas and electricity for my apartment?
At edcentric teaching we strive to make your life in China as pain free as possible. To this end, every time you receive salary from us we will automatically top up both your gas card and electricity card for that month as well.
Do I need to pay for my accomodation?
As an edcentric teacher basic accommodation is provided free of charge. This will typically be a private studio or one bedroom apartment near your workplace. If you wish to upgrade your accommodation, however, then you will be expected to cover any extra charges involved and maintain the extra monthly fees.
Where will I be living whilst in China?
As we at edcentric teaching have partnerships with schools all across Changsha and some of the smaller cities you can rest assured that the accommodation we provide will be within close proximity to your work place, no long commutes required. All apartments come furnished with essentials such as bed, sofa, wardrobe, tables and chairs, TV etc. When you first arrive we don't believe you should have to go out shopping for the daily necessities on Day 1; we even provide the bedding.
Will I be staying in shared or private accommodation?
Most of the accommodation we provide is privately owned (studio or one bedroom) however we cannot guarantee that you will be offered private accommodation. We can guarantee, however, that should you be placed in shared accommodation you will have your own private room.
What is the difference between the Level 3 and Level 5 TEFL Course?
Whilst the Level 5 is slightly more expensive than the Level 3 course, it makes up for it down the line. You will have more employment opportunities and the possibility to earn a higher starting salary. Furthermore, those with a Level 5 TEFL Certificate under their belt will be prioritised over those who only possess the Level 3.
Is there the option for in-class training with any of the TEFL Courses on offer?
Whilst all of the TEFL Courses we provide are online only, there is the option of one-on-one training with our professional teacher trainers in a real classroom setting when booked together with our TEFL China Internship program or when you apply for one of our TEFL Jobs. (This combined program comes at no extra cost to you when booked with our TEFL China Internship program.)
What is my deadline for completing the course?
This all depends on the type of course you are taking. For example, if you are taking the Level 5 180 Hour Course then you will be given 180 days to finish up. This leaves you ample time to complete all the units in the course.
Why shouldn't I choose the CELTA over a Level 5 TEFL Course?
Well it really comes down to your teaching goals, budget and schedule. The CELTA costs about £1500 and requires you to take 6 weeks of full time, in class training. Whats more the CELTA doesn't suit you up for teaching children or young learners. In comparison, our cheapest Level 5 TEFL certificate is a mere £299 and can be completed from home AND will prepare you for teaching young learners as well.
TEFL China Internship Program
What are the ages of the student's that I'll be teaching?
edcentric teaching deals primarily with Kindergartens; as such the ages of your students will mainly be from 2-8 years of age. From time to time we might also be able to offer jobs teaching teenagers and adults. If this is a preference then please let us know in the setup stage and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
What duties will I have in the workplace?
Aside from teaching short classes to the students during class time you'r other duties could be as such, but not limited to; reading corners, singing songs, taking children to and from school, general supervisory roles, nap time duties (Chinese schools always have nap time from noon to about 1pm in the afternoon), and possibly Parent Teacher meetings. Every so often there might be mandatory teacher training or even special celebratory events that the kindergarten will hold for the parents and the children.
What sort of living allowance can I expect each month?
Monthly salary can vary slightly depending upon education background and prior teaching experience but can range from 4000RMB to 7000RMB. In British pounds speak that is £450-£900. Take into consideration that we pay your monthly rent, utilities and visa fees on top of this and that general life in China is extremely cheap and you'll find yourself living like a king.
Are there chances for me to increase my monthly allowance?
This is of course possible. Usually monthly salary can increase upon completion of the 3 month probation period that is required of all new edcentric teachers. In addition to this, upon completion of your one year internship we can also offer an increased allowance, the particulars of which can be discussed between the teacher and the manager.
I want to apply with my partner. Can we apply to be placed nearby each other?
You and your partner should both apply separately through our TEFL Internship Application Form, but at some point in the interview process you need only tell us of your situation and we will do our utmost to make sure you live and work nearby each other.
Homesickness and Language Barriers
What happens if I start to feel homesick?
We understand that a move to China is a huge step to take and the process of settling down in this new country can vary from person to person. Everyone will react to this new environment in different ways, homesickness being one of the most common issues. We do believe however that this can be averted simply by making friends, mingling with the local people and finding a foothold in the country. At edcentric teaching we strive to make the transition to life in China as easy as possible: to this end we; provide furnished housing and utilities; hold regular gatherings for all of our teachers; and provide the best service possible to ease any discomfort. We will do everything we can to ensure your time with us in China is a pleasant one and remember, our office is always open to you and we are only a phone call away.
How can I overcome the language barrier?
In the beginning, one of the biggest factors leading to homesickness is that of feeling excluded and isolated. Whilst it isn't possible to become fluent in Chinese in a few weeks and start interacting with the local populace, there is a rich and vibrant foreign community to acquaint yourself with. In terms of learning the language, there is no better way than to be immersed by it in your daily life and if you're dead set on learning the language we've got you covered there as well. We can help arrange Chinese classes for you.
Is English widely spoken in China?
Now the English proficiency levels of the local people can vary widely depending on the size and modernity of the city. In Changsha, which is the capital of Hunan Province however, you will be hard pressed to find any social interaction in English outside of the schools, training centers and, of course, places that most foreign teachers frequent on their time off.
How difficult will it be completing daily tasks like shopping and dining out?
Even though English isn't a widely spoken language in Changsha and most of the smaller cities surrounding it, don't let this faze you. Shopping and dining out are fairly easy tasks to accomplish even with next to no knowledge of the language. For those times when you are stuck or need some friendly advice; maybe you can't remember which bus goes where; or the directions to the local supermarket, you can contact us by phone or by WeChat. When it comes to more serious situations; such as hospital visits, we will send somebody from the office to support you and get everything sorted out.
What happens if I am not happy in China and I wish to prematurely end the contract?
We will do our utmost to make your stay in China a pleasant one. However, should you wish to end the contact prior to its agreed upon end date then you may forfeit any and all unpaid living allowance as well as the contract completion flight allowance.
Upon Completion of Contract
What happens upon completion of my contract?
What happens next is completely up to you. Whether you want to renew your contract with us or return home (or anything in inbetween) we will fully support your decision and strive to help you arrange things as best we can. If you choose to remain with us there will be options to increase your monthly salary.
Will edcentric teaching pay for my flight ticket back home?
Upon completion of your one year contract we will purchase a homeward ticket for you up to the value of 6000RMB (£680/$895).