The ESL Experience
SELECT LETTERS FROM ESL TEACHERS AND ESL SCHOOLS:
From an ESL School Headmaster in China; Comparing the Cost of Living in CHINA and CANADA
Dear Mr. Philip McAlary,
Thanks for your message. I think you might not know much about the differences between China and Canada. First of all, China is developing country. The living standard in China is still much lower than that in any developed country. For income, the medium income in Beijing and Shanghai is about 1800 Yuan/month and about 1000 Yuan/month everywhere else. The salary for a middle school teacher in a big city is about 3000 Yuan/month. So our offers for a foreign teacher is much higher than the salary what that local teacher can earn. In addition, any living expenses in China major cities are about 5 to 7 times lower than that in Canada. Unlike Canada, a short term (one year contract), a foreign teacher has no tax, or very low tax rate (less than 2% if you stay longer than one year).
So, the salaries we are offering can give you a much higher living condition than what you can get in Canada with $50,000 CND income. Of course, you may not have ability to buy a car in a short term in China, but for traveling in china: train, airfare and other transportation’s is 5 to 8 times lower than that in Canada. For eating, if you have to pay $12 CND for a dish in a Chinese restaurant at Toronto, you may find you only need to pay $1.20 CND or lower for the same dish in a restaurant inside China. We also offer an apartment with all facilities without any fees, a large discount on delicious food (in some schools, food may be also free) and paid vacation and all Canadian and Chinese holidays. Also, as an foreign teacher, you work less than 25 hours per week. So, you have plenty of time to earn more money if you want to.
I am 100% sure that you would not find life this easy in Canada. After adding the basic numbers, you spend less in China to have a better living condition. In contrasts, if you earns $50,000 CND/year in Canada, you have to pay as high as 40% of your income for tax. If you rent on apartment with the same conditions as we are offering, you have to pay an equivalent of $1800/month. With what’s left, it’s only $8400/year. You cannot eat high quality food every day as you can in China. With only $23.30 CND/day after rent, you probably cannot have any quality vacation. Note, we will pay our foreign teachers a round trip international airfare to China. I don’t think most low-income people in Canada want to spend that much money to go to China. Therefore, I believe our offer is very competitive.
However, if you go to China as a traveler instead of an employee, your living index in China will be like you living in New York or Tokyo because they charge you based on the rates in above cities. Therefore, for most people, even they earn more than $50,000 CND/year; they cannot live in a major city for more than a month. But with the salary you earn in China, you can do it because you get the Chinese rate. For example, a ticket for Beijing summer palace is 200 Yuan for foreigners, but it is only 10 Yuan for Chinese!
We hope the major purpose that one wants to go to teach English in China is not for digging gold, but to learn more about China, want to help our kids to gain more knowledge about outside world. I also believe that, as an ESL teacher or any Chinese related job, the teaching experience in China will greatly benefit his/her future care. Many people have proved it. Compared with Canada and US, China still is a poor country. But I feel very confident that this country will catch up in the near future.
Again, I believe that we have very good offers right now. If you don’t feel comfortable but still want the chance to teach English in China, see our other positions. We have sent more than 200 teachers to China around the world. People in China always give a very warm welcome to these teachers. Almost all of them had very pleasant time during their stay in China. If you know someone who had been teaching in China, ask him or her about his or her experiences in China.
Dylan (ESL Headmaster in China)
Life Teaching ESL in Arabia
Hi Philip, You asked for a couple of stories to put on the web. One is Nabil, at ELS Muscat – name changed to protect the guilty. I have heard of taking advantage of someone being new in the country and being unsure of themselves, hence being vulnerable. If the school sends you an offer and then asks to change it on arrival, don’t agree and don’t hand over your original document! Don’t worry about getting off on the wrong foot and offending the director. Stand your ground in a polite way and you will avoid difficulties later on. They tried to change my salary upon arrival – I was lucky they didn’t succeed. An e-mail from Philip McAlary to the school was very helpful. Phil did not just drop me after he got his payment.
About life in Oman, the weather is much nicer here than in Muscat, where it gets very hot at times. The rainy season in the summer here is quite pleasant, there is a lot of greenery. The people are much more friendly than I would have thought possible. There are occasional comments about Bush, no more than what I heard in China, but the people don’t care that I am American and in fact seem to be glad to have the chance to show that not all Moslems are violent and dangerous people.
Living here is not too expensive.
Since I haven’t bought a car and don’t travel much, and don’t eat out in restaurants too often, I can easily save $1000 a month US. I have saved $1500 a month, though much of that extra saving I use later for expenses and obligations back home.
I did hear of one American teacher who got in trouble in Oman. He had a few beers at the bar of the deluxe hotel and stopped to buy some cigarettes on his way home. Being drunk in public is very bad here, and he got into a skirmish with some young locals. This led to a black eye or two, a bloody nose, and a slightly fractured arm. He was in trouble for public drunkenness, the Oman’s were in trouble for messing with a foreigner, so both parties agreed to drop it. The teacher left soon thereafter as he felt uncomfortable.
“From, Joseph Keysor, ESL Teacher, OverseasEmployment.ca, Salalah, UAE.”
Pictures from China with Alex
This is Alex and his Australian friend Lucas giving a special evening lecture to the entire student body (about 250 kids). He’s on the right.
Here Alex is leading a few students in a game of Simon Says.
The ESL summer camp Program 2004, ’05 & ’06
OE Provided Summer Camp Programs for New ESL Teachers:
WHAT, WHERE, WHY & HOW
OverseasEmployment.ca in coordination with the Vancouver School Board, a local Canadian College, associated Chinese companies and Universities offered Native Born English speakers an opportunity to teach for the Summers of 2003, 2004 & 2005 a chance for an experience of a life time. There will be opportunities for the summer of 2006 as well.
In China, the Government has sanctioned and supports its people in the learning of the English language. During the summers of 2003 and 2004 we were able to successfully provide ESL teachers for English Summer Camps in China teaching thousands of young Chinese students.
OE no longer offers the summer camp program.
(Alex was giving a speech at the opening ceremonies. It was a very big honor indeed since he was the only teacher of six asked to speak at this event. The principle loved it.)
Published ESL Articles by Philip McAlary
“How to Save on Prep Time While Having Fun”
“Recruiting and Training ESL Teachers”available through google.
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