how safe is china

Our First Year Teaching in China – Curtis & Maddie in Shanghai

What is it Like to Teach in China? Is this a question you have asked yourself? Whether you are looking to teach English in China or to teach at an International School in China there are options for everyone!

As the end of the school year nears and the start of a new academic year fast approaches, we checked in with teachers from last year to hear how everything is going and how they are enjoying their new life teaching in China. Here, Curtis and Maddie candidly share their thoughts and experiences from their first year of teaching at an international school in Shanghai. It’s great to learn how much they are enjoying their new roles in their host city- thanks guys!

What made you want to move abroad?

We both moved abroad immediately after qualifying as primary teachers as we wanted to enjoy our jobs as teachers and we felt that the UK is not a place where you can enjoy the teacher profession, have a favourable work-life balance and earn a good salary. Teaching abroad offers all of these things in abundance along with opportunities to progress as a professional.

What were your first impressions of Shanghai?

We hadn’t considered China when we were looking for jobs as we moved to Kuwait as we wrongly had preconceived notions of what it may be like to live there. After taking the jobs and arriving in Shanghai we couldn’t believe how amazing it was. Shanghai is genuinely the best city I have ever been to. The city is so clean, safe, easy to navigate and it is extremely beautiful with the contrast of the small tree lined streets of the Former French Concession and the modern skyline of the bund. 

What were the initial challenges of living in China?

We arrived during Covid so the first month was a challenge as we faced 10 days of quarantine in a hotel and were then red coded on several occasions. But all of this is over now and the city and country returned to normal at the start of 2023.

We hadn’t anticipated how little English is spoken compared to other parts of the world. Not everyone speaks English.

What have you really enjoyed about living and working in China?

I enjoy living in the best city in the world and being able to travel around a country so different from anywhere else I’ve been. The low cost of living allows us to explore the city on weekends and enjoy dining out and visiting bars. 

Has anything surprised you about living in China?

The most surprising thing is how safe and clean the city is and how many similarities there are between Shanghai and the west.

If you could only eat in one place in Shanghai where would it be?

‘Mess’, although it would definitely break the bank.

What one place in China would you take friends or family to visit?

Sanya – we stayed in China for Christmas and spent it in Sanya on Hainan Island. I don’t think people would believe that such a tropical, beachy landscape exists in China.

What do you typically do in Shanghai on the weekend?

We usually spend our time exploring the city, eating out at various restaurants and drinking in bars/clubs. I have joined several clubs whilst living here (football teams, cycling clubs) so spend some weekends playing football or cycling around the city. 

Where did you last go on holiday?

The last place we visited was Cambodia – AMAZING PLACE!

Would you recommend living and working in China?

I would definitely recommend living and working in China and Shanghai. It is an amazing place!

Finally, how did the INTA Team help you with the job search and visa process and would you recommend them to other teachers looking to teach abroad?

The INTA team were amazing with their support from the very start of the process to the very end. The initial meeting to gain an understanding of what we wanted from our jobs was brilliant and showed that they actually cared about where they place their teachers and weren’t seeking to just place them anywhere that was available.

The INTA team came back with several schools that were willing to interview us and they offered valuable insight about each school and the city they were based in.

After we signed with a school the support continued with an introduction to Mandarin lesson, constant support with the Visa process via WhatsApp and they sowed willingness to answer any questions we had no matter the topic.

I have sent INTA’s contact details to all of my teacher friends back home and in other countries I’ve worked in because I believe they have a level of care that other companies do not and I genuinely believe they want the best outcome for their teachers and the schools they send them to.

Are you an English teacher looking to immerse yourself in a different culture and improve your teaching skills? Perhaps you should consider China, because Chinese schools offer incredible opportunities!

Are you ready to teach English in China?

Then contact INTA Education to start your journey.

INTA Education was founded by Lydia and Will, teachers with a passion for language and education. With ten years’ experience teaching in Asia, we’re ready to help you find the best school in China to teach English.

Get in touch today for more information on teaching English in China.

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