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aroberts42

I don't know which school to choose!

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aroberts42

Hi everyone,

so my fiancee and I are planing on going to teach English in China though Buckland in August. Buckland has a huge network of schools all over the country and basically we get to choose which school (or at least our top three choices of schools) we want to be placed at. We have never been to China before so I really am not sure how to pick a city. I am thinking something not too big (I think that something like Beijing or Shanghai would be too intimidating...but I've never been so I don't know!), something moderately priced (we have a lot of debt back here we need to work on paying off, so lower expenses will give us more money to send back here), and somewhere the weather is mild (we are from Florida so we don't like the cold). I have looked at a couple of schools/cities in the Shaanxi province because visiting Xi'an is at the top of my list, but the schools that are not in Xi'an seem rather unimpresive (one even had sandstorms and monsoons!) I want to live in a place that has stuff to do in the evenings, has beautiful scenery, and will give me the best experience possible. I don't want to end up in the boonies, bored, and not experiencing "China". If anyone wants to look at the actual list of cities and schools, you can see it at http://www.bucklandgroup.net/sub/location.htm. I hope I don't sound picky, but I just want this go well because we would be open to staying in China indefinately. But a bad expereince of course could immediately sour that possibilty.

So, to sum up (sorry for the rambling!) what cities would anyone like to reccommend for a first-timer?

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I looked at the list on the website you referenced. Guilin seems to have openings. I haven't lived there, but have enjoyed a couple visits to it. Meets most of your criteria except proximity to Xi'an. Wouldn't hurt to check it out.

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jobin

i just love the optimism of these young folks! 'maybe we still stay in china indefinitely'.

enjoy your visit, but the best opportunities in life probably not in china, except for the hanren, who have no other choice. also, better check the weather in xi'an these days. freeze a** cold, big wind, coal smoke non-stop, baozi freezes before it reaches your mouth...lately not so pleasant.

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BrandeX

Will you be paid the same salary regardless of location?

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aroberts42

"Will you be paid the same salary regardless of location?"

That is my understanding. I have seen other agencies who said the pay was based on the school. But accodring to everything i have read about Buckland and what they have told me the pay will be the same.

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aroberts42

Guilin is pretty far south (which we might have to do if it gets as cold near Xi'an Jobin says); do they still speak Mandarin in Guilin or is it Cantonese? I have heard that int he south they speak Cantonese, so I didn't know learning Mandarin would go to waste if we go somewhere southern.

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LongwenChinese

Cantonese is largely used in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong. Guilin is in Guangxi Province, and people don't speak Cantonese there.

Mandarin is the official language in China, which means that it is mandatory for everyone. I think it'll be useful to learn Mandarin wherever you go in China.

Guilin is a beautiful city, and it is relatively small. Be prepared, though, that most cities in China are much more crowded than cities in the United States because of the mere size of their population.

Good luck! :)

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anonymoose

Cantonese is widely spoken in Guangxi Province, though as to whether it is spoken in Guilin in particular, I'm not sure. Nevertheless, most people will also be able to speak Mandarin, so I don't think studying in Guilin would be a problem. Also, note that the Mandarin spoken in Xi'an is not standard either.

Anyway, if you like lots of cultural relics, then Xi'an is definitely the place to go for. On the other hand, if you like beautiful natural scenery, then Guilin is the better option. It's a difficult choice because both are interesting places.

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chrix

FWIW, this is what Wikipedia sez:

桂林是一个多民族的地区,其中有壮、瑶、回、苗、侗等36个少数民族68万人。汉族人口占其中的85.22%。

當地使用方言為桂柳官话。

桂柳官话 is a Mandarin dialect (Mandarin in the sense of the Mandarin language group, not putonghua standard Mandarin), so according to this the local language in Guilin should be a dialect of Mandarin reasonably close to Standard Mandarin (might still be hard to understand for foreigners :mrgreen: )

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aroberts42
I just love the optimism of these young folks!

We're not that young! Lmao. Which I why I am so anxious to see if this goes well. I don't want to just turn around in two years and start back over again somwhere else :(

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Jonah

English First have an effective method to complete the visa application and medical in good stead. I had a wonderful time in China even when the times were so bad it seemed so good for me. I taught at English First, loved the students and the environment. The school was clean with excellent teachers, I miss them so much. Chinese people around the school on nights out were special in making me feel like I was on holiday everyday. No complaints or angry words. :clap

Have Fun!!

One Love

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aroberts42

Yongzhou city looks kind of nice. Does anyone know anything about it? I wasn't able to find much on it on the wiki or just googling it.

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simonlaing

If you really want florida weather go for Hainan island placements.

It is supposed to be the equivalent of Hawaii in China (though think built up with high rises and only one nice long beach though and fairly nice mountain.

- down side is it is an island so you would need to take flights or a boat to shenzhen and then train around.

I taught in Suzhou in Jiangsu which would have a high caliber of students and is a tourist town with ancient gardens and historic water towns nearby. The weather get quite chilly in fall and winter, think virginia/north carolina weather with just air conditioner heaters. Though it is basically a suburb of Shanghai which is like New York for bars and partying if you want to be near a big city for clubbing.

The hunan school would be good if you want to live really cheaply and like spicy hot food. They have good tofu and vegetarian dishes as well there.

The Guilin Yangshuo is also good for laid back people, incredible landscape and fairly low cost of living.

Good luck,

Have fun,

Simon:)

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aroberts42

Thanks Simonliang. I think we may just go with the Guilin Yangshuo for our first trip just to be eased into it. I would like to visit some of the other places (like that island you mentioned) and maybe somewhere more exciting for our second year.

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Trollope

Hey was just reading this and was wondering if you ever taught in Guilin Yangshuo and if so for what school?  I am looking to go over to China and this place has caught my eye as a really nice place to live and teach english!  Also if you have any recommendations of good schools you have taught at in China.  Thanks!

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anonymoose

Guilin and Yangshuo are two different places. Guilin is a medium-sized city (by Chinese standards) and is probably not a bad place to live and teach English. Yangshuo, on the other hand, is a small town, which thrives almost exclusively on tourism by Chinese and foreigners. The scenery in Yangshou is amazing, but the town itself has been pretty much spoiled by the tourism. It may be a nice place to visit for a day or two, but I think it would be pretty terrible to live there (although these are just my personal feelings - other people may enjoy it). You would be constantly treated as a tourist and pestered whereever you go. You would also not see much of typical normal Chinese life.

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Trollope

Okay thanks anonymoose, I've found a few different places that sound really nice to live such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan in Guangdong as well as Gulin and Liuzhou in Guangxi.  Have you any experience in any of these cities and do you have any schools that you would recommend that are reputable to teach english in.  I am looking for a 6 month contract to teach english in the fall its just tough to weed through all the jobs they all seem the same from my end.  Thank again!

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anonymoose

I have only been to Guangzhou and Shenzhen. I don't know who told you that they are nice but I can only guess that they were joking. Well, Guangzhou is a big city, and I have only been to parts. I wasn't impressed, but there may be nicer areas.

 

As for schools, I have no idea.

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Trollope

Okay well I meant "nice" as in weather considering I am from Canada and anything above 0 degrees celcius in the winter is "nice" to me haha and also "nice" as in an easy place for a foreigner to live because I do not know any Chinese at the moment.  Not sure if going to a place like Guangzhou would be easier to live as a foreigner or if Guilin wouldn't be a problem.  I suppose I am just a little concerned about finding a place to rent and buying groceries ect without getting ripped off constantly.

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Trollope

I have taught at FirstLeap English schools just thought I would update since I was on here before I left and now I am back.  It was a great experience and would recommend that company to anyone.  We were right in Beijing and I think that was good for us becuase there was a lot of other English speaking people there as well which made the culture shock less.  As far as weather in Beijing it was reallly hot in the summer high 30's but I didnt mind and the winter only got to -5 or so which was not bad considering but it was windy since we walked everywhere.  Only snowed once the whole winter though which was weird.  Also pollution was brutal during the winter because of the free heat that kicks in. Couldnt see across the street sometimes it was crazy.  Anyways glad to be back home.

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