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calaska623

Monthly cost of living in Guangzhou for a couple of teachers

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calaska623

Good evening all,

My husband and I are moving to Guangzhou in March. We will be teaching English. We both have TESOL certificates and I have an Associates Degree in an totally unrelated subject. I'm really not sure how much respect an Associates Degree gets in China, but we hope the TESOL qualifications will be useful for getting legal teaching jobs that will provide work visas.

Our original plans involved a much smaller, less expensive city. But things change and now we're headed to Guangzhou. So my research starts anew...

I'd very much appreciate any info regarding:

1 - RENT: A ballpark amount? We'll be looking for a two bedroom apt. (We will have a single friend traveling and living with us.) We've looked online and found all manner of fancy expat accommodations. These are not the apartments we are looking for. We don't want to spend a ton of money and we don't need all the western niceties. A simple (hopefully furnished, but not a deal breaker) apartment with a kitchen we can use is what we need. (I'm not gonna lie...a washing machine would MAKE MY DAY, but I'll live without it if I have to.) We don't anticipate raking in huge amounts of money and we don't need to live like we do. We'll be there for the experience and language learning. To that end, if anyone has any advice on where we could look to scope out the apartment scene before we arrive, that'd be great. If you know of a website that doesn't cater to expats, even if it's totally in Chinese, we'd appreciate it.

2 - ESTIMATED MONTHLY LIVING EXPENSES FOR A MARRIED COUPLE: If we are willing to live and eat like locals, would anyone be able to offer an educated estimate of how much money we'd need to live per month? I like to cook and we eat adventurously, so we don't need to eat at really nice places all the time. I specify our simple lifestyle only because I've noticed that others of requested the same information, but they have different circumstances. We won't be students, so we can't live in a dorm and eat at the school canteen. And we're footing our own bill; no company credit card.

We are looking forward to the experience and adventure! Thanks in advance for any input!

Have a great day!

Ginger

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liuzhou
we hope the TESOL qualifications will be useful for getting legal teaching jobs that will provide work visas.

They will be more than helpful. They are mandatory.

As to associate degrees, the regulations state that full (so-called 4 year degrees) are required for legal status. The subject / major of degrees is nearly always irrelevant.

1 - RENT:

Most legal schools supply accommodation. In fact, part of the licensing procedure to allow them to employ foreigners is that they provide adequate accommodation. Usually furnished and with washing machine, television and internet connection.

2 - ESTIMATED MONTHLY LIVING EXPENSES FOR A MARRIED COUPLE:

A piece of string.

we can't ... eat at the school canteen

Of course you can.

I should point out that Guangzhou is one of the more strict places regarding the legal requirements for correct working papers.

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calaska623

Thank you, LiuZhou, for info. I guess it makes sense that i could eat at the school if I'm teaching there...haha.

Do you know if there would be a possibility of finding work easier just outside of Guangzhou, where perhaps they would be more relaxed about requirements? Just a thought.

Thanks again...and any website recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

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liuzhou
Do you know if there would be a possibility of finding work easier just outside of Guangzhou, where perhaps they would be more relaxed about requirements?

That won't work. No matter where you work in Guangdong Province, the required papers are issued by Guangzhou.

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yunwenjie

Let me answer your question. I'm a local.

1.A clean & lightly apt with 2 rooms and 900 feet that may cost you bout 3,000 Yuan on average in this city, of couse it depends on the location of how far to the downtown.

2.The cost for A couple to live as the local, that may 1500 is enough.

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WestTexas
2.The cost for A couple to live as the local, that may 1500 is enough.

I guess a local couple could live off 1500 per month, not including rent, but this entails things like: Never going to bars, cooking at home for 95% of meals, seldom eating meat, taking only the bus and never taxis, and not having any expenses besides food.

I think, for any foreign couple, this is way too low. I am a single man and live in an area far cheaper than Guangzhou. I spend 1200-1500 a month. I think a couple just getting off the plane in Guangzhou would easily need double that.

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Silent
I think, for any foreign couple, this is way too low.

OP clearly states live and eat like locals. How feasible that is is of course a different issue but I tend to say take the average family income as a guideline for what it would cost. Of course, apart from (lack of) luxery there is also the issue that a foreigner with limited language skills and (access to) local knowledge will have a hard time finding prices comparable to what locals pay.

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calaska623

I really appreciate the info from everyone! My husband and I (and our friend) were originally planning to go to a much smaller city in another province. I'm not going into the reasons for the change, but they are pretty firm.

Anyway, our original plans were to be able to live off of $1,000USD/month for a married couple (including rent, food, transport, etc.) We have it on good authority (Americans who've been living in a small central city for a few years) that that would be totally doable. They did mention; however, that Guangzhou would be a different story, which is why we didn't originally plan to go there. We have savings that would have allowed us to live for a few months until we found teaching jobs and got our first 'paycheck' in the smaller city. Our friend will be living with us, at least initially, so we'll be splitting rent, but she'll be getting a job teaching English and paying for her own food, etc. That's why I'm really only concerned about our living cost as a couple. It's probable that she'll meet and move in with other singles when we arrive and get settled.

I looked up the 2011 avg annual income for Guangzhou and it appears to be the equivalent of ~$9,000USD per capita. That's promising, but getting work in the larger cities seems like it's going to be quite a bit more challenging for foreigners without 4 yr degrees. I'll keep looking and maybe some other options or advice will pop up.

Again, I thank everyone for all of the help & input!

Ginger

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eion_padraig

My understanding is that a 4 year (bachelors) degree is a requirement to get a Z visa in China. While people do work as English teachers without official status in China it can put you in a tough position. To maintain legal status to be in the country, you would probably have to do fairly frequent visa runs usually outside China (Hong Kong, Korea, etc) unless you are there on a student visa or some other unusual situation. This can be quite expensive. And you could run into legal problems working on a tourist visa if it came to the attention of authorities. In recent years there have been campaigns to go after foreigners breaking visa laws, though I don't know how aggressive they've been of late or how thorough they pursued it in GZ.

I do think its challenging, if not impossible, to live as I expensively as a local. Even fluent foreigners are not going to be given the locals' price.

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liuzhou
Even fluent foreigners are not going to be given the locals' price.

That isn't always true. I shop in the pretty much same places as my Chinese M-I-L. The market vendors don't know we are related. I get the same prices as she does (and she is a fierce bargainer). She was furious when she discovered I buy my beef more cheaply than she does - from the same person. And I pay the same in places she never goes.

I don't consider myself any more than adequately fluent, but once the more sensible vendors realised they could make more in the long term by not ripping me off in the short term, things were fine.

It depends what you are buying of course. But for every day essentials, I very much doubt I pay more than a local. In fact, I know I don't.

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icebear

I agree with liuzhou - fluent (or cheap) foreigners occasionally get much better deals than Chinese. I have a foreign friend or two living in central hutongs, relatively well furnished, at amazing rates. Low enough that locals usually feel a little embarrassed for themselves (rather than the naive laowai, as expected).

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liuzhou

Good point Icebear.

I live in a block of two apartment buildings. 32 apartments apartments in terms of floor space I know for a fact my rental charge is the lowest. Half of what my nearest neighbours are paying. I won't tell you how much. I don't need the envy! But I do live in an "obscure city*"

But I have lived here ten years and have good 关系.

* © Any western journalist who has never left Beijing or Shanghai (or in an emergency spent a weekend in Yangshuo) in case they might have to end up in China!

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