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Questions about teaching English in China.


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Hey all,

I've got a bunch of questions for you regarding university English teacher jobs in China. Since there's more than a few

questions, I thought that I'd split them up and number them.

A - Couple/partner questions:

1. My girlfriend and I would like to go to China to teach, preferably at the same university, for at least a year starting

from Aug/Sep 2013. How would you judge Chinese universities to feel about this, generally speaking? No kids, no screwing

students, only one apartment and so on, but it naturally depends on them needing two teachers. Do you think it is a good idea

to apply together, i.e. sending two applications from one e-mail?

2. I am not married to my partner. How big of an issue would this be (in various regions)? Forging a marriage certificate

seems too risky, especially considering the fact that the Chinese consulate needs to see such a document. Would potential

universities still want us despite us not being married?

3. I am white. My girlfriend is Chinese American (born in China, moved to US while young; has US citizenship). Would this

make any difference in terms of cultural expectations, discrimination etc.?

B - Nationality, ethnicity and qualifications issues:

4. I am a Danish citizen, very Scandinavian in appearance, and I have a strong grasp on the English language, to the extent

where native speakers proclaim me a better speaker of English than them (mainly due to having a rich vocabulary, and a

penchant for formal and/or exotic phrasal and syntactic patterns). However, I don't have a fully native pronunciation,

perhaps most markedly with regards to clausal intonation. My educational background is a BA in English language, literature,

and history from the University of Copenhagen, with one year of studying linguistics at a top public US university. Am I a

reasonable candidate for any sort of English teaching position (oral, writing, literature, perhaps even grammar) at a Chinese


5. My girlfriend is, as mentioned above, an American citizen born in China. She moved here at age 10, and is a native English

speaker. She is due to finish her undergraduate degree this semester in an Engineering discipline from a very prestigious

public US university. She looks like a Chinese person. Is there any chance of a Chinese university employing her? (Obviously

not Peking and Tsinghua.) The issue of Chinese race-based discriminatory practices seem to be pretty well-attested on these

and other forums. How bad is it at universities? Should she mention that she speaks Mandarin fairly well?

C - Application materials and procedures

6. Because we realize that we are not the ideal applicants, we are willing to cast our net wide, and as such we have to rely

on somewhat generic applications. What should our first contact email to universities contain? A statement of interest in

teaching English and a resume. Or, the above plus passport scans, full CVs, photos, references, diplomas and so forth? Since

we have the option, should we attach Chinese translations of everything we send?

7. Both of us are graduating this semester, her in mid May, me in late June. This means that some time might pass before we

can have our respective diplomas in hand. How much does this hurt us in relation to our desirability for universities? How

much does it complicate the whole letter of invitation/Z-visa application process? Is it still feasible? Will grade transcripts do in the meantime?

Thanks a bunch in advance!

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I can't answer point by point, but a simple answer is that both you (Danish) and your girlfriend (Chinese-American) shouldn't have much difficulty finding teaching positions. There are many of people in similar situations (non-native speakers, or Asian looking) who readily find English teaching positions in Beijing, at least. As you leave first tier cities my impression is the schools get more desperate, not less.

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