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Language teaching job at Heilongjiang International University


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I am a French national. I read very recently an ad for a job as a teacher of French as a foreign language at Heilongjiang International University. I got in touch with the contact person and was asked whether I could teach English instead. I said yes, since I already tought English. Now the thing is, I wonder why they would offer me the job, when it would make more sense to hire a native speaker, as there might be plenty of them in Harbin.

Furthermore, do you know Heilongjiang International University? Is it a good university?

I am very keen on going, but I would like to know what do you think about it.


Many thanks in advance,






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for some Chinese, all foreigners speak English. In Harbin, perhaps that would be "all non-Russian foreigners speak English".

You are aware that Harbin is up north close to the Russian border and most of the foreigners there are Russian?

You are aware of the winter temperatures in Harbin? Don't let the latitude fool you - Asia doesn't have the Gulf Stream and the climates are very different from European ones...




My general understanding is that Heilongjiang University is a project 211 university, i.e. not one of the best (project 985), but not one of the worst either.


But your question was about Heilongjiang International University... I wouldn't know.


Edit: added link to Wikipedia's French language Harbin article.

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I worked at this school a few years ago.  Let me say a few things about the pros and cons.  



1. The salary is at the upper range of Chinese uni salaries which typically go from five to seven thousand.  I was paid 7000 for 20 teaching hours.  Had no problems with the pay and they added a lunch allowance to the salary.  

2.  Harbin is a big city with a good amount to visit and do.  

3.  Great weekly Mandarin class during my time there.

4.  There are plenty of foreigners at the school and at least a few Frenchies during my time, so you'll might have some company to share your miseries with.  And on that note...



1.  The school is a private college who got poor scores on their college entrance exam, which means the level of the students goes from not great to almost comatose.  

2.  The housing is in two dilapidated two-story buildings.  A colleague who lived on the bottom floor once had to fight off a rat with a broom.  There's a balcony, which is great for summer but the doors needed to be taped up and insulated during winter because cold air would come through.  The heating was not adequate and that's a no no for a place where temperatures sink to -30 in the winter.  Another colleague told me he would go to bed hugging a small plug-in heater during the winter.  Maybe at this point they've moved the teachers out of that place, but it's worth inquiring.  (The school was promising to move the teachers into a newer building for years but finally turned that building into student housing.)

3.  The school has "international" in the name, but there weren't any international students there during my tenure.  The school formerly was called Star College and there's plenty of scathing reviews online of the place when it went under that name.  The only thing "international" is what you are bringing to the table with your presence, but don't expect to be treated with much respect.  

4.  The school is half an hour away from the city center by bus and late night taxis from downtown are expensive.  The area surrounding the school is not attractive in my estimate.  


So there you go.  A little Yin and Yang.  Light and Dark, Moon and Sun.  That's true of almost any school in China, a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Catherine, 


I just received a job offer from Heilongjiang International University, and I too am in the process of negotiating with Steven, or LV, as he seems to go by both. 


After a lot of research I discovered that it used to be named "Star College of Normal University." This explained why is was difficult to find any information on the internet about the school. 


I found this string of posts on Daves ESL Cafe to be enormously informative about it reputation, and what is realistic to expect from my experience there. I'm not sure crappy apartments continue to be an issue, but I'm going to check with people who still work there, regardless.




Also, after reading the contract, I was daunted by the "breach penalty" clause, but then I tracked down this thread on breach penalties in China, and it seems (because I haven't actually gone there yet) that such a thing is normal for China. But I could be wrong. Check out what others have written. 




At the following link is a listing for two job openings, but they also give some information about themselves. I wouldn't be surprised if a proper assessment of the place is somewhere in the middle of the negative reviews some have given it, and the super glossy image it paints of itself at this page. 




The main thing important to me is that management is kind to its employees. The impression I've gotten of Steven / LV from others is that he's a nice guy, and helpful to the foreign teachers he is in charge of handling. This matches the impression I had of him when I interviewed with him two days ago. 


As long as no surprises pop up, think I may accept their offer. If you also do so, I'll see you on campus! 



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Hello Peace263,


Thank you for your message.

Actually, Eslnomad on this forum had informed me that the universityy used to be called Star College, so I came accross the posts on Dave ESL cafe that you mentioned. And they convey quite a good impression of the school.


I also found this video:



I feel the same as you. I would accept the job.

Unfortunately, in the mean time, I told Steven that I was not going to come. I was puzzled and didn't want to leave the offer outstanding.


So it's no more an issue for me. I quite regret it, but it's too late....





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  • 6 months later...
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Hi Catherine,

I have taught at this school from 2009 to 2011.

It is legit, but it has changed name from Star College of Harbin Normal University to Heilongjiang International University.

What my fellow co-worker posted is pretty much accurate.

1. The school is in a campus a 30min drive from the city; the neighborhood is a development zone and does not offer much to an international clientele. They have a very close town catered to chinese students which has pretty much everything though.

2. The school offers teaching jobs in English to non-native. The management is quite conservative and close-minded to modern ideas. However, the school is full of money (you can judge by the infrastructure) and Steven Lv is a very kind, capable and flexible person who has always helped me and other foreign teachers when needed.

3. Students are possibly the worst part: they failed entry examination to better university and you may expect a good 90% (at least) of your students to range from poor-performers to comatose ones.

4. When I was teaching there we were still living in the two old apartment blocks that were described above. The description is quite accurate, though I never had problems with pests.

5. All in all it was a great experience which I am very glad to have done and I would do again.

Hope this helps,


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  • 1 year later...
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Vostochniye skazki

Hello everyone,


Firstly, thank you to all the people above for sharing all the useful information above, it’s been super helpful.


I have been offered an English teaching position at HIU to start this Aug/Sep

2016. The deal is basically a standard university offer, however I have a few questions.


1) Did the school arrange z visa/residence permit and the foreign expert certificate?


2) Who covered the cost for the visa? I ask because HIU have told me I must cover the cost of my visa. I assume by this they mean I cover the cost of the z visa application at my home country China embassy and then after arrival in China they take care of the rest (residence permit and FEC)?


3) Approximately how much is a taxi journey from HIU to Central Street/flood control monument area?


4) Is the teachers’ accommodation far from the teaching buildings? What timeframe are we looking at when walking from apartment to the classroom?


5) Is there a gym on campus that staff/teachers can use? Is the gym decent? Or would I need to look at joining one off campus?



Many thanks in advance for any feedback on the above.

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  • 2 months later...

I live and work at this university, so I can answer a few of your questions:

1. I have no idea I already had these documents as I was here in the same province, just changing jobs.

2. All visa costs are your responsibility to include the cost of a medical exam. HIU doesn't reimburse you for them! If I remember correctly the physical was about 365 Yuan and 10 month visa was 800 Yuan.

3. We are out in the industrial area of Harbin, the 219 bus goes to the bridge in Harbin and you can taxi from there. The bus costs 2 Yuan and taxis are whatever the meter says or the driver says! Door to door is over a 100 Yuan and even more at night as many drivers do not want to come out this far as they will not pick up a fare going back into the city. HIU has a loyal group of gypsy cab drivers out the back gate and you can usually work out something reasonable for fare. I have a driver that I like and use for everything, he doesn't talk on his phone when driving, he wears his seat belt and stops for red lights!

4. Our housing is the end of a students dorm that has been renovated into flats. It is fine for China and the only expense is internet. It is a 5 minute walk to building 3 and 10 minutes to building 1. It is a little longer in the winter as snow and ice removal are not done as quickly as I am used to living in Germany. Also, they do not salt the roads or sidewalks at all. Just something to think about if walking on ice can be a problem for you, it is for me.

5. We have a gym and I know where it is but I can honestly say in 5 terms of teaching here, I have never been in the building. Other foreign teachers pay to use the gym at the university across the street. It is cheap and supposedly much better, and the cost is less than a 1000 yuan a year.

If you have any other questions, let me know I would be happy to answer them. I love teaching here and can honestly say it is one of the easiest jobs I have had in a long time! Then again I am an older woman, who takes teaching  seriously and not just using this as a way to finance boozing my way through China as so many others do!

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