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Should I accept this job offer? 5000rmb/month


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German University graduate here (BA), 24-years-old,

fluent in English (9+ years of studies, ability to understand university-level academic texts in the fields of economy, history, social sciences etc.), can't speak Chinese :wall, but can speak conversational Japanese and have learned quite a lot of the 常用漢字 which means I am able to understand written Chinese to some degree (and be able to pick it up faster? maybe).


I was offered a job teaching English at a University in Chengde, located 160km north of Beijing:


- duration: 1 year

- payment: 5000 rmb/month (seems quite low... but maybe it's enough to lead a decent life there?)

- free accommodation & transport



What's your opinion? Does it seem like a good deal, considering the fact that I'm no native speaker?


I'm also thinking about giving private lessons (did the same in Japan and it paid quite well) during my free time.


Hope to get some opinions.

Thank you!

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You don't say what the weekly hours are but 5k seems too low to accept even if you're not a native speaker.


Apartment includes utilities or just rent? Is it shared or your own? What kind of transport? Where will you live you in relation to the centre of the city and the University?


Note that your visa would be tied to your employer and any work on the side would technically be illegal. If it was 1on1 it would be tough to get caught but still worth knowing.


I've been to Chengde for the weekend and I wouldn't want to stay there any longer than that. It's a small place (at least by Chinese standards) and has some great cultural sights. Beyond these I'm not sure there is much to do.


In terms of spending power, 5k might be okay as there isn't really anything to spend your money on there. However, once you leave there the money you have might not go so far.


Speaking Chinese or not doesn't hold any bearing on an English teaching job in terms of payment or even employability. Well, not really and not for most jobs.


I know some non-native speakers in Beijing on around 12k a month.


Overall though, if you want to immerse yourself in China, study the language a lot, make Chinese friends ... then it might be okay.

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Thanks for replying. I can provide more information now...


- max. 16x45min  of teaching/week ( :clap)    /////// lots of free time?

- salary 5000 RMB/month

- 2400 RMB for travels (one-time payment )

- they'll pay for a round-trip flight ticket to Beijing

- individual room incl. bathroom on campus (+ some kind of maid who will be changing my bedsheets, lol. unthinkable in Japan)

- other German people on the campus (feeling neutral about this)

- holidays = same amount that regular students are receiving


..and they don't want me to do extra lessons during my free time)




@889: hahaha I watched a video of Kissinger on Youtube... I pretty sure that I don't sound as German as he did.

          (Did a little background check on him, Kissinger's family lived in an area of Germany where people are speaking with a strong accent... I'm pretty sure that he wasn't even able to speak standard [high] German.)

Anyhow people around me are telling me that my English sounds decent [Americans] ...and I don't have pronunciation problems when it comes to Japanese as well.

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From teachers I met over in China 5000 sounds fairly low, so I guess it depends on why you are wanting to go?  


If its for an experience of small city China, a chance to interact with Chinese people on a daily basis and learn Mandarin it would be a good opportunity. If its to make a bit of money and improve your CV before looking for graduate jobs then its a fairly rough deal.


Finally with regards to private tuition ,from my experience of being university at a large developed city Hangzhou and a smaller less developed one Liaocheng. You won't necessarily easily find people wanting to pay for 1-1 tuition. In hangzhou essentially any english speaking foreigner could find a tutor job at 150-250 kuai an hour. In Liaocheng I didn't here of it once - simply because people dont have the budget.


Best of luck,

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I'd say 5000 is pretty bad. But then, some people volunteer and do it for free.

Having said that, the workload is quite light. It depends on what your purpose for going is. If it's for making money, then it's not worth it. On the other hand, if you want to learn Chinese, your schedule would give you plenty of time to do that.

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I'd still try find out more about Chengde if I were you ... it is close-ish to Beijing so you could come down for weekends. However, unless you're looking at throwing yourself into learning Chinese (and spending most of your time doing that) then I'm not sure what kind of a place it would be to live. There are some nice mountains around that you could probably climb too.


If you're partial to a drink at weekends, you'll have to come to Beijing. We managed to find one decent bar when we visited. A lot of information online was dated with written about 'bar streets' no longer existing. If you just want Tsingdao and BBQ you'd probably be okay though ..

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I would like to do a comparison:


While studying in Japan I was living on a budget of 130.000 Yen/month (1000 €),

paying a rent of 50.000 Yen/month (~380 €, sharing the place with 2 other people! but it was a really spacious apartment, built maybe just 4 years ago, 30min away from the center of Tokyo).


.... that left me with 80.000 Yen (600 €) to spend on everything else

(food, insurance, transport etc. - and by no means I was living a meager life.

Going to bars & Izakayas regularly [2-3 h of all-you-can-drink + food= 15-20€], travelling, dating, buying books, going to the Game Centers

ofc I was avoiding expensive imported food like "real" cheese, wine, some fruits, didn´t smoke, cutting down on alcohol, using the bicycle...)


Considering the fact that China is cheaper than Japan (it has to be, come on.. the monthly average in Chengde is 3000RMB)

5000 RMB (700 €) seem to be more than enough to me.  I can´t imagine myself to spend all of it. (btw I hate going to clubs, to me they are just rip-off places, I spent 70€ in Tokyo/one night)

Maybe some of you are interested in comparing the cost of living, this site´s numbers seem to be accurate

-> http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=Japan&city=Saitama



 I would like to use my free time mainly to study Chinese (and of course I want to keep in touch with Japanese, too)

and to do some training (need to get in shape :P)

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Hey there,


I lived and worked in the same province in a slightly larger city from 2013-1014. During that time I was on a similar wage to the one you are being offered. In my case, the university provided an apartment, a set amount for utility bills and paid holidays - which I think is fairly standard when working for a university. Overall, I found that amount of money adequate to live and travel on. It is also possible to save money if you are willing to go without some creature comforts.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

One mans opinion – you could be doing and making a lot more with that time spent. 5000 RMB is about the lowest paying ESL job for a foreigner you'll find in this country.


I shouldn't recruit on forums, but the school that I'm teaching at (in the Zhejiang province), is looking to hire someone now and they will pay roughly double that.  


If you want to talk more you can add me on WeChat or send me a message. My WeCHat ID: kh769


Good luck! 

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