Living in Cambodia and China: Interview With An English Teacher Abroad

Living in Cambodia and China: Interview With An English Teacher Abroad


In case you’re contemplating instructing overseas in Asia, this submit is for you. Good pals of ours that we met whereas residing in China, Jen and Stevo, have taught English overseas in China, Cambodia, and on-line for a complete of seven years!

They positively know the ins and outs of any such job. 

Learn on to be taught what it’s prefer to reside in China and Cambodia, what an English trainer can count on to receives a commission, what {qualifications} you’ll want and extra. Plus, they share what it’s like to show English on-line. 

Right here we go!

Thanks for chatting with us! Please inform everybody a bit about yourselves.

Hey, we’re Jen and Stevo! We’re initially from southern California within the US, however we’ve been residing overseas in Asia since 2011.

We had at all times wished to journey collectively, however on the time we had been each residing with our households and we didn’t have a lot cash saved but to do it. So we determined to maneuver overseas to show English so we might work, journey, and save.

We had deliberate to go overseas for a 12 months and journey for just a few months after we completed our instructing contracts. After that first 12 months, we realized we cherished residing overseas and loved instructing.

Jen and Stevo attempting tarantula at a restaurant in Cambodia

We had been additionally excited concerning the potentialities of carving our personal path. So we stored going!

We taught in faculties for seven years in China and Cambodia.

We traveled as a lot as doable between our instructing contracts and through faculty holidays. Now we train English on-line so we are able to journey full-time!

Proper now we’re in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We arrived simply earlier than the nation shut their borders and have been quarantined at a home sit right here since mid-March 2020. Earlier than Malaysia, we had been in Thailand for 2 months.

What made you determine to grow to be lecturers? Did you’ve got any prior expertise?

Instructing was a way for us to go overseas and have new experiences, in order that’s what drew us to it. Each of us had prior expertise working with youngsters and instructing a bit.

I had volunteered as a trainer within the Cambodian countryside for six months after graduating from college in 2009. Stevo had been a swimming teacher for a few years and likewise labored with particular wants and at-risk youngsters in California.

So whereas neither of us had ever taught ESL in a proper classroom setting, we did have some expertise.

We did a TESOL certification (Instructing English to Audio system of Different Languages) course in California earlier than we left for China. However truthfully, nothing really prepares you for instructing in a classroom like simply doing it and studying by expertise!

The place on this planet have you ever taught English? How did you discover your instructing jobs? 

In China we’ve taught in Mudanjiang, Shanghai, and Yangzhou (the place we met the Goats in 2013!) and Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

We’ve discovered instructing jobs in a number of alternative ways.

In 2011, the corporate we bought our TESOL certificates by supplied job placement and linked us to recruiters, which is how we discovered our first job.

To seek out our subsequent instructing jobs in China, we used web sites like Dave’s ESL Cafe and TeachAway. We bought linked to extra recruiters by these job posting websites they usually steadily messaged us about job openings.

We had a Skype interview for the job we took in Yangzhou, China whereas we had been touring in Cambodia.

For the job in Shanghai, whereas we had been residing in Yangzhou, we went to the varsity twice for in-person interviews.

Once we moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2015, we didn’t have instructing jobs lined up.

Cambodia doesn’t have anyplace close to the trainer recruiting techniques arrange for faculties like China does. So we went round to varsities to drop off resumes in individual and contacted faculties instantly by their web sites and by cellphone.

We additionally utilized contacts we had made on earlier journeys to Cambodia who had been very beneficiant to attach us to individuals. We each discovered jobs in Phnom Penh inside a few months.

What was your expertise like instructing English in China and Cambodia?! 

We’ve had a extremely blended bag of experiences instructing in China and Cambodia.

Our first job in Mudanjiang, China was at a language middle for teenagers ages 4-16. We had been the one two international lecturers at our faculty and we each taught a whole lot of scholars each week, transferring from classroom to classroom.

The truth is, we didn’t see one other foreigner in that metropolis in any respect for the primary two months that we lived there!

Actually, we hadn’t seemed too carefully at the place Mudanjiang was on a map earlier than signing our contracts. It turned out that it’s within the northeast pocket of China, sandwiched between Russia and North Korea.

Town had under 0° temperatures for six months out of the 12 months. We bought icicles on our eyelashes strolling to work!

Being in such a distant a part of China meant that we would have liked to be taught Chinese language to outlive. We ended up studying fairly a bit simply by residing there.

jen and stevo teaching in china
Jen and Stevo at certainly one of their faculties in China

We bought shut with a few of our college students’ households and ended up making some good pals. Certainly one of our college students ultimately moved to the US for faculty and he even spent a few Christmases with our households in California!

Dwelling in Mudanjiang was fairly an expertise, one we’re glad we had however wouldn’t repeat.

After that 12 months in the course of nowhere, we had been able to be someplace with extra happening and a much bigger expat neighborhood.

Our subsequent jobs had been at an IELTS coaching middle in Yangzhou, China. We had been instructing college students who had been getting ready to take their IELTS exams so they might proceed their research overseas in English-speaking nations.

Our college students had been in highschool, college, and adults, so it was very completely different from our first job. We loved having extra in-depth conversations with older college students.

The neighborhood of different lecturers and expats in Yangzhou was a lot enjoyable! There have been at all times issues happening, and we’ve got such good reminiscences with the individuals we met there, together with Nick and Dariece!

us and jen and steve thailand
After instructing in the identical metropolis (Yangzhou), we met up once more in Bangkok, Thailand!

We additionally continued finding out Chinese language by web sites like Memrise and ended up getting licensed for HSK degree 2 Chinese language language proficiency throughout our time there.

We traveled to Shanghai a number of instances whereas residing in Yangzhou because it was only a four-hour practice journey away. We cherished town and determined we wished to maneuver there subsequent to show.

Within the 2013-2014 faculty 12 months we bought jobs as homeroom lecturers at a giant worldwide faculty about an hour exterior town middle. I taught first grade and Stevo taught third grade.

We actually favored being homeroom lecturers and having our personal courses, however the faculty itself was a depressing place to be in numerous methods.

Stevo and I are very constructive and hardworking lecturers, however the atmosphere there was sporting on us. We tried to enhance issues and stick it out, however ultimately we broke our contracts and left that job.

We had been the ninth and 10th lecturers to stop the varsity that 12 months.

Whereas working at that faculty wasn’t an amazing expertise, we met so many superior individuals in Shanghai and cherished residing within the metropolis.

Whereas we had been there, Stevo began doing get up comedy on the Kung Fu Komedy Membership. His comedy has since grow to be a giant a part of our travels!

Did it’s essential have any {qualifications} to get a job instructing in China and Cambodia? 

To get a instructing job in China, you often want a college diploma and not less than a 120-hour TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certificates. Prior instructing expertise isn’t at all times crucial, however you possibly can earn extra money in case you have instructing expertise.

In Cambodia, it’s simpler to discover a job on the greater worldwide faculties in case you have a level, a TEFL or comparable certification, and instructing expertise.

two can travel jen and stevo

It’s doable to discover a job at an English language faculty for those who don’t have a level, and we met many lecturers in that place.

As I discussed earlier, when discovering a instructing job in Cambodia it may be simpler to use as soon as you’re really within the nation and may go to faculties your self.

The exception to that is in case you are a really skilled and certified trainer and are making use of to work at a giant worldwide faculty.

In that case, it’s higher to use from overseas as a result of you’ll often be supplied extra advantages in your contract, reminiscent of flights. It’s at all times a good suggestion to take a look at faculty web sites forward of time to see what their necessities are and what their trainer hiring course of entails.

How a lot does an English trainer in China and Cambodia earn per 30 days? 

I’ll break up them up into the completely different jobs we had:

Mudanjiang, China

At our first jobs in Mudanjiang, China we had been instructing about 30 hours per week, six days per week and made about $1200 USD per 30 days.

The college was an extracurricular program for college students so we primarily taught within the afternoons, early evenings and on weekends.

The college supplied us with a two-bedroom house that was a few 10-minute stroll from the varsity. We additionally bought compensation for our flights to and from China, 4 weeks paid go away, and medical insurance coverage.

Yangzhou, China

Our subsequent jobs in Yangzhou paid about $1600 USD per 30 days, and we labored 5 days per week. We by no means had weekends off since these had been the busiest instances for college students, so our off days had been at all times mid-week.

Housing wasn’t included in our contract, however we discovered an amazing house for $400 a month and acquired bicycles so we might journey to high school and get across the metropolis simply.

Medical insurance coverage was lined by that job, they usually paid for our flights to and from China. Additionally they lined a visit for us to Hong Kong after we wanted to resume our visas!

Hilarious Snowmen and X-Rated Snow Creations From China
Yangzhou in winter

Shanghai, China

Our jobs in Shanghai paid about $2200 USD per 30 days.

Housing wasn’t included, however we had high tier medical insurance coverage they usually paid for our flights to and from China. The college supplied bus pickup for lecturers who lived within the metropolis to get to and from faculty, which took slightly over an hour every method.

We bought a few weeks of paid trip in the course of the Chinese language New Yr vacation, however in any other case bought little or no time without work. We even needed to work on Christmas, which felt so unusual!

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In Cambodia, I labored at a small worldwide faculty all three years we had been there instructing first grade. I made between $1700-1800 per 30 days.

My faculty supplied some medical compensation, and we had a three-week paid winter vacation.

One unlucky half was that my contracts had been 10 months lengthy, so I wasn’t paid for the summer season holidays. Although I did actually respect that point off so we might journey!

Stevo labored at a number of completely different faculties in Phnom Penh as a trainer and administrator, and whilst an IT specialist and swimming trainer. He made anyplace from $1300-$1800 per 30 days. We had bicycles to get across the metropolis, or took tuk-tuks.

Negotiate Your Price!

One factor to know is that you would be able to at all times negotiate your contract earlier than you signal. State your case for why you need increased pay or extra advantages based mostly in your expertise, work ethic, and what you possibly can convey to the job. The worst they will say isn’t any.

What are the professionals and cons of instructing overseas in China and Cambodia?

We’re so glad that we had each experiences working and residing in China and Cambodia.

China is a really thrilling place to be. The tradition, the meals, the language, the surroundings, it’s all so numerous and completely different from anyplace we had lived earlier than.

Every single day felt like an journey. So far as instructing goes, the pay in China tends to be increased, so that could be a particular professional.

There have been frustrations at instances residing in China. Once we first moved there, daily was difficult since we didn’t converse the language and actually nothing in that metropolis was in English.

We discovered a number of months in that the restaurant throughout the road from our house constructing was referred to as “Canine Meat Restaurant.” Fortunately it was costly, so we had by no means eaten there!

Once we had been in a foul state of affairs with our jobs in Shanghai, life was not-so-fun.

By the point we left China in 2014, we had been greater than able to go. However we realized so much by all of our completely different experiences instructing in China about what we wished and didn’t need for our work/life steadiness.

Once we moved to Cambodia, we knew we wished to reside near the place we labored to chop down on our commute time. We additionally cherished the free feeling of residing in Southeast Asia, and actually appreciated the climate!

Cambodia is a fantastic nation with such pleasant individuals. Though we made much less cash than in China, our bills had been additionally decrease, and our general happiness was a lot increased.

Life was higher in Cambodia

It’s necessary to nail down what the priorities are in your life, and to know when one thing isn’t working and make a change.

There are such a lot of execs to instructing in faculties. Connecting with co-workers, college students, and their households might be the most effective half.

The cons, as many lecturers can attest to, are coping with administration and faculty homeowners whose focus is on the cash coming into the varsity.

It may be irritating understanding modifications should be made to assist your college students, however not having a lot management to make these modifications. On the finish of the day, until you’re at a public faculty, most colleges are run as companies first.

You now train English on-line with VIPKID! Would you suggest on-line instructing? 

Our solely remorse with on-line instructing is that we didn’t begin doing it sooner! We had no concept how nice it could be, and the way a lot freedom it could give us!

We now have been instructing on-line with VIPKID since Might 2019. We love the corporate as a result of you possibly can design your individual schedule, there’s minimal lesson prep, and it’s truthfully actually enjoyable!

Working with college students is the most effective a part of instructing, and we get to give attention to that.

To this point we’ve taught on-line from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and the USA.

teaching online in malaysia
Jen instructing English on-line from Malaysia

Since we design our personal schedules we are able to take time without work after we need to. This previous 12 months we took a month off from instructing to journey in Bali. We additionally spent two months within the US with our households over the vacation season and barely taught throughout that point.

Instructing on-line additionally frees us as much as work on different tasks and issues we’re captivated with.

I’ve began teaching different aspiring on-line lecturers by the hiring course of with VIPKID. That has been actually enjoyable and rewarding since I do know firsthand how life-changing on-line instructing might be!

VIPKID solely hires lecturers from the USA and Canada. It’s worthwhile to have a Bachelor’s diploma and not less than one 12 months of expertise working with youngsters, whether or not that’s as a trainer, a tutor, a mentor, a babysitter, and so on.

In case you don’t meet these {qualifications} (reminiscent of not having a college diploma), there are many different on-line instructing platforms on the market that rent English lecturers from a lot of completely different backgrounds.

Click on right here to be taught extra about changing into an English trainer with VIPKID and dealing anyplace on this planet!

Any remaining recommendation for an aspiring English trainer?

Instructing overseas is an incredible alternative to immerse your self in one other tradition.

Attending to work with native individuals and along with your college students and their households provides you an opportunity to get to know a spot significantly better than you probably might as a vacationer.

The buddies you make whereas residing overseas could grow to be lifelong friends. The experiences you share at that distinctive level in your lives can actually bond you.

Instructing, for those who take pleasure in it, may be very rewarding. Studying a brand new language is a ability that may serve your college students for his or her complete lives, so it’s superior to assist inspire them and see their progress.

Instructing on-line is superb for various causes. We now have a lot freedom now to journey after we need to, design our personal schedules, and spend extra time on different tasks and actions that we couldn’t match into our schedules earlier than.

If you’re pursuing the digital nomad life-style, instructing on-line is an effective way to generate income whilst you construct up different streams of revenue.

Many on-line lecturers use it to totally fund their travels. The necessary factor is to determine a steadiness between instructing and touring that works for you.

In case you have any questions on instructing overseas in China or Cambodia or instructing on-line, try our web site. 

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