Teach in China Frequently Asked Questions

Below please find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Teach in China Program.

Do you need to be a U.S. citizen to participate in Teach in China?

In order for our partner schools in China to secure work visas for our teachers they must be native speakers of English or have developed near-native proficiency in English AND hold a passport from a country where English is widely considered a dominant language. While nearly all of the placements made through the program have been for English teachers (some of whom have come from countries other than the U.S., such as India, Trinidad and the Philippines) we have had a couple of teachers from other countries teach their native language that are also taught at our partner schools (such as Japanese, Russian and Spanish).

What is the application and placement process?

Please visit our How to Apply page for detailed instructions on the application. Teach in China places participants in 5 cities at 9 of the Chinese Cultural Exchange Program's Partner Institutions. Maintaining such a variety of relationships allows for diverse placement options for Teach in China participants. Applicants are asked to consider the level of students they prefer to teach (middle school, high school or college), desired size of city of placement, and proximity to other program participants. Applicants sharing more details about their goals in participating in the program allows program staff to determine which placement is most appropriate for each applicant. While individual participants' preferences guide the placement process, the needs of the entire group of teachers as well as those of our partner schools are also taken into consideration. Participants who are able to demonstrate previous teaching, tutoring, mentoring or other educational leadership experience will be given placement priority.

What is the timeline for the entire program from application to departure?

Click here to see the Program Calendar for Teach in China 2017-2018.

What are the fees for the Teach in China program and what do these program fees cover?

The program fee for the Teach in China Program 2017-2018 is $1,950 for non-Drake University students and $1,500 for Drake students. 

This fee includes:

  • Placement and negotiation of participants' teaching contracts
  • Ongoing in-country and Drake-based support throughout the placement process and program year.
  • A four-day training in May at Drake which covers visa and contract procedures as well as 15-hour certification training for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
  • A five-day training in Beijing and Shijiazhuang in August prior to the beginning of your teaching assignment which includes 9 hours of basic Chinese language instruction, an orientation to the culture and history of China, experiential learning exercises, and a home-stay to help teachers adjust to living in China. This includes travel from Beijing to Shijiazhuang, accommodations, a group outing, breakfast and lunch during the five days in Shijiazhuang, as well as transportation to your placement location.
  • ISIC Card
  • Enrollment in the US Embassy's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

Are there additional expenses I would need to prepare for before leaving for China?

There are some additional expenses participants should plan to cover prior to receiving their first paycheck, following their first month of teaching in September. There is also a slight variation in which of the post-arrival expenses are reimbursed by partners schools, and a range of how much participants spend on household and daily expenses.

Apart from the program fee, participants should be prepared to cover the following expenses prior to departure:

  • Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations Background Check--$15
  • Passport, if needed—$110
  • Visa—$140
  • One-way airline ticket to China—Approx. $1,000 (reimbursed by school of employment)
  • Medical exams, pre- and post-departure—$50
  • Vaccinations, if needed—Approx. $100
  • Work permit—$80 (may be reimbursed by school)
  • Excess baggage fee—$50 (may be reimbursed by school)
  • Initial household expenses—Approximately $250
  • First month’s daily expenses—Approximately $250

Total—Approximately $2,000

Does the program staff make my visa and travel arrangements?

Program participants are provided all necessary materials required to apply for their entry visas as well as instruction on application during the program training and they themselves work with the Program Coordinator to apply for their visas.  Program participants are responsible for booking their own tickets to arrive in Beijing by the date specified by the program for the in-country portion of the training and orientation.

What are the terms of my employment?

In return for teaching an average of 14-16 hours per week, program teachers will receive:

  • A salary of 4,000-5,000 RMB per month (approximately $575-$725)

  • Private, furnished housing

  • Emergency medical insurance

  • Reimbursement for airfare to and from China

  • An additional travel allowance of 1,100 RMB (approximately $160)
  • 4-6 week paid vacation between semesters

What type of accommodations are provided?

Program participants are provided individual housing by their host institution as part of their compensation. While the quality of accommodations vary slightly between institutions, all housing includes private bathrooms, telephone, and television. Accommodations are comparable to those provided to foreign students or university faculty.

What kind of health or medical insurance is provided?

Partner institutions provide emergency medical coverage for program participants and often do not cover expenses associated with routine illness.  Since specific terms of the medical coverage provided by our partner institutions varies slightly, Teach in China purchases on behalf of participants the International Student Identity Card for major medical emergency coverage. 

Partner institutions will provide an insurance policy to program participants. Program applicants are asked to provide information about special medical needs during the application process so that proper arrangements can be made with partner institutions to ensure medical care can be correctly administered in case of an emergency.

Will I be able to travel during my time in China?

Program participants who teach for a year at a partner institution are provided a stipend (approximately $160) for travel during the interim Spring Festival break between semesters (mid-January to mid-February) and teachers are often allowed to travel during national holidays in October and May.

How safe is it to work and live in China?

While crime rates in China are very low, and most foreigners report feeling physically very safe, depending on your location it is not uncommon for foreigners to be the target of pickpockets and other petty criminals when out in public (especially at tourists sites and markets). While some program participants live within the grounds of their host institutions, which are enclosed and guarded, or in dormitories or apartments that have additional guards, others are provided apartments outside of the school grounds. Much care is taken on behalf of the Foreign Affairs Offices of partner institutions to protect the safety of foreign teachers.
 
For more information on safety in China, see the Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet on P.R. China.

If I am graduating with students loans, will I be able to afford payments while in China?

All federally-guaranteed loans can be paid back on an income-based scale. Given the amount of compensation received through the Teach in China program, participants can most often either qualify for very low or no monthly payments, or apply to receive an economic hardship deferment from their lending institutions. This allows graduates to defer paying their student loans until after they return from the Teach in China program but applicants are encouraged to check the terms of their loan agreements and call their lending institutions to ensure they can receive such a payment schedule or deferment. Such deferment is rarely given for private loans.

Find more information about loan repayment options at the Federal Student Aid webpage.

Do I have to pay taxes on my earnings in China?

Please visit the IRS website for more information.

Who do I contact with more questions?

If you have further questions or would like clarification about information found here, please contact Stephanie Dana, program coordinator (515-271-3075).

University News
December 7, 2016
President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a 1974 alumnus of Drake University Law School, to serve as ambassador to China.
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