Teach in China FAQ

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Teach in China Program


How is one accepted and then placed in the Teach in China program?

Instructions for application to Teach in China can be found here.  The Chinese Cultural Exchange Program maintains relationships with 15 educational institutions in 7 cities (Partner Institutions), and places Teach in China participants in 5 cities at 9 of these institutions.  Maintaining such a variety of relationships allows for a wide variety of 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.


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 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 4,000-4,500 RMB per month (approximately $625-$710)

  • Private, furnished housing

  • Emergency medical insurance

  • Reimbursement for airfare to and from China

  • An additional travel allowance of 1,100 Yuan (approximately $175) 
  • 4-6 week paid vacation between semesters 


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 '16-'17 is $1,950 for non-Drake 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 procedure and program year.
  • A four-day training in May 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.  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 all included.
  • 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—$220
  • One-way airline ticket to China—Approx. $1,000 (reimbursed at end of first semester)
  • Medical exams, pre- and post-departure—$50
  • Vaccinations, if needed—Approx. $100
  • Work permit, if not reimbursed by school—$80
  • Excess baggage fee, if not reimbursed by school—$50
  • Initial household expenses—Approximately $250
  • First month’s daily expenses—Approximately $250

Total—Approximately $2,000

Does the Chinese Cultural Exchange Program arrange for 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 Director to apply for their visas.  Program participants are responsible for booking their own tickets to arrive in Beijing by the date requested by the program for the in-country portion of the training and orientation. 


What type of accommodations are provided for me?

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 foreign students or University faculty.


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 $175) 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. 


What kind of health or medical insurance will be 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, CCEP requires participants to purchase the International Student Identity Card for major medical emergency coverage.  Partner institutions will provide this or similar 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 medical emergency.  For information about program liability, please see the participant's Statement of Participation.


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 as well, 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, how will I be able to afford paying them back after graduation?

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. More information can be found here.


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

Click here for more information.

2015-2016 Drake University Teach in China Program Calendar

10/2015-2/2016   Director conducts class visits, informational sessions

12/1/15    Application process begins (application instructions here)

3/1/16    Teach in China application deadline. 

  Applicant interviews with program staff

3/7/16  Program admission decisions announced

3/28/16    Deadline for accepted participants to submit program deposit of $250 to Drake Student Accounts Office

Mid-April    Teaching placements announced

5/2/16    Registration deadline for Teach in China Training (CRN 2283), remaining $1,250 of program fee due.

5/16/16-5/19/16    On-campus participant training (administrative and TESL training).  All required support materials (materials for invitation letters, physical examination, ISIC card, etc.) must be completed prior to the beginning of training.

Late July    Participants receive invitation letters from Chinese institution, apply for visa with Chinese consulate.

8/24/16, 5:00 p.m. (To be confirmed)  Participants meet in Beijing, bus to Shijiazhuang for in-country training (Chinese language, cultural orientation, home-stays, cultural outing).

8/29/16 (TBC)  Training ends.  Participants placed in Hebei picked up by representatives of placement institutions, taken for medical examinations in Shijiazhuang, taken to placement institutions.  Participants placed outside of Hebei depart Shijiazhuang for placement city.

9/1/16 (TBC)     Fall semester begins at placement institutions


University News
October 20, 2016
The Comparison Project will present the third event in its 2016–2017 series on death and dying. A community interfaith dialogue on Oct. 27 will feature representatives of three different refugee religions in Des Moines.