What to Expect if You’re Teaching English in China For The First Time

Teaching in China is one of the best ways to travel, earn money, and learn about a new culture. It can be intimidating at first, but the more you teach English in China the easier it gets. Here are five things to expect if you’re teaching English in China for the first time. 

Expect to:

Learn some Chinese vocabulary

When it’s your first time teaching English in China, expect to learn some Chinese vocabulary. You can’t expect to teach effectively without knowing some basic words and phrases. You will learn these quickly as you are immersed in Chinese culture, but it helps if you know a few common words before you start teaching. For example, words like please, thank you, and welcome are common phrases you can learn.

This makes the interaction between you and your students much easier. You can also learn some basic words and phrases to use with students like numbers, colours, and days of the week.

Meet different cultures

China is the world’s largest population and has over 53 ethnic groups, each with its own unique culture. You will be immersed in this diverse country and have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.

This allows you to learn about new cultures, traditions and customs. It is important to respect other people’s beliefs and values as well as follow local laws and customs. For example, during certain holidays, many Chinese families visit each other and celebrate together. You may be invited to join the celebrations, but remember that you must ask before doing so.

You can expect to be invited to these occasions because the Chinese consider them an honour. However, if you are not interested in attending these events, it is important that you politely decline. If you do decide to attend, remember to bring a gift that matches the occasion.

Try different foods

With different cultures, come different cuisines. When you are teaching English in China for the first time, expect to try a lot of new foods. The Chinese are very proud of their cuisine and love to share it with others. However, if you do not like certain foods, remember that it is important to be polite about saying no.

Other than Chinese cuisine, there are many other foods that you can try in China. This is a great way to experience different cultures and get to know your students better. For example, in Shanghai, you can try duck meat at a local restaurant. In Beijing, you can sample Peking Duck. If you are in Guangzhou, you can try the local delicacy of dim sum. You might even get to try new types of meat if you are in the right place at the right time!

You can make this experience fun by making your own cultural delicacies and sharing them with friends. This shows your students that you want to learn about their culture, and it can be a fun way for them to learn about yours.

Make new friends and connections

While moving to china can be an exciting experience, some teachers have found making new friends a little bit daunting. You may not know anyone in your new city, and this can make it difficult to feel at home, but it’s one of the things to expect.

As you teach English in China, you’re sure to meet some amazing new people. There are lots of ways to make friends in China, including joining a club or finding an apartment to share with other teachers. You can also take part in language exchanges or meet locals through volunteering opportunities.

Creating new work connections is also a possibility when you first start teaching in China. You can meet other English teachers in your city through local forums or Facebook groups. It’s a good idea to get out there and socialize as soon as you arrive so that you don’t feel alone for too long.

Experience Homesickness

It is normal to miss home once you arrive in China for the first time. During the first few weeks, things are usually fun and exciting, but it’s around the sixth week that you start to experience the dreaded ‘homesick blues’. 

You might start feeling homesick for your family, friends and home country. It can be difficult to adjust to a new culture and lifestyle after spending a long time away from home, but it’s nothing to worry about. 

Fortunately, there are different ways to cope with this struggle. For example, you could start creating connections with people who have similar interests as yours. This will nurture an environment where you want to do things rather than just stay in and feel sick.

You can also utilize public holidays like the long week, to explore the country. It is important to know that feeling homesick is normal. It is a part of every expat’s life at some point in time. You just have to be patient and accept it as part of your journey and make the best out of it.


Landing in China for the first time can be challenging, but it’s the best way to experience the country. You have to be patient and accept that it takes time for you to adjust. Fortunately, China is a diverse nation and has a lot to offer. You can always make the most out of your situation and learn something new every day.

Regardless of any new experience, remember to always prioritize your job as a teacher. This is the most important part of your life, and it should not be taken for granted. 

As a teacher, you have the chance to make a difference in the lives of children. It is not just about teaching them how to speak English but also about instilling values and morals that will last with them for years to come. Remember that you are an inspiration to your students, and everything you do will have an impact on them.

If you are looking for an opportunity to teach English in China, Top Tutor Job can help.

Contact us today.

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