Tag Archives: teach English abroad

Visa update for teaching English in China

PU Letter is not required anymore

As of July 1, 2022, a PU Letter will no longer be required to apply for a Chinese business M-visa, as per the announcement of the Chinese Embassies in Italy, France, the UK, and Singapore.

On June 13, 2022, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States released a Notice with new information about the scope and procedure of visa acceptance, stating that the PU letter is no longer required for the application for China Z-visa and that includes teachers who want to teach English in China.

First of all, we need to know what Z visa is.  China Work visa (Z Visa) is issued to those who have obtained employment permit and intend to work in China. A Chinese government issued working permit or employment license is required. 

Foreigners who intend to go to work in mainland China can apply for a Z-visa presenting the required materials, which no longer include the submission of an Invitation Letter (PU Letter).

What effect the PU Letter had on immigration

With the cancellation of PU letter requirements, the immigration process needed to enter China will be much shorter and less complicated.

Since March 2020, the PU letter was required when foreigners need to apply for work visa, business travel visa or dependent visa for China. The PU letter applications have been a great challenge for many applicants as it took a long time to get the PU letter, sometimes up to 2-3 months. The PU letter is not issued to dependents separately for a certain period of time which has resulted in long separation of the family and lengthy immigration process.

Recently, a notice from the government authorities in Shanghai notified PU letter applicants, effective from 6th June 2022, the PU Letter will no longer be issued for applicants who need to relocate to China for a work purpose (Z visa applicant) and their accompanying family members (S1 visa applicant).

The Chinese government has now started to put focus on action plans to accelerate economic recovery.

It is expected that the strict controls on immigration will be gradually loosen up with a further lifting on quarantine requirements for inbound travelers in the near future.

Who will be affected?

Foreigners who want to work in China. This policy definitely opens the door for teachers who have been wanting to teach English in China Are you ready for the adventure again? With the border being open again, On the Mark Education is looking for more than 300 teachers to teach English in China. Don’t hesitate to apply now.

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7 Ideas for Your First Lesson in Russia

The academic year has begun but (pandemic or no pandemic) teachers arrive in Moscow throughout the year. This means it’s never a bad time to talk about first lessons when you teach English in Russa.

1) Say Hello

Unless you’re a teaching kindergarten try to dress in a smart shirt and trousers to convey a similar level of authority as your Russian counterparts. It’s important that the students understand how to say your name so it’s helpful to write this on the board and drill it with the students. Ask them their names and try to make a mental of physical note of them. This will be useful later when you need to get their attention. Warming up the classroom by doing will be a great help when you first start teach English in Russia.

2) Set the Rules

Make sure the rules for the class are clear and easy to see. You can ask the students what you think they are before clarifying. I usually just have: 1) Speak English, 2) Be nice; 3) Listen to Mr Duncan. Once they are displayed on the board you can tap your pen gently next to them to get the students’ attention and let them know what rule they are breaking.

3) Try to Mingle

Once the rules are set, try to do a mingle activity where the students need to speak to each other and find out different kinds of information (like in a survey). You will need to demonstrate this to them first so they understand what to do. Make sure you have enough copies for everyone in the class.

4) Flashcards are your Friend

Teach English in Russia

If you have a class of younger or lower level students, it is unlikely they will know what to do in a mingle and trying this with them will be chaotic. Instead, print off two sets of flashcards (classroom objects will probably be the most appropriate). Before the lesson, stick some of the objects from one set to the walls. During the lesson, ask the students to stand in a circle (no distractions) and sit with you while you play flashcard games (eg. Pelmanism, hide a card while their eyes are closed, etc.). Once the meaning is clear, you can ask students to get a card for you from the set you have stuck to the walls. The great thing about such activities is that they are easy for students to understand and you can ask them to lead the activities, which takes the pressure away from you when teach English in Russia.

5) Plan for Mixed Levels

Most classes have one or two students who are either above or below the normal level of the class. Try to challenge stronger by adding some more advanced vocabulary to the flashcards so even they can learn something new. Weaker students can be given easier words to work with but still do the same activities.

6) Review What Came Before

If the class has had a teacher before you or is in a further year of study, try to revise what has been previously taught and connect it to the current lesson. For example: if they were learning about geography, it would be a good idea to revise this vocabulary with a game like taboo before moving into a lesson on transport vocabulary.

Teach English in Russia

7) End on a High

Always take the last 5 minutes to end of a positive note. This will round off the lesson nicely and show the students they can have fun in lessons too, rather than watching the clock hoping for the end. If you keep these things in mind when you go into your first classes, you can look forward to less stress and more fun as you start off teaching.

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The Best Options for Internet Access when Traveling

Ways to Get Data When Traveling

I used to travel overseas a few times a year before covid. Of course, nobody was traveling during covid breakout but thankfully, things are more settled now and many countries have opened their borders. Now my traveling bugs are itching me. Though I get very excited about traveling overseas as I get to enjoy local food, culture differences, sightseeing and etc; the only one thing I am not excited about is figuring out how to get data overseas. There are many ways to get data when travelling. 1. Use Your Mobile Provider. 2. Buy a SIM Card for your trip. 3. Use a Mobile Hotspot. 4. Use a specialist roaming SIM. 5. Just use WiFi for Internet Access.

Stop Paying Big Bucks

Having access to the internet when you travel can be an absolute godsend. You can use it to navigate around new cities, find new places to hang out, and keep in touch with friends and family. Plus, remote workers can use a mobile hotspot abroad to work without being tethered to free Wi-Fi.

But there’s no doubt that international data can be frustrating. Buying a local SIM card can be a tedious process, and carriers like AT&T and Verizon charge a huge fee to use data plans abroad.

All the methods above are great but not the best as either they are too expensive or just not stable. The easiest way is using your mobile provider, but international roaming can cost you quite a lot. The real reason international roaming is so expensive is because telecom providers can charge each other as much as they want. The lack of competition leaves no incentive for operators to charge low fees to each other. These inter-operator fees are then passed onto you in high roaming fees.

Have you Heard of eSim?

I recently came to know about eSIM. Have you heard of it? eSIM stands for “electronic Subscriber Identity Module.” Apparently, an eSIM is a SIM card that is embedded in a mobile device and can connect you to any operator offering eSIM services. Furthermore, the eSIM works the same way as a traditional SIM card, but you don’t need a physical SIM card to use it. Sound very convenient, doesn’t it?

I am currently using Airalo eSIM and it is one of the first eSIM marketplaces for iOS and Android. All of the eSIMs available on Airalo are data-only, meaning that they’re not assigned a phone number and cannot make or receive calls or text messages. They do, however, give you ultra-fast mobile data at nearly local prices. This app is incredibly useful for when you are going to travel. They have eSIM cards for seemingly every country on earth and offer a lot of flexibility regarding pricing and duration. I recommend installing an eSIM before you leave on your trip, so you get data immediately when you land at your destination!

The Best Solution for Getting Data While Traveling

Airalo is an eSIM marketplace that smartphone users can use to buy temporary mobile data plans when traveling abroad. eSIM cards are like normal SIM cards that live digitally on your phone, letting you use another cell phone network when you travel. This means that Airalo mobile data plans are completely separate from your standard mobile data plan and run on a different network.  

It can be difficult to wrap your head around. So in this article, we’ll take a look at what eSIM cards are, discuss how the Airalo service works, and give our full review of the service.  These act like any other SIM card and contain your phone number and data plan, letting your smartphone connect to a cellular network for data, calls, and texts.

Essentially, these marketplaces sell temporary phone service that can be used abroad. The benefit of this is that you can buy mobile data plans at near-local prices without having to physically buy a SIM card at a cell phone shop. This saves you a ton of time, especially if you’re traveling to a country like France where your passport is scanned and logged when you buy a SIM card.

Unlike standard SIMs, though, eSIMS are embedded in your phone or tablet. You generally add these eSIMs to your mobile device by scanning a QR code or entering a code on your device — think of it as a software SIM card. Many major U.S. cell phone carriers have already started offering eSIM cards to their customers — something helpful for switching carriers on the fly since you don’t need to go to a phone shop to buy new phone service. But eSIMs really come in handy when traveling. This is because you can buy local eSIMs remotely through select eSIM marketplaces like Airalo. Airalo definitely will come in handy when you are teaching English abroad.

Traveling in Thailand in 2021

Quarantine and Finding an Apartment

Our first month back in Thailand had its share of ups and downs. When we returned to Thailand there was little to no local transmission of Covid-19 so although life wasn’t back to normal it was a lot more normal than back home in England.

We were able to apartment hunt freely, go to bars, enjoy rooftop parties and pool parties as well. Finding an apartment in a foreign country isn’t as daunting an experience as you might think. As we had 2 weeks in our quarantine hotel we had a lot of  time to research the different apartment complexes in the area we were staying. We narrowed it down to two that we liked and contacted agents through a local apartment hunting website 

They arranged a date and time for some viewings and took us to the complex we liked most. After looking at a few different rooms we settled on one and we were able to move in the next day.

Due to the massive amount of choice of apartments you have in Bangkok the prices are relatively low. Our apartment only costs around 9500 baht (£250) a month. Water bill costs are extremely low, around 150 baht (£4) and electricity is quite cheap too – around 1200 baht (£30).

Back to School During Covid

After we had our first week back at work we headed out to catch up with our friends who’d made the right decision to stay in Thailand throughout the pandemic. Bars were basically fully open and rooftop parties were able to happen – it was a far cry from being stuck in our homes for the past 7 month in England.

We had a great night at a rooftop party at the Novotel Sukhumvit 20 with our friends before returning to the same hotel the next day for a rooftop pool party on my birthday. This was definitely one of our best days/nights we have had in Thailand so far. It was like being back to normal life – pre Covid.

Traveling to Koh Chang for a Holiday

Our next week at school was a short one as there were two national holidays on the Thursday and Friday, we used the holidays to go to an island we hadn’t visited before – Koh Chang.

It is a six hour bus ride from Bangkok at the low price of 260 baht (£6) and a 30 minute ferry ride to the island but it is 100% worth it. Although the island has suffered quite a bit from the lack of tourism due to Covid it is still a beautiful place to visit. We basically had the entirety of Klong Prao beach to ourselves and this beach is one of the best beaches we have ever been to.

In normal times the island would have had a great nightlife scene too but because of there being no tourism there weren’t many bars/clubs to visit on a night. The island still had so much to do though. If you got tired of the beaches, you could go trekking to one of the many waterfalls. If that wasn’t for you, you could hire a bike and explore the island.

Klong Prao Beach

This is definitely one of the better islands to visit along this coast. It is large enough to be fun to explore but also not overly westernized with shops/supermarkets/chain restaurants everywhere. Unfortunately for us this was our last week of normality as a cluster of Covid cases were found in Samut Sakhon which has shut down a lot of the country while they try to regain control of the virus.

Hopefully with the strict measures in place it doesn’t get too out of control and life can begin returning to some sort of normality again soon. Until then, we are back to teaching online.

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Returning to Teach in Thailand During the Pandemic

Back in March, me and my girlfriend Rebecca made the difficult decision to return home during the uncertainty that was created by the beginning of the pandemic. We had only been teaching English in Thailand for 6 monthsbut we loved it. We lived in a small town in Chonburi around 45 minutes from Bangkok which was close enough to the city and a few islands we visited often. It made the decision to return home to England difficult but one we thought we had to make. However after seven months being at home we decided we had had enough of England and made the decision to return to Thailand to teach English– no matter how difficult it would be.

Where Things Get Real

After searching for jobs on various websites we contacted On the Mark Education and Mark arranged an interview and a couple of weeks later we had the jobs. We spent hours researching the ideal ASQ hotel for us (the cheapest with a balcony) and decided on The Cotai. A lot of paperwork and one Covid test later, we were finally on our way back to Thailand.

Without any doubt, the quarantine was difficult. As me and my girlfriend aren’t married, we weren’t allowed to share a room and the food wasn’t great to say the least. The days were boring but it was bearable and definitely worth being back in Thailand.

Two weeks of quarantine passed and we were finally allowed to leave our hotel and return to our lives of teaching in Thailand.

We took a taxi to another hotel we had booked for a couple of nights and hunted for the closest pizza shop we could find – quarantine had us missing the simplest things.

It Was a Smooth Start After All

The school had given us a few days to get settled and find a place to live before we had to begin our orientation. Luckily there are more apartment complexes in Bangkok than anything else so we were spoilt for choice. It didn’t take us long to settle on a place and we were moving in the next evening.

Things that are usually so boring back home like furniture shopping and food shopping are pretty much just as boring here too! It’s easy to get almost everything you want/need in the many malls/department stores/markets and most people speak English especially here in Bangkok. You won’t likely be missing any comforts of home because you can get a lot of that here too.

Teach English in Thailand

We headed into school on the Thursday morning with quite a bit of excitement, I had been unemployed in the UK for the past 7 months and Rebecca had been teaching online. We began our two day orientation and met our students before we made it to the weekend.

Our first weekend with very little Covid restrictions was amazing. Simple things like being able to play pool with strangers and celebrate goals being scored in bars were things we missed so much but never even realised.

We had all sorts of ideas lined up for the weekends to come including pool parties, island trips and catching up with our friends but for now it is Sunday night and we are prepping for our long awaited return to teaching English in Thailand.

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Grocery Shopping in China

In America, if you want to eat, you need to 1) cook something yourself (unless you have a particularly generous partner); 2) go to a restaurant; 3) drive through a fast food place, or 4) arrange for delivery, which may, depending on where you live, be restricted to pizza, and what passes for Chinese food in the US. But in the Middle Kingdom, things are a little different. Grocery shopping in China definitely gives you a whole new different experience.

Grocery Shops in China

It is no secret that China is the home to many kinds of delicious foods. I have been teaching English in China for about 3 months, Some expats find the local restaurants so inexpensive and the foods so tasty that they rarely go shopping for groceries themselves. My Chinese colleagues often act surprised that I cook for myself and bring my own lunch and/or dinner every day. However, eventually you will need to go to the supermarket for something (shampoo, soap, deodorant, etc.) or develop a desire to make your food in your own way. Depending on where you live, there may be more than one way to accomplish this.

Walmart in China

If you live in a fairly large city, there may be a Wal-Mart. Wal-Marts in China are still Chinese. They won’t magically have all the foods or items you remember from home. But they are still Wal-Marts, and have a huge selection of food, baked goods (this may be the only place you find that has Western-style bread), snacks, and miscellaneous, such as housewares, all in one place when you go grocery shopping in China.

There will also be a Chinese supermarket somewhere in your city. These tend to be on the bottom floors of shopping centers, so if you don’t know where a supermarket is, it’s a good bet to seek out the closest shopping center and take a trip downstairs. You may have to leave your bags, except for a purse, at a front desk, or lock them in a front locker, so be sure you keep your form of payment with you. If you get set up to use WeChat or AliPay, no problem – just make sure you have your phone. But if you’re paying with cash, as you certainly will be for awhile after you get here, as your bank account will take a little time to get set up, don’t forget about keeping some cash on you until you have a full cart at the check-out. You may be asked if you want a bag. China is on a mission to reduce plastic bags when you go grocery shopping, so you bring your own and go ahead and take the shopping bag. I like to reuse mine as trash can liners. But the supermarkets will charge you a small amount if you don’t bring your own bag.

Shopping with Courage

Grocery Shopping in China

Going grocery shopping in China offers will vary, but in general they’ll have the usual food, drinks, and snacks. It will also have an area where you can buy bulk rice and beans, and maybe a few other things such as rock sugar, candy, little snack cakes, dried mushrooms, and dried fruit. There will be some dairy, but it will be expensive and there will not be an extensive collection. You can find Coke, Coke Zero, Pepsi, and, of course, teas. There will also more than likely be a deli section where you can get steamed bread (mantou), steamed buns (baozi), baked Chinese bread (bing), and other ready-to-eat foods such as noodles and dumplings. The supermarket close to where I live even has small pizzas and sushi!

Try Something Local

Local market in China

Finally, you will want to eventually shop at an outside market, if only for the experience. These are frequently set up in alleys or side streets. What you can buy depends on the area, but they always include stands or small shops that sell fruit (apples, bananas, oranges, pears. In Sichuan, I also often find kiwi and dragonfruit), vegetables (pretty extensive selection generally, but good luck finding avocadoes), tofu (extra firm and smoked – fresh!), and, if you’re into that, meat. Be forewarned that the meat is not going to be bloodless and packaged in plastic, though. Enough said about that. No one in the small markets has charged me for plastic bags, but if you are going to buy much, you might want to bring a tote bag to put all your purchases in since you’re going to be carrying around a lot of small bags from the different stalls.

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