Tag Archives: Teach English in China

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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Hear from Our Teacher in China – Amber Rollins

Before Coming to China

Why did you want to teach in China?
I was a teacher in the US, but I wasn’t enjoying it much. I’ve always liked Asia, and thought it would be interesting to come teach here instead. There are many jobs in China, in all different areas of the country and in many kinds of institutions, compared to say, say Vietnam, where the teaching is mostly for children. I left Asia for awhile and went back to the US. I got my MA in TESOL. I also taught in other countries, such as Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. But I liked teaching in China the best by far. My heart was here, so I wanted to come back again.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education Consulting?
It was very good. On the Mark listened to me and had the kinds of jobs I wanted (no kids!). They communicated well, which is very important when finding a job in a different country. China’s process can be especially complicated.


How long did your visa process take? How was the communication with the school during the visa process?
I was in Vietnam when I was getting everything together to come to China, so it may have taken me longer than some to finish the visa process. I got a good recommendation for a service to use in order to get all my papers authenticated, and the service was great. Altogether, it took about a month to get everything taken care of, including going to the local Chinese embassy.


What website did you use to book your ticket to China?
I usually use Expedia or Travelocity, but in this case, I went to a local travel agent and consulted with them. I was glad I did, because they found me a better deal than the sites I usually use online.

Teaching Life in China

Can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
I’m in Mianyang, in Sichua province. I like it very much. It’s clean and modern. There are not many English speakers, but the local people are kind and always try to help, even though my Chinese is limited. I love to bicycle, and I can get around the city on my bike. The traffic isn’t too bad, especially compared to Hanoi. The weather is also great. In the US, I lived mostly in Texas, which is very hot much of the year. Mianyang is also warm most of the time, and the winters are supposed to be pretty mild.

What has been the biggest culture shock about China?
It’s always a challenge when you move somewhere and can’t communicate well in the language. I miss easily being able to explain myself, especially when I go shopping. I was also shocked about how everyone pays for everything with WeChat or AliPay. We have Apple Pay in the US, but it is nowhere near as widespread as WeChat Pay is here. It still feels strange to me to pull out my phone when I buy something.

What’s your favorite memory to date of life in China?
There is nothing really big, but I love all the small things that are an adventure: finding little shops that sell vegetables in back streets close to my apartment; taking the train all by myself to Chengdu; riding my bike by the river in Mianyang.

What do you like most about working for your school? And can you tell us about your typical day teaching English at your school.
I work at a language school, so we work evenings and weekends, mostly. I get to school around 12 and classes start at 1 pm. The schedule changes depending on the students, so I might have three classes or I might have six. They’re 55 minutes long. Some of the classes are one-on-one sessions and some are bigger classes. Even the biggest class has no more than 20 people, and this does not happen often. We have a dinner break at 5 pm. I’m done at 9 pm and I bike home.

What I like most about teaching at my school are the students. Since they are all teenagers and adults, most of the students are motivated and want to learn. There aren’t any classroom management issues. The students are happy to be at school and eager to learn. They are also very funny and thoughtful. They appreciate someone who takes some time to learn about them and about China.

What three things would you would have wanted to know or have brought with you before you arrived?
1. I would have brought some stick deodorant. I much prefer it to roll on or spray, but haven’t been able to find any here.
2. I wish I had known I wouldn’t be able to use Netflix. I was here before I figured that out, since I had been able to use it in other countries in Asia.
3. I probably also would have tried to bring some sugar substitute, like sucralose. I haven’t found any of that, either.

Were you able to save some money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save each month?
I’m able to save money. I have my own apartment, so I need to pay all the bills and the rent, plus food and transportation, and whatever else I want to do. Still, I can easily save at least half of my salary, if not more.

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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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How to Prepare For Life In China After Landing a TEFL Job

Did you just land your first TEFL job in China? Congratulations, you’re in for a wild ride. Your career just might take off. Your social life may explode. And your wanderlust may finally be satisfied. That was my experience at least.

The list of benefits that surrounds your new job is perhaps longer than The Great Wall. But, moving to China takes some getting used to.
In fact, life in China is something you may want to prepare yourself for.

So, while you’re getting your visa sorted out, and trying to decide how to condense your life into a single suitcase, here are a few others things to think about.

Google and Facebook Don’t Work in China

That’s right my friends. Both Gmail and Facebook won’t work while you’re living in China. You won’t have to rely on snail mail to talk to your mom though.

Before moving to China, make sure to get a VPN (Virtual Private Network.) You can pay for a year’s subscription (it’s very affordable) and use it to get on any website you want. It works by tricking your computer or phone, making it look like you’re using the internet from a country outside of China. I used one called Nordvpn, but there are quite a few to choose from.

You’ll Actually Need to Learn Some Mandarin

If you’ve traveled before, you know that it’s relatively easy to get around relying on only English. In China, not so much.

They speak their local language (as to be expected) and don’t stray away from it too often. Street signs, packaging, and restaurant menus will typically not have any English.

So, you’ll actually need to study up on some Mandarin. I ate stuffed buns for every meal during my first three days in China. I could point to them at the stall near my apartment and didn’t have to worry about speaking.

Learning how to say a few dishes is really helpful if you want a diverse diet. Also, it will help you avoid eating pig brain soup (honestly, it was an entire brain…in my soup) and other dishes that may make you cringe.

China teaching

You’ll Need to Practice Your Balance For The Squat Toilets

Squat toilets are not a thing of the past in China. In fact, you’ll find them even in the nicest clubs and restaurants.

While your apartment will usually have a western toilet, out in public, you’ll need to squat. Bend your knees and get low to the ground. The toilets even have two spots for your feet.

It may take a few tries, but you’ll figure it out. And, you may just learn to love them. I know that I did. Not having to sit on a public toilet seat seemed pretty great to me.

You Seriously Have to Learn to Use Chopsticks

At home, I ate sushi all of the time. So, I learned how to use chopsticks pretty well before moving to China.

In fact, I thought it was pretty obvious that chopstick skills were a necessity before agreeing to take the job.

However, I found that a few of my co-workers had never used chopsticks before. And, some of them admitted to thinking that the restaurants in China provided forks (just in case.)

Let’s just say that these coworkers of mine struggled. A lot. One of them couldn’t eat much during group meals, and ended up buying a little baby spoon to help him out. He carried that thing with him everywhere he went.

Learn how to use chopsticks; it’s worth it.

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Hear from Our Teacher in Shanghai – Miss Thompson

Before Coming to China

Why did you want to teach in China?
I had just finished a teaching contract in Vietnam. Having been there for 2 years I decided I wanted a change of scene. I knew I enjoyed living in Asia, and China seemed like a good next step so I choose Shanghai city.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education Consulting?
Finding a job with On the Mark was very easy. Within days of sending my CV and paperwork over, I had an interview set up with the company I ultimately signed a contract with. I had a few interviews with different companies so I could really weigh out my options and decide what would be best for me.

How long did it take to get your visa? How was the communication with the school during the visa process?
It took a couple of months to get my visa. There are a lot of steps and loops to jump through, not from the schools side, but from the government departments I was dealing with. However the school were very helpful and I was kept updated and informed, so even though it took a while it always felt under control.

What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I used skyscanner to book my flight.

Teach in Shanghai

Teaching Life in China

What was your first impression of Shanghai upon arrival?
My first impression of Shanghai was busy, but exciting. There is always something interesting to see, smell, buy or do. The rush hour crowds are pretty intense but you do get used to being crammed in on the metro!

What was the biggest culture shock about China and/or in your current city?
The not queuing. Chinese people don’t queue for things. It seems quite acceptable to barge people out of the way to get on the metro. I was standing waiting to pay at a supermarket and an old lady just stepped in front of me and put her stuff in front of mine. It funny getting your head round how people’s minds work so differently!

What’s your favorite memory of life in China?
My favorite memory so far of living in China happened over the mid Autumn festival. My elderly Chinese neighbors insisted that myself and my boyfriend join them for their Mid Autumn festival meal. They speak a very small amount of English and we have only a small amount of beginners Chinese, but we sat and ate homemade dumplings and sipped vodka from eggcups for a few hours together. The vodka definitely helped the language barrier and the food was delicious. It made us feel like we had come a long way since we had first arrived in China.

What do you like most about working for your school?
I really like the hours I work. 5pm – 8pm weekdays and then all day on the weekends. It gives me a lot of free time to explore Shanghai and visit other places.

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?

1. I wish I had bought more blonde hair dye with me! Not easy to find.
2. Buying simple medicines, like painkillers, is difficult. I wish I had bought more with me.
3. Download a VPN before arriving! I know I would need one, but for some reason didn’t do it beforehand. It took me a while going through the back routes to download and set up a VPN on all my devices. It’s a hassle that can and should be avoided!

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save each month?
I am able to save money every month teaching in China. It would be easy to spend your whole salary in Shanghai, but if you want to save money then it is very possible to set a budget and still enjoy yourself.

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Hear from Our Teacher in China – Kirsty van Schalkwyk

Before Coming to China

Why did you want to teach in China?
To earn good cash and save money. Also, to explore the culture. Big things happen in China, this place plays a huge role in the economy. It’s great to be a part of the culture.  Also, my partner and I got TEFL certified and we would like to practice what we have learnt from the classroom.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education?
Fantastic. On the Mark Education is just fantastic. They were very thorough and honest. They helped us follow up on the visa process and communicate with the school. It took a few months for visa because of our nationality but it all came through.  I would recommend their service every time.  

How long did your visa process take? How was the communication with the school during the visa process??
From my end (my country), rather long, South Africa is like that. But from this side (China), it was very easy. The company sorts out everything for you. You don’t have to lift a finger. And when something is required of you, they write explicitly each detail; of the requirement.

What website did you use to book your ticket to China?
The company bought the ticket for my partner and I. We flew with Emirates. It truly was a lovely flight.

Teaching Life in China

What was your first impression of China upon arrival?
Cold, VERY cold. We arrived in the heart of winter in Beijing first. We stayed there for 2 weeks and moved to Nanjing. Apparently this was the coldest winter experienced in Nanjing too.

What was the biggest culture shock about China and/or in your current city?
People spitting all the time in public. Children wear pants without underwear and the pants have slits in. Exposing their front parts, as well as back-parts. This is used for potty training. Also, people do not stand in queues, cutting in front of people is tolerated.  

What’s your favorite memory to date of life in China??
Receiving my second paycheck. The first paycheck essentially goes to your landlord, because in China you have to pay 3 months rent up front. The second one was when I could start paying off debt. I’m in China for 6 months now. I’ve been to: Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, and in 2 weeks I go to Hong Kong. The opportunities are endless.

My students in Nanjing

What do you like most about working for your school?
The promotion! I’ve been promoted already at my centre, I’m now the mentor.

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
– Bring more vitamins or at home medication, for cold, flu, chest infections etc,
– Bring warm clothes. We didn’t know China could get this cold.
– You will be started at everywhere, video recorded too.

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save?
I would say 40% of my salary could easily be saved or go toward savings, depends on how you want to live. I like to travel, shop, invest in good laptops, cameras, etc.