Tag Archives: TEFL teachers in Shanghai

5 Ways in Which Living in Shanghai is Really Convenient

Not only is Shanghai a happening and exciting place to be, it is also super convenient! Do you know that you don’t need a wallet in Shanghai! You can shop almost anywhere with your smartphone. Here are 5 ways in which Shanghai is the most convenient place to live.

Paying for everything using your phone

Shanghai is an (almost) cashless city. The vast majority of people will pay for everything using e-wallets on their smart phones and everywhere will accept this form of payment. Even street beggars come with their own QR codes, I kid you not! The most popular e-wallets here in China are WeChat Pay and Alipay. Both of these come with an English interface making them great for us non-Chinese speakers. I am from the UK where this type of payment isn’t really used, but I am certainly converted. It’s great not having to carry my purse, and transferring money to friends is so easy. You can also pay your phone and utilities bills directly from your phone.

Shanghai Metro System

Teach English in Shanghai

The Shanghai metro makes getting around the giant metropolis that is Shanghai easy and convenient. The metro is really extensive and covers most of the city, including the two airports and some far-out suburbs and towns. You can even use it to get to some beautiful Shanghai day trip destinations, such as the stunning Zhujiajiao water village. It can get pretty crowded at rush hour (think tinned sardines) and sweltering in the summer, but overall it’s a great and cheap way to get around town.

Food delivery

There can’t be anywhere in the world that does food delivery like they do in China’s cities. It is absolutely mind blowing the amount of food that gets delivered around Shanghai everyday. Once you get set up with the right apps and work out what your address is in Chinese, you will have a vast network of restaurants and cuisines to choose from. There is even an English food delivery app called Sherpa’s just for expats! Meituan and Elema are the favourite Chinese apps. These are fun to use if you don’t know Chinese as you will have to use the pictures to work out what you are ordering. They are also cheaper.

Didi (Chinese version of Uber)

Didi means little brother in Mandarin. It is China’s answer to Uber and it is just as easy and convenient as Uber is at home. There is an English version of the app which even translates messages between you and the driver, so no need to worry about the language barrier. The fares are generally pretty cheap which makes it a great way to get around, and perfect for late at night when the metro has stopped running for the day. Or if you just feel super lazy and don’t want to take the metro to work.

I have been teaching English in Shanghai for around 8 months now and this city never stops growing and never stops surprising me! Considering teaching in China? Then Shanghai is the city you can’t miss.

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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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Christmas away from home: Happy Holidays in Shanghai

If you move aboard to teach English for a year, then this might include spending your first Christmas away from home. Christmas isn’t an official holiday in China. However, with Shanghai being a large international city, many Chinese people join in with the custom of giving gifts and decorating. Many streets and shops were lit up with Christmas lights and there were even a selection of Christmas markets to visit!

This Christmas was my first where I wasn’t with my family, but instead I got to experience Christmas in Shanghai with my new friends. I found that at times I did find myself feeling a little down that I was perhaps missing out at home, or that I wasn’t getting that ‘Christmassy’ feeling. The best thing to do was accept that this year was going to be different, embrace it, make an effort and enjoy sharing this part of my culture with my students.

Christmas at school

We got pretty into it at school. The company made sure all the campuses were decorated and we allocated some lesson time to Christmas activities. In some of my classes we learnt Christmas songs. Jingle bells proved very popular! With my older students we made and wrote our own Christmas cards that they could then give to their parents. I even managed to sneak in a fair bit of the movie Elf. The kids loved it and it was an enjoyable experience for me. I exchanged gifts with some of my Chinese colleagues. This was really nice because it gave me a chance to acknowledge what they do every day to help me in and out of class, and let them know I really appreciate it.

Around Shanghai

Christmas in Shanghai

The city of Shanghai didn’t scrimp on the old Christmas decorations. All the shopping malls had big displays and Christmas trees. Lots of restaurants and bars had special Christmas menus set up, so getting your Christmas meal in was easy! What surprised me most was the selection of Christmas markets that opened throughout December. I really enjoyed a few evenings out at the different markets, sipping mulled wine and munching the delicious treats on offer.

Christmas Day

We wanted to make an effort Christmas Day. Luckily it fell on a Tuesday which is the day most of us have off, otherwise we would have had to work. A group of friends came over to my apartment and we cooked Christmas dinner together in my tiny and temperamental oven. I was able to order turkey and all the trimmings from epermarket.com, which is an amazing expat online supermarket in Shanghai. We even ordered a huge gingerbread house, which is not something I would have expected to find in Shanghai. It was a lovely day spent drinking all the drinks and playing all the games. So although we weren’t at home with our families, we got to have a special day with our Shanghai family. I’m sure the Christmas season in China will be a highlight of my year here.

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