I’ve got a bunch of questions for you regarding university English teacher jobs in China. Since there’s more than a few
questions, I thought that I’d split them up and number them.
A – Couple/partner questions:
1. My girlfriend and I would like to go to China to teach, preferably at the same university, for at least a year starting
from Aug/Sep 2013. How would you judge Chinese universities to feel about this, generally speaking? No kids, no screwing
students, only one apartment and so on, but it naturally depends on them needing two teachers. Do you think it is a good idea
to apply together, i.e. sending two applications from one e-mail?
2. I am not married to my partner. How big of an issue would this be (in various regions)? Forging a marriage certificate
seems too risky, especially considering the fact that the Chinese consulate needs to see such a document. Would potential
universities still want us despite us not being married?
3. I am white. My girlfriend is Chinese American (born in China, moved to US while young; has US citizenship). Would this
make any difference in terms of cultural expectations, discrimination etc.?
B – Nationality, ethnicity and qualifications issues:
4. I am a Danish citizen, very Scandinavian in appearance, and I have a strong grasp on the English language, to the extent
where native speakers proclaim me a better speaker of English than them (mainly due to having a rich vocabulary, and a
penchant for formal and/or exotic phrasal and syntactic patterns). However, I don’t have a fully native pronunciation,
perhaps most markedly with regards to clausal intonation. My educational background is a BA in English language, literature,
and history from the University of Copenhagen, with one year of studying linguistics at a top public US university. Am I a
reasonable candidate for any sort of English teaching position (oral, writing, literature, perhaps even grammar) at a Chinese
5. My girlfriend is, as mentioned above, an American citizen born in China. She moved here at age 10, and is a native English
speaker. She is due to finish her undergraduate degree this semester in an Engineering discipline from a very prestigious
public US university. She looks like a Chinese person. Is there any chance of a Chinese university employing her? (Obviously
not Peking and Tsinghua.) The issue of Chinese race-based discriminatory practices seem to be pretty well-attested on these
and other forums. How bad is it at universities? Should she mention that she speaks Mandarin fairly well?
C – Application materials and procedures
6. Because we realize that we are not the ideal applicants, we are willing to cast our net wide, and as such we have to rely
on somewhat generic applications. What should our first contact email to universities contain? A statement of interest in
teaching English and a resume. Or, the above plus passport scans, full CVs, photos, references, diplomas and so forth? Since
we have the option, should we attach Chinese translations of everything we send?
7. Both of us are graduating this semester, her in mid May, me in late June. This means that some time might pass before we
can have our respective diplomas in hand. How much does this hurt us in relation to our desirability for universities? How
much does it complicate the whole letter of invitation/Z-visa application process? Is it still feasible? Will grade transcripts do in the meantime?
Thanks a bunch in advance!
I taught at a university in Hangzhou a couple of years ago, so I can try to answer your questions.
1. I don’t think it’s difficult for you and your girlfriend to get a job at the same university. I would apply together, because they probably won’t figure out that you’re together.
My husband and I tried applying to the same universities, and they never figured out that we were together. I got hired first, and then asked them if they had received my husband’s application. They were surprised that we had both applied!
They might be funny about you sharing an apartment with your girlfriend. Generally, all of the apartments are in the same building and they’re free, so I would just get two apartments.
2. They never asked us for a marriage license. My husband and I have different last names, and it was never an issue. Sometimes they looked at us funny when we were checking in at a hotel, but I can’t recall it ever being a problem.
3 & 5. Unfortunately, discrimination exists everywhere. I have several Chinese American friends. Some say they were treated better than the other teachers, and others say things were really difficult. It might just depend on the school where you work.
4. I think you have to be a national from an English-speaking country to teach at a university in China. If you are not from an English-speaking country, they may not even look at your application. I’m not sure about the facts on this. You might want to contact the Chinese consulate where you are and ask them if there are any restrictions.
6. Sending a full resume packet might not be a bad idea. Most importantly, I recommend following-up with your applications. They are not terribly organized, and I found persistence to be key.
7. Most universities start in September, so you have plenty of time to get your diploma and apply for the visa. They will probably apply for the Z-visa in mid-July. They might want the original diploma.
I hope that helps! Good luck with your job search!
All the best!
EFL Sensei – Free EFL/ESL Lessons for Teaching English Overseas http://www.eflsensei.com
I suggest you contact BFSU’s & BCLU International department which makes arrangements for couples including free furnished apartments. Both are located in Haidian District and located close to subway stations. Good luck!
Please log in to reply to this topic.