Life in China | Aston Recruiting
Life in China
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Life in China
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The Forbidden City, Beijing

For every rewarding and magical moment you'll experience in China, there will be a challenge to match it. While the challenges are part of the overall experience, we wanted to let you know some of the difficulties and differences life in China offers so you can make an informed decision about coming. The section below contains a lot of information about living in China. If you are considering applying for a position with Aston, we ask that you read this entire page before making any further inquiries. Even if you are not considering working with us, you'll want to read this before deciding to live and work in the PRC.

The Main Point

This page is mainly geared toward those of you who have never been to China. While some parts may seem negative it's not meant to discourage but to prepare you for the realities of living in a developing country. There are several things you should be aware of from the beginning - some of which apply to everyone living in China and some that apply to Aston alone. People living in China must have a certain level of independence or they are not going to enjoy the experience. Living here means you very often have to change the way you view behavior as it applies to rules of society and do without some things that we take for granted in the west. If you think you could have trouble adapting to living on your own in a foreign country or you have trouble dealing with new and odd situations then you should not be in China.

The most important thing is to read the contract. When talking to Aston, or any other school, read the contract carefully and ask for clarification if you have a question about something. If you don't like the terms of a contract then ask about possible alterations. Most schools don't mind being a little flexible.

The Xi'an Bell Tower

Adapting to Life in China - Part 1

Internet Access - Most schools will provide Internet access for their teachers and there are plenty of cheap Internet bars all over China. It is possible to have high speed Internet connection set up in your apartment as well. At times some sites will be blocked due to sensitive content or other various reasons, though all the national newspaper’s online editions are available, such as BBC, CNN, etc.

One of the things Westerners have to get used to quickly is the slow pace of Chinese bureaucracy. Its a big country with quite a few people, so things involving government approval can take longer than you may be used to. This will affect your life in areas such as renewing your visa, applying for a residence card, or waiting to hear when the government will schedule school vacations around a national holiday (i.e. when you will be able to travel). Please be prepared to be patient in such situations.

You probably won't have a good experience if you can't look at things from a different perspective. The social structure, acceptable behavior, and people's reactions will be more than strange sometimes. Standing in an orderly line for services is not common in China. When you want to get on the bus or order lunch at McDonald's people will jump in front of you, learn to hang onto your spot or lose it.

We want teachers to have a positive view of their time here and we understand that part of coming to China is being able to see all aspects of the culture. Everyone who comes here has plans to travel and see as much as possible which is 90% of the draw of China. There will be plenty of time to travel before and after the contract (pretty much unlimited), during your one week (half year teachers) or two week (one year teachers) leave, and during government holidays (Spring Festival, Mayday, National Day, etc.). You will have time to see everything but you are coming to China to teach so the students and class schedule must come first. A few teachers come to China expecting this to be a 'working vacation'. To the parents of our students, you are coming here to teach their kids and you are a teacher, not a tourist.

If you have any type of respiratory problems you should think very carefully before accepting a position anywhere in China. The heating systems for most apartment blocks use coal to heat water for the radiator system. This means that in the winter most northern cities will have a good bit of coal dust in the air. Cities in south China, below the Yellow River, do not have heating so in the winter they can get cold. Chengdu is the best example; even though it's considered to have a mild climate the winters can be uncomfortable due to the absence of central heating systems.



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