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'China, or There and Back Again'

Discussion in 'The Teachers Lounge' started by DigitalGypsy, 30 Jan 2017.

  1. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    If that continues, the site might have to be renamed to CTA. China Teaching Asia....:cold
     
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  2. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    Alright, well I said stupid because I know of people that come here on a tourist visa and work illegally. I also recommend that if DG is interested in working at an international school then it is better to get hired from outside of China as the perks will be much better.

    My school did everything for me. I didn't even have to go to the Chinese embassy. I got hired from a company in Canada who sent me some paperwork and I had to fill it out and send them the paperwork and the visa. I was lucky though in a sense that I had it easy in that regard. I have never heard of someone coming here on a tourist visa and getting a job, although I'm sure it happens.

    I agree he may have a 1-3 visa process time, but if he isn't thinking of going as he said until next year or later, then the best thing is to get a job first is what I was saying.

    This could be a bit of a problem because your visa is tied to your school. In China you need to have a release letter to get another job and this can be very hard to get if your employer is pissed you are leaving. I've seen it happen to two people who could not get the release letter and ended up leaving China.
     
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  3. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    Trying to answer your questions here.. although some good info on the thread so far.

    I do not pay utility bills, but I do get the bill. It looks like utilities are quite cheap here about 400 rmb approx (100$). I don't pay internet as I use the school's wifi.

    I find China very very different from Thailand on so many levels. I even found China different from Korea. I don't find China more easygoing than Thailand. If fact, Thai people are quite laid back and 'Mai Pen Rai'. In China people have no patience and are always in a rush. They push, have no care for pedestrians, and are hard workers.

    I found Koreans very hard working as well, but the hygiene standards are lower here in China. I also found the food so much more oily here in China compared to Thailand and Korea. Thai food is so flavorful and Korean food so spicy. Chinese food is kind of band and oily. I found one Chinese restaurant I like. The food is apparently from Shanghai.
     
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  4. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    Luggage allowance depends on what airline you are flying with. I could bring two 32 kg checked bags for free. I had my flight booked for me in advance and I didn't have to pay for it. Posting stuff over is an experience depending on what you post over. I had a friend who posted a jacket and other things, and it was stopped at border patrol because there are only certain things you can send without duty I believe. Anyway, I don't know the exact problem, but I know she only got her stuff two to three weeks later and was expected to come to Beijing to sign for it (she lives in Tianjin). You'd better check into this if you are really interested in sending stuff over.
     
  5. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    This depends on what city you will ive in. It will also depend on if you get a housing allowance or get to live on campus for free.From what I've been reading for my future move, you need one to two months security deposit. Many apartments are furnished at least in Shanghai, but the rent price varies greatly depending on where you will be living in the city. Closer to the city center you will pay a lot more. If you do get a job in Shanghai in the future, definitely ask me more then.
     
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  6. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    You can come to China on the cheap if you have free housing and if utilities are provided. If you must get
    your own housing, be ready to pay one month of rent multiplied by three to six. In a major city, that would amount to a substantial amount of money for most people. Salaries are much higher in the major cities, but so is the cost of living. What I hear teachers say is that they have no money if they teach in a big city--even though the money is good.

    I have strongly advocated for working in China. It does have substantial benefits, and one of those is the high standard of teaching that one is faced with and challenged by. But if you leave Thailand you will lose something. As near as I can put my finger on it, it goes like this:
     
  7. gungchang

    gungchang Well-Known Member

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    We have at least one in Baotou in the BHG shopping center.
     
  8. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    One restaurant only? And the food is from Shanghai? Should we send an emergency food package?

    I've seen Chinese people spitting in a hotel pool in Chonburi which made me speechless.
     
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  9. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Well-Known Member

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    That is good to know - I haven't seen any so must keep my eyes open.
     
  10. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    I

    Haha! That's the joy of living in a big city. You have many different types of cuisine around. I also eat Italian, Indian, Western, etc. Around me there is only one good Chinese restaurant.

    I had to get all the truths out about living in China as I want DG to know the realities. It isn't pretty, but it is what it is. I'm not in love with living here, but I tolerate it. I really have noticed that after time (almost three years now), the spitting has become less and less. Maybe Beijingers are becoming more civilized..lol. I didn't notice the spitting as much in Shanghai.

    I haven't seen boots here, but there are many Watson's. You also have many modern malls with the top end stores. I find places like the Gap, H&M, etc are more expensive than back home.
    Finding non Chinese sizes are difficult. I take a 14 which is pretty much unheard of here. A large in the US is about a medium here Chinese size.
    I buy clothes at home in the summer and wear those a lot. I also don't mind shopping at Marks and Spencer's once in awhile, but it is expensive.
     
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  11. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    Let me clarify:

    The thing missing in China is spirituality--its manifestation in organized religion too, that stuff being illegal. The power of Buddhism, the altruism, the depth of Buddhist ideas, all of that is missing here in the land of the Money God. People here worship money, it is in the front of most people's mind 24/7, especially as a dream. Life under the Money God is not so bad, actually. But he does drive people pretty hard, and he gives everyone direction.

    The absence of being driven, the concept of renunciation, the idea of giving food to a stranger who is going to cultivate his inner self, that is absent from China, even though it may have a patina of spirituality here and there. If you see some Chinese people at a temple ringing a bell, they are smiling and wishing to make more money. It is all about money: save money, make money, get rich.

    The deep Buddhist concepts such as nothingness have no meaning in China. Non-self, unsatisfactoriness, anicca, all that stuff that informs and enlivens Thai culture: it has been thrown out the window. In fact, religion is seen as an outright threat.

    Oddly perhaps, for an American, Thai culture ends up being the more foreign one. Thailand still has magical thinking like France had in the twelth-century (pilgrimages, relics, holy sites) and England had up to the Enlightenment (it is a little more complicated than that). Working in China is a lot like working in the US. Not a lot of magical thinking, but there is some. It is all about numbers and numbers are about money. But the Money God is not always cruel: in the service of his kingdom you get more money, and Chinese people can help you a lot and give you things. In Thailand, they do not have as much, and so they cannot give you stuff, even if they like you. And then there is the problem of your money being taken from you--skimming, etc. I take it that this is normal in the land of smile.

    So the truth ends up being interesting and complex.
     
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  12. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    And that is your observation in the three or four months you've spent in China? I wouldn't want to be giving people wrong information, David.

    I spent Chinese New Year in China, and I saw a lot of spirituality on New Year's day at the Buddhist temple near my hotel. People shooting money and praying to Buddha for good luck in the new year. I've met some really nice Chinese people here that shocked me with their caring attitude. I've talked to everyday Chinese people and befriended a few locals who are absolutely religious and even Catholics exist here in China. There are Catholic churches in most cities. Sure, they don't practice animism like in Thailand, but spiritual to a degree.

    I know many locals that work 12 hours a day for peanuts, and even Chinese TA's who work hard and only make 5,000 rmb a month. Money is important in life, especially when the economy has boomed so fast, and left a lot of locals behind. The government doesn't seem to give a crap about them in a lot of respects (look at the pollution), and all of the taxes that people who come to Beijing from outer provinces to make a living, have to pay. Money that local people who are not from Beijing, have to pay, even to send their kids to public schools. There is a huuuge gap between the rich and the poor, and the middle class is on the rise. There is a huge part of China that people don't get to see if they don't befriend everyday local people. If you stay in a rich expat bubble, then you just don't get to see it.
     
    Last edited: 5 Feb 2017
  13. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    I have never even met an ex-pat in China. I don't see other foreigners except once every couple months I will run into an American who works in my town. Everyone I know is Chinese, and I know what they think--to some degree. I have specifically asked the ones I know best about religion, and all of them had the same negative remarks--which surprised me a little due to the force of their feelings. All of them actively dislike it. I have been here for 13 months.

    I had been to China 11 times prior to moving here, and I had lived in Beijing (cough, cough) for a few weeks. I admit to not having a PhD in Chinese Studies, but I do know this: talk about religion at school and guess what happens? The police come, you go to jail, and other people wonder what happened to you. Proselytizing is illegal. If religion comes up as a topic, everyone I know sticks out their tongue like they are going to throw up: "no, no, no..."
    To be frank, if you talk about Thailand, the word "backwards" will pop out or their mouth.

    The first day at my school, the first thing the boss said to me was, "don't talk about religion." I said, "got it!"

    Money is God in China, and I am sticking to it.
     
    Last edited: 5 Feb 2017
  14. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher AKA phuketbound

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    When I said people that live in their expat bubbles, I wasn't speaking specifically about you, but it is true. I know people here that have zero Chinese friends and I guess that is just not me.

    You said originally that Chinese people are not spiritual and I tend to disagree as I've seen a lot of spirituality in my time here. Money is god, but there is a reason Chinese people want to make money. Many of them have none and not many opportunities. People being forced out of their traditional houses and farms, for shinier buildings. Many locals are just trying to get by and the gap is ever present now more than ever.

    Money is god to you, but there is a reason underpinning that. I've seen many spiritual people here, but it is different than Thailand. In that respect, it is hard to compare. Thailand as well is very much into the dollar, I mean look at tourism.
     
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  15. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    That's fair. We could also talk about superstition in China, which I run into once in a while. I got some additional life/accident insurance recently, and it was interesting. If you talk about getting accident insurance, in the back of their minds the people standing around ask, "so what bad thing is going to happen to you?" I signed the paper for the insurance in my office, and my fellow teachers all stood around with grave faces.

    And I know you don't take a full frontal picture of someone's face in black and white! Maybe I should spend a little time learning about superstition in China so that I don't make some kind of incredible mistake in front of other people ie. like opening an umbrella indoors in America, or walking out the door in Thailand when a little gecko goes "uhhr-uhr".
     
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