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Where to look? (City)
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Nomad79



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:20 pm    Post subject: Where to look? (City) Reply with quote

(And yeah, I realize I will most likely have to compromise on this):

Uni/college/adults (Yeah I realize Wall Street is all adults, but do you really want to leave the US to work 40+ hours a week?)

-->15-20 (ok, 25) teaching hours. 5-10 office/admin hours

Cosmopolitan

Warm (at least relatively in the winter. I hate winter. God do I hate winter).

Not earthquake prone.

Put it this way, if I weren't trying to avoid having to be Barney the dinosaur I'd teach in Taipei or Osaka.

Although I am in debt and want to save some money, I am coming from NY so I'm willing to deal with the expenses of a big city.

If this helps, I was all about Guangzhou until multiple sources confirmed it was shady.

If you care to add your two cents (or CNY/RMB) think writer avoiding desk job and tons of work-related stress.

Also -- is Shanghai THAT bad in the winter?
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zactherat



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you'd fit in nicely at Linfen - it's held up as a modern standard in many regards.
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doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 659
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you define what was 'shady' about Guangzhou for you? It might help pin down what you want. Also, a little more information about what you want might help pin down what you want. Do you want to hang out with other foreigners. How willing and able are you to learn some Chinese. Do you need to eat western food and if so how often?

Most cities in Guangdong meet most of your criteria, but they may well be as shady as Guangzhou.
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vikeologist



Joined: 07 Sep 2009
Posts: 536

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you hate winter, then you need to think about something in the absolute south of China.

I'm in Ningbo, which is south of Shanghai, and it's far too cold for me in winter. (Nice city generally though). However, in summer Ningbo is very hot and humid, and the deep south will be even more so.

You don't like winter. How do you feel about scorching hot summers?

Is new York too cold for you?

If you only like Spring and Summer, then China may be a problem for you. Also, if you teach at a Uni, you can escape for the worst months of the summer.

So, it may all boil down to whether you'll be able to get a Uni job in the South, in which case pretty much any city would do I imagine.
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roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1459
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you think Guangzhou is shady, you will probably think everywhere is shady. Guangzhou, and really most of the Pearl River Delta would meet most of your requirements, and it rarely gets anywhere near freezing. Shanghai feels more cosmopolitan to me, and it feels more expensive to boot. There are many nice cities in neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces that are a short trip on a fast train to and from Shanghai that might be suitable as well. That area is not as cold as NY in the winter, but in general, China doesn't heat the whole city, so you have to get used to wearing winter coats indoors in some areas, particularly public universities.

If you are trying to avoid stress, I would suggest a university job over typical language institute since less would be put on you in most circumstances. Sometimes people feel like a load has been lifted if they fling themselves to another corner of the world. Sometimes the shock of things not working the same way that they do at home, coupled with language challenges, add a different kind of stress.

You mention debt, and that is a big red flag: some of these great stress-free university jobs are anything but. You might get unlucky or just not fit into a particular situation. Or perhaps a personal or family emergency dictates that you must return home asap. Do you have enough resources to do that? Would you have the resources to tide you over if the job isn't at all as promised and you hunt for a better opportunity? (Think apartment/hotels, transportation, visas at US$140 a pop, food...)

If you land a decent job and have minimal vices, you should be able to save some money, but it might take a few months to get to a positive bottom line. Flight bonus/reimbursement is usually paid at the end of the contract, not the beginning, for example. In Shanghai you are more likely to have to find and put a deposit on your own apartment, and it ain't cheap. That's one expense the universities NOT in the largest cities usually take care of - they usually provide an apartment on or near campus.
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Nomad79



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To clarify--I've never been to China. -I- don't -think- Guangzhou is shady, but was told by a Chinese-American who is a close friend of mine and does business regularly in China, and by an acquaintance who lives in Shanghai, that Guangzhou is the kind of place where people try to rip you off etc. and was like "The Detroit of China."

Now, the reason they said this to me was that originally, Guangzhou seemed perfect for what I wanted --- a uni job in a city with mild to nonexistent winters, lots of sunshine (not the beach, just like plenty of daylight), close(r) to other parts of Asia.

As for debt, I didn't just get out of school. I'm in my 30s. I've taught before. I don't have any illusion that all will be forgiven with a change of location. Student debt is just a thing that will loom in the background until you can kill it. My credit is quite good, good enough that if I went somewhere on a whim and was faced with an emergency, I could get a plane ticket home.

I like the anonymity of big cities, the openness, but mostly the options. At the moment I am living in a suburb of NYC and it's like one big television set that has the sound on whenever it thinks of something stupid to say and is mute when you need company. (This television is strictly metaphorical. It is not in my head, if you're wondering.)
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Nomad79



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should add that I interviewed recently for a position at university in Guilin. Beautiful place, but I just don't know enough about living there and the position itself to want it yet.
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roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1459
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In that case, I'd recommend taking a uni job in or near Guangzhou. Low stress, warmer weather than Shanghai. From downtown Guangzhou, you could be in Shenzhen in an hour or so, or in Hong Kong in two, including border crossing. Guilin is much nicer for scenery in my opinion, and a great place to visit. But if you are more used to big city living, it might feel isolating there after a while. There aren't any real fast getaways to major cities, only long train or bus rides, or a trip to the airport (a more pleasant experience overall than in the US).

As far as getting ripped off, there are many threads here on that kind of behavior. I don't think China is worse than other places I have been, and is better than many. If you land in a new train station, or bus station, taxi drivers might try to take you for more than the ride is worth. (I usually walk away from the stations and try to flag down a moving taxi if needed.) I've heard of fruit sellers trying to gouge prices or throw in rotting fruit, but I've never personally experienced street vendors trying to rip me off. In fact, I've been corrected when I tried to pay too much by mistake. The major supermarkets don't haggle for prices and their goods can generally be trusted. Smaller shops will try to get the best of you price-wise: it's a free market! Research prices and beware of poor quality fakes for major items. There are few robberies, but sneak thieves and con artists are definitely something to watch out for, especially in touristy areas - same as every country. I think it is a real, but really a minor problem in China.
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juanisaac



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:28 am    Post subject: recruiters Reply with quote

It is always better to directly deal with a school in China than a recruiter. Honest recruiters are as rare as pandas. Some recruiters take a cut from your salary and give you the rest. For example, the school gives them 9,000 and they give you 4,700 yuan. Ask teachers themselves already in China to give you the names of schools.

If you p.m. me, I can give you the names of two schools that are looking for teachers. One is in a big city and the other is in a little city. The big city school is a university in Harbin and the little city school is close to Nantong, Jiangsu. The little city school was where I worked at and they will treat you well. Good-luck.
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choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nomad79 wrote:
To clarify--I've never been to China. -I- don't -think- Guangzhou is shady, but was told b........the kind of place where people try to rip you off etc. and was like "The Detroit of China."

dude, you live in new york! the ripoff capital of the us of a! (or so i
was told by the wife of a friend......) guangzhou is fine.....just take
the same care you would in any large city.


As for debt.........

do you need to make monthly payments? would being able to save
$200-300 of your salary each month be sufficient? do you have a cash
cushion to fall back on? moving to china while in debt is not recommended.


)
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Banner41



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 560
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you were fed the "Chinese impression" of other areas. Women in Sichuan are beautiful, People in Beijing are un friendly, people in Guangzhou are shady.....its all nonsense. Don't be persuaded by generalizations of populations in any city/province. It's the same in the US, People in NY are un-friendly, people in the south are rednecks, people on the west coast are superficial.....There are all types of people in all cities. Some will try to rip you off, some will go out of their way to help you.....just depends.

If you HATE winter, looking at Harbin would be a shock to the system. Guangzhou is warm most days if that's what appeals to you and yea having Hong Kong a 2 hour fast train ride away is nice. I always liked Chengdu. Laid back....good food. Gets a little cold in Winter but nothing a New Yorker couldn't take. I would find a climate you like then start looking in the province capital. You will find plenty of opportunity.
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

roadwalker wrote:
it's a free market!


Ain't nuthin free about this here market!

Cool

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 659
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would guess neither of your friends has actually lived in Guangzhou then. It's no more shady than any other big city and maybe less than some. I think Guangzhou would be a good place to start. Guilin is beautiful, but small and I'm told the pay there is not great because it's a popular place to teach, so it's an employers market. Could be the people who told me that have never lived there though, so the same rule applies.

People will try and rip you off wherever you live if you let them. Just stay sharp and don't let them. Guangzhou is the kind of city where you never have to buy anything that doesn't have the price clearly marked. You don't have to deal with markets and street vendors if you don't want to. It's part of the fun of China life though.

Check out sites like Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide etc. to get a flavour of Guangzhou, and then post on a few EFL sites too. The more opinions you look at the better. Then make up your own mind. Good luck and happy job hunting.
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jibbs



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 448

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banner41 wrote:
Sounds like you were fed the "Chinese impression" of other areas. Women in Sichuan are beautiful, People in Beijing are un friendly, people in Guangzhou are shady.....its all nonsense. Don't be persuaded by generalizations of populations in any city/province. It's the same in the US, People in NY are un-friendly, people in the south are rednecks, people on the west coast are superficial.....There are all types of people in all cities. Some will try to rip you off, some will go out of their way to help you.....just depends.
.


Agree with this. A lot of people talk about how other places and people are not as good as they seem to think they themselves are, or where they live is. Encountered this in China a lot, mainly from Chinese guys, though it's certainly not a view limited to China
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Nomad79



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In that case, I think I'll look Guangzhou, Chengu, and maybe Shenzhen as an opportunity's come up there.

Thanks to everyone for being helpful and not being trolls.
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