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hangzhou

 
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samuel



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 3
Location: japan

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2003 4:55 am    Post subject: hangzhou Reply with quote

Can anyone tell me about working in Hangzhou, China. Anyone out there with experience in this location.

I have been offered position with 8,000 RMB per month. Is this good or not?

Sam
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SongGirl



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2003 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sam...are you kidding?? Wink

Generelly, from the number, 8000 is an extremely pleasant amount. BUT in combination with other factors it might not turn out to be such a good deal. How are the other benefits, e.g. accomodation, utilities, work load, health insurance, legal paperwork, commuting if applicable. I had an offer in Hangzhou not too long ago, from a private school. I thought, great, I will finally be able to save up some money! I called up the current foreign employees there...I called on a Sunday but could reach none of them at their home phone numbers. I finally reached them in school, teaching at 5 pm! So that was my first surprise...the job offer had described weekends off. I asked a young Australian woman there about the accomodation...what had been promised to me as "free" actually meant that I had to pay the rent and the utilities...plus the commuting costs from the apartment to the school. Also, that girl had not had a day off for three months at the time of my interview with her!! She hadn't had time to explore the city or surrounding area and when I asked about Chinese lessons, she said gee, I wish I had time for that! What had been described to me as "no more than 20 hours teaching a week" was in reality, we work you hard for that money, honey. The thing is, with such an offer at this location (Hangzhou is definitely not Beijing or Shanghai...compare wages there, and also with wages in the central provinces), I should have known. So yes, you can definitely make money there, but at what cost to you personally, you have to make sure beforehand to gauge a bit. Make sure you REALLY know all the details...and definitely speak to those who are currently working there.

Good luck!

P.S.: Also make sure that they send you a contract copy...that school I applied to tried to get away with telling me that their contract was merely an "oral agreement", and I would sign a contract typed up in Chinese. They were not able to provide an English translation! Imagine that!
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samuel



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 3
Location: japan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 2:06 am    Post subject: bad experience Reply with quote

Thanks for your info. Sounds like you had a bad experience and maybe lost money or confidence.

My contract is written in English and is with outfit called English First. I believe they are world ESL education group, although i know that they have generated both good and bad reports from staff and teachers. Cannot please everyone all the time and yes they are not a professional school but a language centre franchise.

My contract states free apartment with minimum 2 rooms and kitchen. I heard also that there is no tax payable although it is not written in contract, but I will check that issue properly and get it in writing. On the down side i heard that I must work weekends with 1 day off per week on Mondays I think. That is not a drama really, although 2 days off a week is much nicer.

My question is more like..can i survive on 8,000 RMb and is Hangzhou a nice place. It seems off the beaten track in terms of positing on this message board.

Thanks samuel
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,
EF is not a bad school but it is a franchise and you need to check your employer's track record, not EF as such!
One of the downsides is that you might have to put in a disproportionate number of office hours, supposedly doing prep work, but in fact because they don't want you to moonlight!
Which is legit by any moral as I know. Only keep in mind that 40 hours a week is 40 hours a week - not the 12 to 25 hours most of us put in teaching (and doing preparation in our home). If you have to commute, then you know what disadvantage it is!

On the other hand, 8000 RMB is a very good salary that normally is reserved for people willing to work more than 25 contact periods a week! I don't know if I want to work more than that for a single employer! More than 5 hours a day can be quite stressful!

But the amount certainly is good even if you have to fork out a thousand RMB for your housing, which, however, should be offered free of charge.

Make sure they provide you with a work visa and the relevant documents (so you can remit some of your earnings back home).
As for taxes, in principle you are supposed to pay a two-digit percentage of anything above 4000 RMB to your host city's coffers, but most of us are not paying taxes - just yet! It is in the works though!
Hangzhou is a good place to be in - I do recommend it. Not too far from Shanghai - easy for weekend trips!
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David Bowles



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hangzhou is a great city- absolutely huge and so fairly industrial/built-up, but with green hills and temples overlooking part of it. It has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful parts of China, which I think applies more to the past- the 'very fresh' air is like most Chinese cities by now.
(Sample exchange with almost any Chinese English-speaker:
"The West Lake is very beautiful, I think"
"Have you been there?"
"No")
But it's got a good mix of Chinese city life, street markets, food etc., plus a 'foreign community' that congregated in the Reggae Bar when I was there.
But 8000 yuan being enough? It's literally 10 times what Chinese teachers live on. If you eat at street stalls a meal can be 3-10 yuan, if you cook for yourself a whole lot less, and about 900 yuan will get you a 3-day train journey from one side of the country to the other in comfort...
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Bertrand



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 293

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2003 4:29 am    Post subject: Re: bad experience Reply with quote

samuel wrote:
Thanks for your info. Sounds like you had a bad experience and maybe lost money or confidence.

My contract is written in English and is with outfit called English First. I believe they are world ESL education group, although i know that they have generated both good and bad reports from staff and teachers. Cannot please everyone all the time and yes they are not a professional school but a language centre franchise.

My contract states free apartment with minimum 2 rooms and kitchen. I heard also that there is no tax payable although it is not written in contract, but I will check that issue properly and get it in writing. On the down side i heard that I must work weekends with 1 day off per week on Mondays I think. That is not a drama really, although 2 days off a week is much nicer.

My question is more like..can i survive on 8,000 RMb and is Hangzhou a nice place. It seems off the beaten track in terms of positing on this message board.

Thanks samuel


EF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EF English First!!!!!!! Avoid this job like the plague!
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eric the king



Joined: 22 Feb 2003
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2003 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get the feeling that bertrand may not be wholly in favour of EF. Might have something to do with his dozen or so negative posts on the subject. My friend worked for them in Shanghai and found them to be okay. Whatever floats your boat I guess.

As for Hangzhou - I thought it to be a real nice place., although rained for the whole time I was there. And RMB 8000 plus accomodation is a great deal. What's the catch? Taxation I think. get it confirmed in writing. I just started a freelance contracr here and they tried to burn me with 20% tax until we renegotiated. That would take a nice chunk out of 8000.

Finally, beware of 6 day weeks. Sounds managable but after a few months its starts to hurt, especially those early weekend mornings. take Roger's advice - anything above 5 hours a day is too much, especially when you add your prep time. And if you are doing this 6 days a week - esl insanity is a distinct possibility.
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arioch36



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 3589

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An untimely reply, Sameul is probably already in Hangzhou, so it would be intersting to hear about his experiences.
Hangzhou can be a pretty nice place, but becoming too big and more expensive.
8,000 if a good room AND all furnishings are provided...pretty good deal....maybe?
What are the specifics of the contract? Computer and internet provided? Washer? AC? , etc. Without these, 8,000 sucks. You get one day off a week (maybe) and you have to spend it buying this or that. Not the quality of life I want.
Is 8,000 good? for 30 hours, not so good, though okay. For 30 hours of weekends and nights? Never
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senor boogie woogie



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Posts: 676
Location: Beautiful Hangzhou China

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hola!

I have been working and living in Hangzhou for about 8 monthes now. Hangzhou is a college town. There are many colleges and universities here, including Zhejiang University which has several campuses around town.

Today, I live in a large 2 1/2 bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms, a sitting room and a kitchen for 3000 RMB (320 USD) a month. I will be moving to a smaller (but clean and nice) near my school south of the Qingtong River for 1000 RMB/month.

Hangzhou nightlife for a foreigner sucks unless you know good Chinese. The problem is that there are too many bars and not enough of us foreigners. I have drank many a beer at Raggae bar, and the people are friendly enough. If you are passing through here, I would tell you to go there. Kana's is good too, but expensive. There are good discos here like Paradise and WAHAHA, if you dont mind being the only foreigner in the room.

Hangzhou has a beautiful greenbelt around the West Lake which would be nice for biking and sightseeing. There is a zoo, many parks and good restaurants. I like it here, but it has lost some of its luster for some reason.

SENOR
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gerard



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 581
Location: Internet Cafe

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was there yesterday getting my z visa medical. It aint the center of the world but you could do worse. Its a big city and I am sure there is stuff to do. Also 2 hours from Shanghai if you get bored. 8000 is double what I make but I bet you will work every Fri and Sat and 6 days a week. Now that I think about it that is a huge amount of cash and you could save a lot..... Dont worry about the city though because I am sure you will be too busy to do anything...If it helps Marco Polo had high praise for the place around 1250.
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Ann Hester



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2003 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hangzhou:

Hangzhou is one of the nicest cities in China. It is close enough to Shanghai to be modern in outlook and a tourist centre for the whole of China. It is called "Paradise" by the Chinese. Westlake is not only naturally scenic but its gardens are well cultivated and a delight to walk in. Stores are equal to Shanghai stores and, given a little time you will find everything you need.

8,000rmb is very good but does this come with accommodation. Housing in Hangzhou is expensive and utilities are expensive. However, dining out is relatively inexpensive. Taxis are much cheaper than in Shanghai.

If you have any problems when you get here do not hesitate to e-mail me at www.ttahester@hotmail.com. You can look forward to a wonderful time in Hangzhou.

Ann Hester
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senor boogie woogie



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Posts: 676
Location: Beautiful Hangzhou China

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 8:34 am    Post subject: Please don't work at EF!! Reply with quote

Hola!

Mr. Samuel, it is nice that you want to come to Hangzhou.

8,000 RMB with an apartment is good, but you need to see the labor involved. EF is going to work you at least 25 hours per week. One day off might not seem like a big deal now, but wait until you come here. You will be sick of looking at people after 6 days. You deserve that 2 day rest. EF requires its work slaves to be there 40 hours per week also. No thanks.

I worked 6 days a week last year and made 15,000 RMB a month working in two places. It sucked. My work at both places suffered and I quit one of the jobs. This job was at a similiar "chain" school that made a lot of dippy demands on my time and were really crappy about holidays, (one week for Spring Festival, etc.). I was off on Mondays only and I crammed all I could on that day, and spent the other 6 dreaming of Monday again. If I really wanted to work that damned hard, I would of stayed in America.

Hangzhou is a college town. There are many institutions that will happily hire a westerner. Plus the hours are a lot lower, at about the same amount of pay. You can work at several different places if you wish, with an apartment included. You can also have private classes if you wish. My advice is to take a University position for less money and get settled here, then make your mark. Personally, I work 15 hours a week over 4 days making 7,000 RMB a month, and I am home by 1 PM. Easy. I could work at the library or teach kids, but I am taking the Spring off.

Hangzhou is a lovely city in China. The people are laid back and friendly. It is urban, but clean compared to the rest of the PRC. There is a foreign community here and there are bars and nightclubs here, as well as supermarkets, Micky Ds, and HBO TV. Not to mention the beautiful young dark haired Oriental women who want to get to know foreigners.

Chain schools are for suckers and saps. I know. I am a sucker and a sap (albeit a wiser one)

SENOR
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