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Newbie TEFL going to China! Potentially Racist?(Please read)
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amohamud15



Joined: 30 Aug 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:00 pm    Post subject: Newbie TEFL going to China! Potentially Racist?(Please read) Reply with quote

Hello all! I'm just on the brink of starting my TEFL adventure! Though, I've got a few questions for y'all Smile Please forgive me if this has been discussed before - I couldn't find a relevant thread.

I'm 19 years old going on 20, and decided that, despite good A-levels, University wasn't really for me. (I do hope to get an OU degree to broaden my options)

After some digging, I've discovered that most countries require a degree for visa purposes. Though, I was slightly disheartened by this, I found out that China didn't require a degree! Which actually works in my favour - I've always wanted to travel to China and see the culture and experience a new perspective on life.

After some browsing around, I stumbled across a few articles here and there that said 'being black had huge disadvantages' (paraphrasing here) and I would be discriminated against. Now, I'm not native to think that all 1.3 billion people in China are racist but I'm a little concerned it may dampen my experience there.

My parents are from Somalia and I was born in London, so I do obviously speak English fluently. I would describe myself as energetic, creative and generally outgoing so the idea of teaching a kindergarten class somewhere aboard is completely ideal for me.

Please note I'm in no way generalizing here nor implying that the Chinese people are a racist nation - I can understand that seeing someone of a different ethnic origin may be a new experience for some there with state-controlled media and everything and It'll be up to me to make a good impression on the people in my surroundings. I just wanted to know whether there will be any hardships so I can be mentally prepared. I'm hoping to complete my 120 hour course by Mid-November (providing I start now!), so would like to be out there by the new year.

So, I'd love to hear of people teaching/have taught in China and any experiences of this nature? Travelling to China has always been a dream of mine so I understand (and can cope with) if there may be issues here and there.

Thanks for reading! Smile
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, but I am the bearer of bad news buddy. The information you read on China and their visa regulations and requirements are wrong. To get the correct and legal visa, a university degree is required (and I believe) two years post-degree work experience.

You mention that you are going to start a TEFL course of some sort? Im taking a wild guess, but I wonder if the course providers are the people who have told you that you dont need a degree to work in China? Many course providers are a bit of a rip-off really ... they arent selling internationally recognised, valued and accredited qualifications ... they just exist to line their own pockets from gullible people with TEFL dreams. The main course providers are CELTA / Trinity / SIT, all of whom offer 120 hour courses with observed teaching practice. Anything less than this is worthless and will not circumvent visa regulations. i-i, Oxford Seminars and many many others are guilty of these false claims. Avoid.

You ethnic origin may be a problem with some employers in some areas, but the biggest problem you face is the lack of a degree and your age. You are not likely to get a legal work visa in China. Sorry!

(NB - There will doubtless be other young people working in China as we write. There will also be people working in China without a degree. However, it is very unlikely that they are doing this with legal paper work. At the moment you have nothing going for you really, no experience, no degree, and your age is against you (possibly ethnicity too). It would be a bad idea to pursue China IMO)
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://chinavisaukheadoffice.co.uk/china-work-visa.htm

This was the top result when I searched China work visa regulation. It states that the minimum required is normally a degree, but if you find a willing employer they may still secure a visa for you.

If you were older, and have a CELTA and relevant documented teaching experience with references, maybe a willing employer could organise something, but as it stands....I wouldnt think so.
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zactherat



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so.. you are worried that you might be called a racist if you call chinese people racists?


Stuff white people like #664: irony.


Anyway ~

your conundrum is as follows:
most businesses that would want to take advantage of your enthusiasm are based in the bigger, more developed cities,
but these places are the very same that DO require you to be above a certain age, educated to degree level, and have two years' experience and a TEFL cert.

Places that bend the rules are all out in the boonies,
and they are really racist out there, all of them, I swear.. so..
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kungfuman



Joined: 31 May 2012
Posts: 1470
Location: In My Own Private Idaho

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zactherat wrote:
so.. you are worried that you might be called a racist if you call chinese people racists?

Stuff white people like #664: irony.



Damn you sound like a racist.

Original poster you may have a shot at finding a job, however you may not.

Your age and color and lack of a degree do pose a threat to you staying here BUT there are many employers who tend to bend the rules in order to fill a vacant slot. There are plenty of schools that can't keep teachers in their schools because of teacher burnout or the school just plain sucks. Some schools have high turnover - pick a reason.

You may consider obtaining a F VISA - business visa- that allows you to stay in China for 3 months or more at a time for a cumulative total of one plus year. You have to exit to Hong Kong every three months but if you choose a city that is within a few hour bus ride to HK then it is a small issue. Some provinces - like Fujian - are only a 6-7 hour one way bus ride - so it's no big deal. As far as legality - that's not my call to make - many people worked on f visas at one point or another in their China life.

So your choice- try to find a job at home then come here OR get the visa that allows you to stay the longest in China and then make a search once you arrive.

Good Luck.
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roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1537
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP you might also look into coming over as a Chinese language student. Some of the schools that provide Mandarin language lessons also might be interested in having the students teach English, if they have the right passport.
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GeminiTiger



Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 999
Location: China, 2005--Present

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the reality is...
too young
no experience
no degree
wrong color

no, your chance of working legally is really slim.

Advice, go back to school, get "old" and overcome your color with experience and knowledge, simple enthusiasm isn't enough.
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Kysorb



Joined: 30 Jul 2010
Posts: 253
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GeminiTiger wrote:
the reality is...
too young
no experience
no degree
wrong color

no, your chance of working legally is really slim.

Advice, go back to school, get "old" and overcome your color with experience and knowledge, simple enthusiasm isn't enough.



hit... nail.... head....
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relaxtischina



Joined: 09 Jun 2009
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zactherat wrote:
so.. you are worried that you might be called a racist if you call chinese people racists?


Stuff white people like #664: irony.



There seems to be a passion amongst many locals I have met here to want to look down on others seen as inferior to themselves. This of course happens in any society but perhaps because of deep feudalistic roots is arguably more acute in China. Always being tagged a "foreigner" even if you have been married to a local for many years can be seen as an example of this. OP please understand that Chinese people don't see themselves as being racist. After all there are ethnic minorities who enjoy the status of Chinese citizenship . Its just that life has a pecking order which is defined by a set of stereotypes that includes race, local guanxi and your personal wealth. To highlight the wealth part further, I was asked a month ago to be a VIP guest for a large singles party. A reason why I declined the invitation was that to go to the party your monthly salary must exceed 5,000 rmb each month (yes this is a communist country). Being a good match at least for this partyís organizers and other locals I have met seems to include a persons salary level.
OP good luck with your choice to give China a go or not but donít expect that many locals here will understand or agree with MLK " ...... judge not by the color of his(her) skin but by the content of his(her) character.....".
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twilothunder



Joined: 09 Dec 2011
Posts: 442

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chinese people are generally quite racist.

There is a distinct pecking order of preference for white Americans, Brits, Canadians and Australians over everyone else.

The schools might actually in some cases have enlightened administrators who don't think it's a big deal having someone black, Indian or overseas Chinese there, it's often the parents who complain and they're the ones who pay the tuition fees.

I'm sure most other posters here have been here long enough to tell you that's how it works out here, as obscene as that is to those of us with a vaguely liberal conscience.
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fred13331



Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 108
Location: Southern China

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To get a good job here in China you need

A degree - some lesser schools will go without, but, they are lesser for a reason

2 years experience - some provinces impose this rule more strictly than others, but, unless you want to be waaaaaay out in the sticks, it is a very good idea

There is a minimum age requirement, again flexible, which you again fail.

Being black is against you, that is just a fact of life here.

You need to be from an English speaking country.

Now, I know people here who fail on one, or two of these criteria, but you, seem to fail on 4 out of 5. These are just the realities. I would like to offer you hope, but, I fear there is none. I had a school onto me today, desperate for a teacher, asking if I knew anyone, anyone, with an FEC, to do some hours for them at big money. They were desperate, but they could not accept you, just no way to get you here legally
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was teacher in Zambia in the 1970s there was a GRZ programme to send students to study in China. This was at the time of TAZARA construction and "Friendship With China" was a big thing. Several hundred Zambians went to study technical subjects and Medicine at various locations in the PRC. They ALL came home within 18 months because they had experienced Racism.

Last edited by scot47 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Miajiayou



Joined: 30 Apr 2011
Posts: 283
Location: Nanjing

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

roadwalker wrote:
OP you might also look into coming over as a Chinese language student. Some of the schools that provide Mandarin language lessons also might be interested in having the students teach English, if they have the right passport.


This is exactly what I was going to say. Good luck!
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MsBlackcurrant



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amohamud15

I've never been to China (though I'm considering teaching there myself), but speaking as another person of colour, it's often been said in more general contexts that we need to be better, not less qualified than most other candidates if we want to get a good job.

I have no idea about the legalities, but there are always Chinese jobs advertised on this website that suggest that a degree isn't required. But if someone else comes along with the standard qualifications and the desired ethnic background, they're more likely to get the job. That's just the reality.

Why don't you consider doing an HND? Only two years, and you'd be a better candidate. How about Drama? That would be a good subject for an EFL teacher, especially if you want to work with children. And you'd be able to come back to the UK later and top up your qualification with an extra year of study to get a full degree.

(You should also get a proper TEFL certificate, of course.)
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MsBlackcurrant wrote:

I

Why don't you consider doing an HND? Only two years, and you'd be a better candidate. How about Drama? That would be a good subject for an EFL teacher, especially if you want to work with children.


Nice to encourage, but thats terrible advice.

A degree is a government pre-requisite for a legal work visa. A HND isnt going to cut it. And if someone wants to study something useful for EFL, drama isnt it.

OP - For legal work, you need a degree. If you are serious about EFL and want something thats a good subject, consider a TEFL / Linguistics / Education degree.
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