Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Real Deal

Exploring China on the back of a placement teaching english is growing ever more popular. But once you actually set foot in the Middle Kingdom, what is it actually like? Well, typical wages vary from around $6000 to $10000. Whilst this may seem stingy at best, it is definitely a sufficient income in the PRC. Bare in mind that the country is littered with bare-bones markets where farmers, butchers, so on and so forth sell their products. That being said, many "luxury" goods that one might take for granted in the West suddenly become very expensive in China. For example, yogurt in the UK costs about $2, but at your local Suguo or whatever in China, a 1 litre carton will set you back 11 kwai, or about a dollar and a half. Whilst that may not be problematic for your run-of-the-mill expat, it will burn a whole in the pocket of an english teacher. But hey, its not all bad news. Some of the more elite institutions provide accommodation for their staff. In Nanjing, the Grand Canadian Academy, amalgamated with the Nanjing Foreign Languages School, offers its teachers on-campus apartments. Universities also offer good places to base yourself. Cheap accom is available in the foreign student dorms, not just for the learning, but also the learned.
So provided you manage your funds, you could have a ball of a time in China. Travel within the PRC is relatively cheap. Even the most luxuriant of goods aren't disproportionately expensive. It is very much do-able, and very much worth doing. My final tip: eat Chinese food.

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