Looking for a work-travel adventure in Asia? This is a good opportunity: to explore the Chinese culture, and visit the neighbouring countries.
What you get
Return flight paid
Free furnished apartment
A monthly salary in local currency
Help & advice before and on arrival
Free Chinese language lessons
Must be a native English speaker
A university degree
You are interested to teach children between ages 13 - 18
Interested in the Chinese culture
Strong sense of responsibility
Listen to what past applicants have to say
Charlotte Richards 2007
My experience of China with Student Guardian-UK
At the end of my postgraduate degree, I like many others, decided to go to the University graduate fair in hope that I may begin to tackle the scary and inevitable fact that my life as a student was soon to end and the dreaded 9-5 was looming. At the graduate fair in the first aisle there were the usual suspects – Corus, Deloitte and Hays, to mention but a few, all offering graduate schemes for 'high flyers' 'go-getters' and potential candidates for the next series of the Apprentice. Then, in the middle of the second aisle, I noticed a small stand with a simple sign saying "Student Guardian-UK" above a smiling Chinese lady, who I later learned was called Joyce. If you are not convinced by what the big graduate companies try to sell you, are looking to travel, experience a completely different culture and life style, get invaluable experience as a teacher before or after getting a PGC, or have simply missed that job application date you meant to send off for last week and need to buy yourself some time to consider your next career move, you should REALLY go and talk to Joyce. At first you will simply think that Student Guardian-UK offer you the chance to work teaching English as a foreign language in China, however you will soon realize that they put a lot more on the table. If like me you are unorganized, forgetful and generally useless, the prospect of moving to work in China for a year seems at best a headache, at worst impossible but Student Guardian-UK will actively help you with all the following (these I feel are the most important ones):
- Visa application
- Work visa (once you are in China)
- Reimburse your flight
- Give you contact addresses for people like me to ask questions
- Organize accommodation (rent free)
- All transfers from Hong Kong to your allocated school
Furthermore, during the application process you can either email or telephone Student Guardian-UK with any queries, which going by my experience will be answered promptly. I think it is also important to add that you will stick out like a sore thumb over here as many Chinese people have never seen a foreigner before and your presence will be a novelty that does not wear off; but there is a growing network of Student Guardian-UK English teachers (some you may meet at Student Guardian-UK meetings before you go to China) and they will be closer to you than you think. For example, the school I teach at is really out in the sticks but there are around 12 other Student Guardian-UK teachers like me about 40 minutes away (taxi 100 yen – 6 quid to you, or buses for you cheap skates out there, which are like dusty crowed saunas, but on the bright side only 6-10 yen – 60p to a quid) but you will also make many new friends in your school who again from my experience are incredibly welcoming and friendly. If you have read this and are becoming more interested but still not 100% sure, feel free to email me with any questions etc at the following address: cappytainchunk at hotmail.com
Emily Hardingham 2006
The application procedure with Student Guardian UK was very simple - I emailed my CV and then a few days after an informal telephone interview I was told I had been successful. Then I just had to wait and see what school I would be placed at.
When I arrived at my school, after being met at the train station, I discovered that my appointed teacher had gone out of her way to help me get settled in – she had bought all the little things that I might need, like shampoo and washing powder, etc, which was very kind and welcoming of her. I was whisked off to lunch (an important thing for Chinese!) and then shown around town, the town where my school is situated, which helped me begin to get orientated.
I can only say good things about the staff and students at my school. Everyone has been so kind and supportive, which has made me feel very welcome and helped me settle in quickly. In fact, in China I have found that most people will go out of their way to help you despite the language barrier. It really does help though if you can learn some basic phrases, and remember a smile and "Ni Hao" really do go a long way!
I have 14 lessons a week, each lasting 40 minutes, and I teach grades 1 to 3 (ages 15 to 19 years). I do not have a set curriculum or textbook to follow which was daunting at first but I have found you can make the lessons more interesting and fun for the students this way and the internet is an extremely good source for lesson ideas. At the request of my school, the focus of my teaching has been on oral English and British culture. I was surprised at how basic my students' level of oral English was when I first arrived, the English lessons they have focus on writing, reading and listening and this was the first chance they had to really practice speaking English. Many of the students were very shy to begin with and it can be hard work sometimes to get them motivated and encourage them to speak but it wouldn't be as much fun without a challenge!
I have become good friends with a few of the Chinese teachers at my school which has helped me adapt to the Chinese lifestyle and get the most out of being in China. We often go for dinner together and play badminton or table tennis, and at the weekends we go shopping or sightseeing. You will also be given a list with the other foreign teachers email addresses and the local government organizes events throughout the year so there is plenty of opportunity to meet with other foreigners.
I would definitely recommend teaching English in China if you want a challenging experience in a different country. You will have a fantastic time, meet some great people and see some amazing sights!
Paul Cooper 2007
I came to China with Student Guardian UK in September 2005, and I have now nearly finished my first year as a language assistant in a secondary school, near Guangzhou.
There were two main reasons why I applied to Student Guardian rather than one of the many other agencies offering teaching positions in China. The first was that they did not require any formal teaching experience, just enthusiasm, a degree and the ability to speak English, and the second was that they did not take any fee for making the placement. ("Where do they get money from then?" I hear you cry - the schools and the education authorities.)
My situation was that I had some experience of teaching, but not of teaching English, and certainly had never taken any teaching course. I was more interested in going to China and trying the job than I was in spending time and money studying TEFL. Having left university not very long before, I wasn't rich, and I was loath to pay an agent to find me a job.
Hence Student Guardian UK suited me very well, and over the past year I have been glad to have been with them. They try hard to have a good working relationship with the schools, and this helps in solving any problems or disagreements which might arise. For example, my school's reluctance to fulfill certain provisions of the contract was rectified shortly after Joyce Chow from Student Guardian UK came out to China just after Christmas to check up on us.
The school itself, about an hour by bus from Guangzhou, in general treats us very well, requiring somewhat less work from us than from the Chinese teachers, and yet giving us the same salary. I have decided to stay on for a second year, moving to another campus, and Student Guardian UK have been extremely helpful, negotiating a very acceptable pay rise and dealing with much of the administration.
There are inevitably difficulties in adapting to work in China, and these can sometimes be annoying, but overall I have enjoyed working here this year, and I hope to enjoy next year just as much.
Nathan Godolphin 2006
From my experience, I can confidently say that Student Guardian UK is a trustworthy and reliable company. I thought that they would be, since they advertised through my university in London, and we had our first meeting there. It has proved to be the case. I have not required a TEFL qualification and have not paid Student Guardian UK at any point, since they do not charge the teachers they appoint for the service that they provide. I can only assume the costs that they incur are redeemed through the respective educational organisations and schools.
Before departure, Joyce invited us to informal meetings and helped with general preparation via email. Joyce has been very helpful throughout, and has been prepared to take up any problems we have had with the school. This has proved to be useful, considering how English and Chinese cultures work so differently. Some issues have required friendly mediation in order to reach an understanding between the school and the foreigners so that both parties are satisfied. A few months into the contract, Joyce's visit to Shishan (where are school is located), 2 hours ride from Guangzhou, helped us to resolve problems that we had, and led to action in areas where it was needed, for example, regarding Chinese lessons, computers and the Internet. Joyce has swiftly replied to my email queries, at all times throughout the contract. This demonstrates the personal care you receive. Even after you have been placed in the school, Student guardian UK does not abandon you! They stick with you and help you overcome any difficulties you may have with your school, in an amicable way.
Student Guardian UK arranged for me to be picked up from Hong Kong and arranged for me to meet a friendly lady who directed me to the train waiting room. After the train journey, I was met at the bottom of the escalator at the train station in Guangzhou by Chinese English teachers and foreign English teachers from local schools. My journey went smoothly, and I felt welcome. In fact, generally, the contract has gone smoothly and I have loved the 10 months I have spent in China. I can thoroughly recommend Student Guardian UK, and the experience that they make possible!
I studied Computer Science at Cardiff University. I graduated in July 2003. I have now been in China for 6 months. I am having a great time. Everyone I have met in China has been really friendly and have made it easy to adjust to life here. The schools are well equipped and the teachers are very nice. I teach 10 classes and in each class there are 55 students. The students are very nice and friendly. Some of them are excellent at spoken English. The salary that we get paid is more than enough to live off comfortably and to go traveling in the holidays. I have just been to Tokyo.
I came to china in May '04 to teach through Student Guardian UK. I teach junior at junior school near Guangzhou. Since I arrived at the school, the staff have almost always made an effort to help me and accommodate my needs where possible. This year I will teach junior, grade 1 who will be about 12 to 13 years old. I have 10 classes with about 55 students in each. On the whole the students are well behaved although, obviously that doesn't go for all of them! In addition to this, I give a lecture to the English group teachers once a fortnight and three 'English corner' informal classes each week. The other foreign teachers' workloads vary quite considerably from mine, with some only teaching 9 classes each and others teaching around 18 per week. It really does depend which age group you will be teaching and where you will be based. The type of teaching again depends on the age group that you teach. For example, I have no textbook and plan the lessons/ activities myself while the senior school teachers often teach with the aid of a textbook. The work has, so far at least, not been too difficult and I find it very rewarding on the whole.
The salary is more than adequate for a modest lifestyle and my school was always ready to help out when, in the early days of being here, I had any financial problems. In fact, the salary allowed me to travel often over the summer to places such as Beijing, Hong Kong and Hainan Island. The biggest barrier is often the language although this would obviously be the same in and country with such a different culture. However, I have found both the staff and the public to be helpful and understanding on most occasions.
Finally, the decision to teach in china was, in my mind, a good one and one that I have not regretted for a moment!
My advice therefore is, go for it but do your research first!
My name is Gemma Francis; I graduated from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff in 2003, with a degree in Sports Development. Since leaving university I decided to aim for a career in teaching and take a year out to gain more experience. I applied for a teaching position with Student Guardian UK back in 2002 to work on a summer camp they were running; I received a phone call in the summer of 2004 offering me a teaching position for 10 months, as they were looking for post-graduates and still had me on record. Naturally I jumped at the offer I could gain my teaching experience but also experience the culture and history of China.
Student Guardian UK assisted me in every aspect of preparing for the trip, I didn't want to be in a school alone so they matched me with another British. We've been in the school for a month now and it's amazing. The Chinese people are extremely friendly and welcoming and the students are awesome! I really look forward to my lessons, the work is extremely rewarding and the students are very bright and try really hard.
By doing this I get to travel around China during my holiday time, the country has so much to see and offer as well as the whole new experience of the Chinese culture and lifestyle. Since I have arrived in China I have been extremely happy and made to feel very welcome. If someone asked me whether they should take a teaching position through Student Guardian UK in China, I would strongly recommend that they do!
I had not really considered going to teach in China until I saw the Student Guardian UK advertisement. Some of my friends had taught in China before and really recommended the experience. I had always wanted to visit China, but wanted to do more than just a few tourist stops. I also thought that teaching was something that I would like to try. So it seemed like an ideal opportunity for me. Student Guardian UK was really quick to respond to my email. I had an informal telephone interview and was told that I had been successful within a week of sending off my CV. This was a welcome change from many other companies that I had applied to! Student Guardian UK provided me with all the information that I required, but left me to make my own arrangements. They put me in touch with people who were currently teaching in China, which really helped settle any nerves that I had. The whole process seemed really easy and certainly not as hard as I thought that going half way around the world to teach would be. It is really hard for me to describe the experience that I have had so far; although I have tried to do this in emails to my family and friends! I am the only foreigner at the school and probably within the local area. When I was in Britain I thought that I would certainly get lonely here, but this has not happened. All the teachers at the school have been really friendly, helpful and supportive, and everyone is keen to practice their English with me. I am invited out a lot and have actually just returned from a road trip to Jiangxi Province which I went on with some other teachers from the school. I am also in contact with the other teachers from Student Guardian UK and we are trying to meet up on a more regular basis. I couldn't speak any Chinese before I arrived, but I am learning. Armed with some set phrases, I have been able to get a haircut and can leave the school whenever I want to. The school treats me like any other teacher, although I am not expected to do any duties beyond teaching the students oral English. Teaching was a worry for me as I did not have a TEFL or any education experience beyond being a student. I also knew that a normal class size here is 60 students! However, the students are really well behaved and are really keen to learn English. The teachers are really supportive and there is a real team atmosphere, much more so than I remember among the teachers at my school. We sleep in the same dorms, prepare our lessons in the same office, eat in the same canteen and play sports for our respective teaching groups. My lessons are certainly not censored and I have a lot of independence in what and how I teach. I take 16 (40 minute) classes a week. The majority of these are with Grade 2 Middle school students (16-17 year olds) whose abilities vary. I spend most of my work time preparing lessons for the classes, but it is my choice as to how long I spend doing this. The school does not set any lengths of time that I have to sit in the office. The school's management team just want me to make the students enthusiastic about speaking English, with a little information about what Britain is like thrown in. I have really enjoyed my time so far. The staff and students of the school are warm, supportive and humorous. Teaching is, rather shockingly, actually something that I look forward to. China is also fascinating country with an interesting culture. Experiencing it first-hand has been amazing.
My name is Laura Giles and I studied English Literature at Cardiff University: I graduated in July 2004. I was unsure of what I wanted to do post-uni so decided to take a year out. When I read about Student Guardian UK's teaching programme I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to experience Chinese culture first-hand, travel and have an exciting and challenging teaching experience.
I have found the programme organised by Student Guardian UK to be extremely good. The company has met all of my needs and I know that they are there to provide me with support should I need it.
I have been allocated to a Middle School in Dali. The school, teachers and especially the students have all been wonderful! I teach Grade 3 (typically aged 14 up to 17 and share the teaching of Grade 1 (aged 12-13) with the other foreign teacher who is on placement with me) I'm enjoying teaching English here very much; the students are very enthusiastic and eager to learn. Everyone here has been incredibly welcoming and generous: I have felt like a celebrity at times with the reception I've had both inside the school and in the surrounding towns and cities..! I have been very involved in all of the school events and really feel like an important and valued part of their team. Of course, some aspects of Chinese and British culture vary greatly but I think that's a big part of the charm of China and I haven't had any bad experiences so far. I can't recommend the experience highly enough and am considering returning again next year should all continue to go well!
My name is Leann MacHale and I graduated from Oxford with a degree in French and Spanish in June 2004. I decided to come to China to try and pick up as much of the language as possible, with a view to further study in this area. Before arriving in China I found StudentGuardianUk to be extremely helpful. Every problem or query that I had was handled swiftly and efficiently, and the preliminary meeting was friendly and relaxed. Any questions (and there were many) that I emailed to the agency were answered immediately and I never felt as if I were being a nuisance. The flight to China had to be handled by me, but StudentGuardianUK offered advice on air companies and put me in touch with someone already in China, available to advise some more. As soon as I reached my destination, the 50% refund of the ticket was mentioned and I received the money within a couple of weeks (the other 50% is due on completion of the contract.) Travelling from Hong Kong to Guangzhou was handled entirely by StudentGuardianUK. I was met at the airport as foreplanned and my pre-bought train ticket to Guangzhou was handed to me. At Guangzhou, once again, people were there to meet me. The whole trip was smooth and I felt secure every step of the way. The welcome in China was fantastic. The school I am working in has gone out of its way to make me feel at home, and no request on my behalf has been left unresolved. I have been made to feel as if nothing I ask is too much, and the generosity and hospitality of the teachers has been more than I could have hoped for. The students are numerous and it is difficult to get to know them all, but they, like the teachers, are delighted to welcome foreigners. The majority are eager to learn English, and even the "naughty" boys (why is it that you get them everywhere?) are not so bad by British standards. The education system is extremely competitive here and the students know that they must work so the whole ethos is different. Teachers are well respected in general. I am living in a small town called Jiujiang that is unlike anything to be found in Britain. It is certainly an experience. Everyone stares at me and calls "Hello!" and the traffic is like something out of Starwars ( motorbikes all over the place, much beeping, dodging and running for cover.) The big city of Guangzhou is not far away and is easy to get to, so I feel that I can have the best of both worlds, living in the kind of place I would never get to be a part of otherwise, with a metropolis on my doorstep. I am planning on using holidays to travel to the north of the country, having already been to the beach and the city. I would recommend StudentGuardianUK as a reliable, friendly and helpful agency that offers very good living and working conditions (my lovely apartment is rent-free.) I feel very safe in their hands, and am grateful to them for the chance to come to China. It's a cliche, but it really is a fascinating country and I'm very happy to be here.
In July 2007 I graduated from the University of Exeter where I studied French and German and although I was pleased to have finished university, I didn't feel ready to join the working world just yet. So I started doing some research into various travel opportunities and inexpensive ways to see a bit of the world. The best way to do this it seemed was to pack up shop, move somewhere entirely different and by teaching English they paid you for your trouble!
Whilst scanning through various 'Teach English Abroad' websites I came across Student Guardian-UK and I have to say they were highly efficient. I e-mailed my CV to Joyce Chow and within a day I had a reply requesting a telephone interview. The rest, as they say is history, and a mere 2 months later I was packing my bags and flying off to China!
I felt really looked after upon arrival at Hong Kong airport and was soon on my way to Guangzhou where I was met by 6 English teachers of my school in Jiujiang who were extremely happy to meet me and were incredibly friendly and welcoming.
The teaching was a little daunting at first and I don't mind admitting I was apprehensive but the students were brilliant. As the year went on, we got to know one another better and we had a lot of fun. The teaching aspect was a really good experience and something I have a lot of fond memories of. There's nothing like a funny answer to what you thought was a straight-forward question to brighten up your day!
I taught 19 classes a fortnight of 15-16 year olds in classes of, wait for it, 65 – 80 students! A class of that volume does not make things easy when you're in charge of their oral English, correcting pronunciation individually is out of the question but it's about finding a method which works for you and going for it.
The other major bonus to this year was being able to travel, China's location makes places like Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and many more very reachable and I spent many a school holiday discovering a new country, as well as visiting all of the usual suspects such as Beijing, Xian and Hong Kong.
This year has been an incredible experience for me and although living in China sometimes has its moments, being the only Westerner in town can get a bit tiring and no central-heating in the winter was a real treat, I wouldn't change any of it. I fully recommend a year with Student Guardian-UK as you have the reassurance of being placed in a great school by people who have been doing it for years.
If you have any questions or want to have a look at my PowerPoint lessons you can e-mail me at claireheath84 at hotmail.com and I'll be very happy to help.