How I Taught English in China WITHOUT a Degree

teaching English in China

In a climate where more people are competing for the same jobs, and more people have degrees than ever, how can you make yourself stand out when you don’t have a degree?

At 21 I had dropped out of university, not once but twice. The only thing I seemed to be good at was giving -up. To rub salt in the wound, I watched my twin brother graduate at 20, and congratulated my friends doing the same and landing ‘proper’ jobs. While I was happy that many of my friends were becoming successful, I began to feel alienated from my own directionless life.

It wasn’t so much the matter that I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life (I still don’t), but I was beginning to feel I was stuck in a rut. Nothing was really happening with my life, and then it dawned on me that I was doing absolutely nothing meaningful. I worked in a retail shop, programmed to fold clothes neatly and convince women to squander their money on overpriced clothes.  It was an environment which I had grown to hate, and I was selling my soul for a bit of lousy commission. I had to get out of England.

I scoured the internet for jobs in other countries, but my mediocre school grades and a half-attempted degree didn’t quite cut the mustard. I looked for alternative ways to enhance my CV like doing Journalism interns for magazines in China, Africa or India but all the programmes were obscenely expensive so I reluctantly gave up searching.

There was no way around it, I had to get paid for whatever I was doing so I began looking for opportunities to teach English abroad, but again, they all asked for a degree.

I had nearly lost hope until I had the idea (well I think it was my dad’s ingenious idea) to email a few schools in China directly.  By cutting out the middle man (i.e the websites which advertise teaching abroad) I was one step closer.

The Reply

It only took a few days to receive a reply from Aston Language Centre, and I was thrilled to read that they would welcome me on board, however, because I didn’t have a degree my pay would be lower than a graduates – I didn’t care about that – I was just grinning from ear to ear to know I had a get out of England card!

Why you should contact a school directly

  • If you go through a 3 party organisation most of them request a charge for organising your documents and finding you a school. Essentially, you are giving them money for a job which you could do yourself.
  • If you don’t have certain requirements such as a degree or Tefl certificate, the school might be more lenient after you have expressed a certain aptitude for what they’re looking for. I’m a strong believer that experience and personality take you a lot further than a degree.
  • The only place I wasn’t able to teach English was inside a university, but I could teach in colleges, primary schools and night classes etc. Even without a degree you have a lot more choices than you think you have.

Finally

I didn’t write this post to say it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a degree to teach English abroad, because that would be inaccurate. It’s far easier for someone who has a degree, and those people can expect better wages too. I have written this for those who felt like I did a few years ago. You don’t need bags of certificates to tell you that you’re qualified for something (granted it can help). Instead you need balls and thick skin.

This post also isn’t just about teaching English in China without a degree. It’s about taking chances, and thinking outside of the box. So many people say they love to travel, but can’t because they don’t have the money. But there are ways around this, and teaching English is just one of them.

If you’re simply looking for a new experience I highly recommend the site Workaway.info. In exchange for various work you can get free accommodation and often food. The unique thing about this site is the variety of work you can do and the places you can go – anyone fancy working for a husky dog centre in the Arctic? Or working in an eco-lodge in South America?

There are so many ways to see the world beyond saving thousands of pounds. You’ll have to sacrifice some luxuries, but who cares when the reward is a life worth living. And many of these ways enhance your CV. Even now, as I’m one month away from finally graduating in a degree in English Literature, I’m convinced the best thing on my CV will still be teaching English in China.

After I left behind my friends, family and comfortable possessions in England to head for China, I really feel that fate truly favours the bold.



A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.


'How I Taught English in China WITHOUT a Degree' have 58 comments

  1. March 23, 2013 @ 5:48 pm Mike

    But now that your degree has the title of ‘English’ in it, should you ever want or need to, you can very easily get a good ESL teaching job practically anywhere. But even without that, I agree, if someone wants something, there’s almost always a way.

    Reply

    • March 24, 2013 @ 10:22 am admin

      Thanks Mike, I agree, my chance of landing a good teaching job is significantly higher with a degree now, but ‘if someone wants something, there’s almost always a way’!

      And once you’ve managed to get your first teaching job (with or without a degree) it’s sooo much easier to land another. I think that’s an especially important point for people who have never pursued a degree. A degree indicates you have a level of intelligence but experience proves are capable of doing the job!

      Reply

      • November 5, 2013 @ 3:30 pm Scotty P

        So quick question, It looks like there hasn’t been a comment in a while I hope you receive this. I was just wondering how you found schools that were hiring people without degree’s. Needless to say great post me and my fiance will be traveling there starting May of 2014 and are hoping to do the same, but we share the same lack of certifications. We do teach ASL to children, so we want to experience this elsewhere.

        Reply

        • December 7, 2013 @ 12:28 pm Marie

          Since July 2013, China now has a requirement for all teachers to have a degree. More than 500 expats were deported in the last 10 months for not having the right working papers (a Z visa and a Foreign Experts Certificate) Both ONLY obtainable with a degree.

          Granted, some schools have deep pockets and will get you the necessary work papers- but never leave your country without first having a Z visa. Without it- you’ll most likely end up working on a L (tourist) or F (business) which is grounds for deportation if caught.

          Don’t risk it- seriously. Unless the school is willing to do the leg work to get you the Z visa upfront, you risk too much.

          Reply

          • January 18, 2017 @ 7:41 pm Sophia

            Hi, it’s not an absolute. I’m thinking about moving to China, in a bit of a financial pinch and have been feeling hopeful after receiving replies back from recruiters interested in having me work over there.

            Your comment almost made me turn away from the idea and return to the hellish nightmare I had been living in for a few months. Luckily, I did some further research and found that although in the majority of cases you need a degree, you can receive a special invitation from SAEFA, China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs as a result of your experience or your employer appealing to SAEFA (with a good reason for why they should hire you) for a Z visa, which will allow you to teach in China legally with no degree. It helps if the employer has connections, unfortunately, that’s just the way it works over there.

            I’ve seen many like you online, although not with ill intention, writing comments and blog posts, misleading people who may actually really need the job, you are giving them false information and it may lead to them turning down a job that could turn their hellish life around all because they’ve been advised it was a scam.

            The blog poster here describes a bad life experiences before moving there and so do I; you might be doing disservice to such people.

  2. March 25, 2013 @ 1:40 pm Callie

    Good advice – especially since you can make actual good money in Asia teaching English. In other places (South America, I’m looking at you), the pay can be pretty bad!

    Reply

    • March 27, 2013 @ 9:12 am admin

      Pay really does vary! From talking to other people, Japan seems to trump all other countries, but China is great because the cost of living is so cheap (for a Westerner at least). Shame about South America – I would love to teach English there! Did you?

      Reply

  3. March 30, 2013 @ 12:10 pm Peter Lee

    I liked the way you directly contacted the school. I agree that degree matters a lot but it is only for the entry level. After that the only thing that matters is – Your knowledge.

    Reply

    • March 30, 2013 @ 9:22 pm admin

      Hello Peter. Yes, I don’t think it occurs to many people (it took me a while!) to contact a school directly so I hope this post saves someone the money they would have spent signing up to an agency!

      Reply

  4. April 4, 2013 @ 4:21 am Agness

    Nowadays, China desperately needs English teachers (preferably native speakers) so getting a job as a teacher without even having a degree or any teaching experience is very possible. As long as you have a great personality, like kids and you are willing to stay in China for at least one semester, they will be more that happy to employ you. You might not get your working visa though, work illegally with lower salary but it’s worth it!

    Reply

    • May 4, 2013 @ 10:21 pm admin

      I agree with everything you have written Agness, and ultimately I think the success of your teaching skills boils down to having a great personality. Kids enjoy learning when the teacher genuinely loves teaching, and that kind of connection builds the best kind of classroom atmosphere.

      I have no qualms about working illegally but I wasn’t sure whether to put that information/advice on my blog… but I’m pleased you have!

      Reply

  5. June 9, 2013 @ 4:56 am Neha

    I loved your post. Holding a degee dsnt mean you can get a better job .hence proved.
    I am looking for such opportunity too .I am from india ( new delhi ) and I wish to travel across the globe. Plus english is not my first language.

    Reply

    • June 14, 2013 @ 6:39 am admin

      Hello Neha, thanks for reading my post! Teaching abroad really is one of the best ways to enable travel. I lived with a German guy who did some work teaching English despite it not being his first language. In fact, in my experience, many people who I meet abroad can read and write better than many English people!!

      Many advice is to ensure your English is the best it can be, perhaps you may have to take an ESOL test, and if you meet the requirements, then you should be fine! Good luck!

      Reply

  6. June 22, 2013 @ 7:59 am Teaching English In China

    Thanky Thanky for all this good informatoin!

    Reply

    • March 12, 2016 @ 9:53 am Alan

      I taught in China without a degree for three years with a work permit as the small print stated that for schools struggling to hire a foreign teacher a degree was not required . It’ was very easy by avoiding the main popular areas.

      Reply

      • August 10, 2016 @ 8:23 am Ana

        Hi Alan,

        I’m glad to see that you commented here. I’m actually in the process of applying for jobs through agencies and have actually been offered a job in Qindao. I’m really stressing out, though, because I keep reading all these horror stories about teachers being deported. When did you leave China and in which city were you working?

        Thanks,
        Ana.

        Reply

  7. June 26, 2013 @ 9:41 pm Allen

    Hello,

    I’d just like to say that I feel the exact same way you did then. I’ve watched all my friends graduate and move on to bigger and better things. I’ve stranded myself on a perputal island of underachievement, and though it’s my fault, I can’t help to feel helpless sometimes. I intend on taking your advice and hopefully teaching abroad. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Have a pleasant day.

    Thank you.

    Allen

    Reply

    • July 21, 2013 @ 8:46 am admin

      Hello Allen,

      I’m happy that this post may have prompted you to seek an alternative route to a more fulfilling future/career.

      I truly believe doing something like teaching English in a foreign country opens many more doors. It’s true that it’s very difficult to compete for jobs with those who have degrees, but many more people have degrees now so that alone hardly sets a CV apart. Whereas, something like teaching English abroad is an interesting experience to make potential employees stop and read. But regardless of how such an experience enhances your CV, the most important thing it does is enhance your life. I hope this doesn’t come across as some cheesy inspirational spiel, I just want to convey how much teaching English in China can change your life!

      Let me know how you’re getting on with the process!

      Reply

  8. June 27, 2013 @ 10:04 am Gil

    My circumstances are very similar to yours, and I too am interested in travelling and teaching before I finish my degree.

    From what I’ve researched, getting a visa is tied to a job offer — and job offers are tied to having a degree. It sounds like you arranged your visit under the table, is this correct? How did you manage? Weren’t you worried about your school trying to take advantage of your status?

    Reply

    • July 21, 2013 @ 9:06 am admin

      Hello Gil,

      Sorry for the late reply. You’re correct – getting a visa is tied to a job offer. However I got my visa legitimately as I went on something called a ‘Language Exchange Program’ where you can teach English for up to 20 hours per week and also learn Chinese. You don’t get paid as much initially (probably 3-4 times less) but your income is disposable since accommodation is paid for. However, once you finish and you are still in the country and have experience you can demand higher pay, especially if you stay with the school since you are viewed as an asset. I never stayed out long enough to get a higher pay but I knew people who had lived in China without degrees and were earning as much as those with degrees.

      The only institution someone without a degree cannot work inside is a university (understandably!).

      I hope this information helps.

      Reply

  9. July 17, 2013 @ 9:23 pm Barbara

    Hi,
    thanks for writing this down. I am in a similar situation too but what makes it “worse” for me is that I’m a non-native. Despite my CELTA certificate it’s very hard finding a job.
    I actully do both, an agency and searching on my own; no big luck so far.

    Reply

    • July 21, 2013 @ 9:22 am admin

      Hello Barbara,

      It’s unfortunate that being a non-native speaker of English hampers your chances of teaching English abroad – especially when you are probably more adept than many native speakers of English!!

      CELTA is probably the most widely accredited teaching course for this subject too, so it certainly shows your capable… can I ask where you’re from? Perhaps you could apply for a Language Exchange programme initially, just to get your ‘foot in’, and then once you’re in the country you should find it much more easy to put your experience into good use because you’ll be able to show off your capabilities in person….

      Reply

      • July 21, 2013 @ 9:52 am Barbara

        Hi,
        thanks for your reply. I’m from Austria and I’m pretty sure we don’t have any exchange program with actually any country. I already tried.
        But thanks to you I already have my first offer. After reading your post I immediatly send my CV to Aston and head my skype interview yesterday.
        I got an offer from Aile Education Group to start in September. It seems to be a franchise. Do you know by any chance something about them?

        Reply

        • August 12, 2013 @ 5:09 pm admin

          Hello Barbara! Sorry, I somehow didn’t see this message! Congratulations on the offer, that’s amazing news! I’m keen to know how you’ve gotten on with deciding between Aston and Aile Education Group? I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the latter institution, but have they given you enough information to make you feel confident and comfortable with where you’d be located? (Where will you be located btw??)

          Congratulations again, I’m very happy for you!!

          Reply

  10. August 12, 2013 @ 5:44 am Katie

    Perhaps this is a bit late, but I’m currently looking into teaching abroad. I’m a US citizen without a degree or TEFL. I was looking into Aston, but they state on their website that a requirement is a BA. Was this already up when you were accepted? Also, do you have any suggestions for finding schools in China? Google is providing a lot of results for job posting forums with most posts being from recruiters.

    Thanks and have a great day!

    Reply

    • August 12, 2013 @ 5:20 pm admin

      Hello Katie, I’ve just looked around on the Aston website and here is the page that you’re looking for: http://www.astonedu.com/en/index.asp?313.html It’s called a Language Exchange Project which is essentially a great introduction to teaching and learning the language (the latter isn’t mandatory – you can do whatever you want in your free time!). The pay is very basic but you have free accommodation, and as you will already know, it’s very cheap to live in China compared to the UK and USA.

      Don’t hesitate to reply if you have any more questions! :)

      Reply

      • December 11, 2014 @ 9:03 am Jake

        If someone took that up today they would be down around £350, the flight+visa is almost £600 and you get paid around £123 a month (for two months).

        Crazy.

        Reply

  11. August 27, 2013 @ 10:31 am Daniel

    Hi, I really like your post and think it is really cool how you quit the generic retail scene to move to China. I taught English in China for six months when I was 19 because I was in the same position that you were in, feeling as though I was doing nothing meaningful. I however went through an agency that I saw advertised in England, it was really bad because they took half of my wages but the experience was good. I now know you can contact schools directly from a long time ago and teaching there again is something I am considering when I finish University next summer. I’m studying Journalism, Media etc and like you I have looked for Journalism internships and yeah they are insanely expensive, something like two grand to intern for a month or two. I am still considering doing it though because I want the experience and would rather get into Journalism than teaching. This is mainly because it is what I would prefer to do and its also for a work visa, I wanted to ask you did they give you one? I have a friend still teaching over there and it is hard to get a work visa, a lot of schools just string you along with fake promises of getting one.
    Anyway nice to hear your finishing Uni and good luck with everything afterwards!! :)
    Daniel

    Reply

  12. August 30, 2013 @ 8:01 pm admin

    Hi Daniel, thank you for sharing your experience, I think it will be useful for other people reading this who are waging up the pros and cons of going through an agency versus doing it themselves. Going through an agency guarantees people a place teaching but that is because, as you pointed out, they can take a large percentage of your wage. Doing it yourself requires more work initially but in the long run it can pay off. Saying this, some companies can be very good and often partner up with good quality schools so basically it’s about doing thorough research either way.

    In regards to your question, I had a student visa because I went to China on a Language Exchange Program which consists of teaching English and learning Chinese. I haven’t really heard of stories where schools make unfulfilled promises of obtaining a working visa but it doesn’t surprise me if this happens. In this situation, what kind of visa do they have to be in the country?

    A journalism intern sounds great, and for something like that, going through an agency would probably be the only choice (unless you’re one of those lucky people that always knows someone who knows someone who can pull some strings!! (I’m never one of those people!)). I hope your last year of uni goes swimmingly and good luck with the things you have in the pipeline! Thanks for sharing your views :)

    Reply

    • September 2, 2013 @ 11:24 am Daniel

      If you want to teach in China now you do need a work visa. You can teach on a tourist visa like many people do but obviously that is illegal and if you want to stay there for a long time you will need a work visa. A lot of people go to hong kong to renew their tourists visas and then go back into China again but it is becoming much harder to do this now, they are tightening up on visas much more as of now. It is now also much harder to teach in Hong Kong because you need to be sponsored by an agency for a work visa, which you will need a degree for and teaching experience. I think also China are trying to filter out the type of people that go there to teach, so I have heard, I won’t go into too much detail about the type of people, but obviously a 40-50 year old Kindergarten teacher…. A lot of the teaching adverts now prefer to hire a girl for various reasons.
      So how much was the Language Exchange Program and what part of China did you go to? I want to do my intern in Shanghai and then work there or Guangzhou. Also where are you from??

      Reply

      • November 18, 2013 @ 11:18 pm Ally

        Daniel – can you please explain what you mean by a 40-50 kindergarten teacher……..it implies that this is not acceptable? I am (albeit a young) 48, currently tutoring employability skills in the UK (having recently acquired my PTLLS). Currently studying for a CELTA I am aspiring to teach English overseas. Feedback from my learners always implies that I am fun, witty, lessons are exciting and they thoroughly enjoy the learning process. During my classroom practice, I have endured many ESOL teachers fresh out of University with no teaching experience and nearly fallen asleep throughout their lessons!!! Sorry but I resent this ageist comment! I also don’t know why they would prefer girls in their adverts as this is sexist surely?????
        Ally

        Reply

        • February 15, 2014 @ 4:25 am Josh Vaughn

          Sorry, but in general China is VERY ageist, as well as sexist, racist, as well as homophobic.

          Reply

  13. September 6, 2013 @ 3:45 am Gerard

    Hi,
    I have a degree but do not come from a native English speaking country, even though I studied in native speaking country. I really want to teach English in China, how possible is this and what advice can you give me?

    Reply

    • November 15, 2013 @ 11:14 am admin

      Hello Gerard, firstly, I’m sorry this reply is so late; your comment has only just come to my attention! The good news is that if you’ve studied in a native speaking country and you also have a degree then you should qualify to teach English in China.

      My first piece of advice is to write out a CV that’s dedicated around showcasing your strongest areas of expertise and how that can be transferable to teaching English in China.
      – Place a lot of emphasis on the time you spent in a native English speaking country, and talk about your fluency in the English language. At this point, it might even be useful to highlight any other languages you can speak as that tells any employer that you’re likely to be intelligent, a quick learner and enjoy embracing other cultures 😉
      – Employers love to hear that you work well in groups, whilst also having the initiative to work on solo projects (which will happen when you need to create lesson plans!)
      – Once you’re created your CV then send it off to schools, universities, or language schools in China along with a short cover letter to introduce yourself. Alternatively, if you don’t hear anything back then go through an agency (which you can do because you have a degree) – look for the one which charges the least and take it from there. I recommend using a company called Teach English in China – http://teach-english-in-china.co.uk/ and if you go to the ‘How to Apply Section’ it’s all detailed there for you.

      Reply

  14. October 11, 2013 @ 12:02 am Workers of the World #10 | The Working Traveller

    […] How I Taught English in China WITHOUT a Degree Though her pay would be lower than a graduate, Aston Language Centre offered this English teacher a way out of England. […]

    Reply

  15. November 7, 2013 @ 5:07 pm Josh

    I’m a currently a student at a university, but I’m accruing far more debt than I’d like to (as most other students in the US). I’m looking into dropping school and getting my TEFL cert, but I’m concerned that I won’t be able to find a school that will let me in. Do you have any tips on finding a school that will let that slide? I have non-professional experience helping non-native speakers learn English, including some Chinese (one is my girlfriend). I was the editor for my school newspaper in highschool, I work on the staff for a paper at my university, and have radio experience as well. I’m not concerned with low pay, as I require minimal accommodations. Is this all enough?

    Reply

    • November 15, 2013 @ 12:02 pm admin

      Hi Josh, I’m sorry for the late reply! I certainly have no authority on this matter, but I’ll try and provide some sound advice. Firstly, I need to mention that since I taught English in China it has been highlighted by Daniel (see comments above) that issuing Visas to people who don’t have degrees seem to be a thing of the past. However, you can get around this by entering China on a student visa through a language exchange program where you essentially learn and teach English for shorter hours. Since you’re not looking for anything highly paid then this looks like the best solution for you, especially since you’ll have accommodation paid for etc. Plus, once you’re there it’s very easy to make your own mark.

      You mentioned that you’re thinking about dropping out of uni, but before you make that decision I think it would be wiser to defer a year. That way, you can always fall back on it if your China plans don’t work out. Also, sometimes it only takes a year and one great experience to feel refreshed in order to go back and finish what you started!

      All your work experience is great – you should definitely harp in on being the editor of your highschool newspaper and being a staff member at your university paper. That all sounds really impressive. I think you might find this site useful – it says an undergraduate degree is strongly preferred but I think still being enrolled at uni and your work experience will be compensatory: http://teach-english-in-china.co.uk/

      I hope you find this helpful,
      Shing

      Reply

  16. December 9, 2013 @ 10:14 pm Adam

    Hey there.

    I’m curious to whether anyone would be able to offer me advice. I’m leaving on the 19th of December 2013 for Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore over 3 weeks.

    I’m currently working a pretty crappy job in a warehouse after I took redundancy from my last engineering job. I haven’t got a degree but I am trade trained. Being that I’m trade trained I only have Higher English.

    I haven’t taught kids English but I have taught kids sports in my spare time.

    In your opinion would I have a problem finding work as a English teacher in Malaysia?

    I am currently looking to do the TEFL course In Glasgow In January. Can someone suggest the course out of the many that will greater my chance of employment in Asia?

    I hope to hear back soon.

    Kind Regards

    Adam Smith

    Reply

  17. January 15, 2014 @ 1:05 am Melda

    Hello… I have gone through a similar situation. I felt ashamed coz I didn’t go to uni and blamed myself all day long. I’d locked myself in a room thinking what could go wrong..

    Your story is inspiring. I’d like to go back to school but I’m probably too old. 23…
    May I know what age do you start your uni and what age did you finish it? Just for another inspiring

    Reply

    • January 15, 2014 @ 8:51 pm admin

      Hi Melda, thanks for your comment and you’d be surprised at how many people can relate to how you’re feeling. Firstly, 23 sounds so young to someone who is 26, never mind if I were in my 50s! Secondly, I was also 23 when I went back to uni, and I graduated by the time I was 25! (a three year course usually only lasts 2 1/2 years in academic terms) So hopefully that’ll give you an incentive to see that you’re not ‘too old’, especially when people go to uni in their 60s and 70s. There’s no age limit, and it’s very likely that you’ll find people of all ages in your class if you decide to go.

      Please don’t feel ashamed and think ‘I should have done this, I should have done that’ because everyone does things at different paces. I’m really happy that I went to university later because it meant I was more focused and did a course that suited me. In turn this meant that I came out with really good results (grades which I definitely wouldn’t have achieved had I gone straight to uni at 18).

      Try not to compare yourself to anyone else, and think about what you want to get out of life and find the best solution towards reaching those goals. University isn’t for everyone, but it sounds like you want to give it a go so you should. I found the whole experience of being a ‘mature student’ very rewarding. Good luck, I hope you do it.

      Reply

  18. January 15, 2014 @ 10:47 am David

    Hello there pretty lady; maybe you could help me. I am also trying to contact schools in China directly to apply for a English teacher position but have been finding it rather difficult to get the official websites for schools in China. What advice can you give me on how to get their official websites. Thank you so much.

    Reply

  19. January 23, 2014 @ 11:04 pm udenenwu nelson

    pls am a nigerian and i stay in nigeria. i would love to pick up any english teaching job in china. i speak and write english very well. is there anyway you can assist me. thanks

    Reply

  20. January 24, 2014 @ 3:59 am Joseph

    Well written. I have felt EXACTLY as you have felt. And for this reason have considered teaching English in China. I’m glad I read this simple, yet inspiring and helpful blog. I will begin contacting employment opportunities directly very soon. Here is hoping I have a similar experience as you have had.

    Reply

  21. February 3, 2014 @ 6:00 am Indigo

    Hi, i am very inspired by your post, but you actually did not say how you taught in china without a degree (maybe i missed it), i read that you contacted the school directly..then what?? which program? did the school pay your expences? accomodation? why did you leave ? how long were u there ?

    Reply

  22. February 16, 2014 @ 8:43 am Raquel

    First off I just want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your story. It’s really inspirational! Truth be told, I’m in the exact predicament that you had been in. I took 2 breaks—currently on the second–from school and I all honesty I’ve just about given up. The thing is I truly want to teach English abroad–more so in Japan or South Korea but at this point I wouldn’t be too picky as long as I could get out of Mississippi. So I’ve decided I’m going to take your advice and email the schools and companies personally. But I have to ask (and sorry if you had said this in a previous comment…I read the majority of them before I just HAD to write my own haha) what exactly did you write to them? I feel like I could write them a novel of whyi would want to work with their company but I figure it’s good to stay straight to the point… So along what lines did you ask them in your emails? Oh, and also when you did email them, were you currently in school? At this moment I’m not and I’m wondering if that would only detriment me more…

    Reply

  23. April 20, 2014 @ 8:39 am Gosia

    Hello Darling! I just bump into your blog and it was exactly what i needed to read on this rainy Easter Sunday thank you you really made my Day! xxx

    Reply

  24. April 27, 2014 @ 8:58 am escapehunter

    Love that photo with the drink and the airplane window :)

    Reply

  25. April 27, 2014 @ 12:48 pm escapehunter

    …it is also an inspirational article.

    You can create advantages even from your disadvantages! One can turn things around and live an amazing life!

    You are right about going straight to the source, cutting out the intermediaries.

    Thanks a lot for your inspiration article.

    Reply

  26. May 4, 2014 @ 4:22 am Jordae

    Omg thank you sooo much!! I’m in the exact same possession as you with no degree and I’ve been searching the internet for solutions.

    Reply

  27. May 21, 2014 @ 4:39 pm Lance

    Hello,

    Thank you for this post, I have been thinking about teaching English in another country however, a degree is out of my reach at the moment. You stated in your post that you prepared documents, what kind of documents were you referring too? Also did you need to know Chinese before going? Did they pay for your trip out there, and your room and board? I am seriously considering this option, that’s why I am asking so many questions.

    -Thank you

    Reply

  28. August 16, 2014 @ 7:15 pm Aya

    Shin even without a degree in English you are the best writer I can even think of right now. You are right when all we need to achieve our dreams is to get out there and grow some skin however I am losing a bit of confidence here on my part since I am from South East Asia and even though I am from the Philippines from a generation that was taught to speak only American English. I feel as though we were only made to learn this language only to end up serving American customers over the phone while their blaring their annoyances about the cable company they signed up for.

    Working as a CSR isn’t so bad because of the incentives and benefits but I get too sickly with confined spaces and smelly office carpets. I wouldn’t even last for 2 – 3 months until I’m way beyond stress and I definitely do not like the working class culture.

    I also dream of teaching but I am not quite confident of teaching others as I have a bit of impatient streak in me. I’m confident about my skill level but I’m also a wanderer because I choose nursing over my love for writing and English (And you guessed it I dropped out after two years)…I didn’t choose teaching because I hated teachers lol
    I did do a year in communications but it was a very retarded college with mostly part timers and lots of work – politics involved and I hated how they treated poor scholar students.

    My greatest wish is to write the truth but its also my obstacle because I’m a very private and introverted person so I have zero skills in relationship building (my ex sup always told me I had problems with building relationships)

    I wish I had guts like you did. I want to gamble a bit like you did and maybe even finish a degree. I’ll try your way and if it doesn’t work then I’ll find my own way.

    Thank you so much Shin and many blessing on your way.

    Reply

  29. October 29, 2014 @ 5:48 pm Tani

    Hi. I just came across your post while I was searching for reviews about the Aston language exchange program.
    I recently applied for their exchange program and got accepted to the Aston language program in Wuhu. I have read some not-so good stuff about it while researching about it. I was hoping if you could shed some light. Thanking you in anticipation!

    Reply

    • December 6, 2015 @ 5:49 pm Kayla

      Hey Tani! Did you do the Aston Language Program in the end? Would you be able to give me some feedback/insight? I, too, have applied and been accepted into the program. Having done some research, I’ve read plenty of mixed reviews and at this point, I’m a little confused and hesitant to pursue what seems like an amazing opportunity. Would you recommend it? I would appreciate your reply so much – would be extremely helpful in making my decision. Thanks.
      Also, Shing, I would be so grateful for your feedback as well. Thank you.

      Reply

  30. November 21, 2014 @ 3:57 am Péter

    Hello everyone!
    I remember in the Summer, i was in the same situation and this blog helped me a lot! Because i’m not a native english speaker, i could not get an ESL Job in China, but i got a German teaching position, wich is good too! But for those of you who are still searching, without certificate or degree, you can get a job!
    http://www.mikeschinaesl.com/
    No payment needed, no registration, nothing required. I hope i help you guys out!

    Reply

  31. April 16, 2015 @ 2:25 am Angela

    I’m looking to teach English in China, I’m from Florida, USA and have an A.S. degree ( in design) which has nothing to do with teaching English but also have 3 yrs of college towards a biology degree. My question is, do they usually pay for airfare and room and board? I also would like to know around how much they pay and finally how do you find schools to write to? Much like you I’d like a ticket out of here, but also am fond of teaching students and would love to be able to travel around the world and learn different cultures. I live in an area where there is no opportunities although beautiful, there’s no money. Florida’s beautiful to visit but very hard to make a living, even with a degree. I realize it’s been about a year since the last comment so hopefully you will reply, I’m desperate to get out of here. Congrats on your degree and hope everything’s going well.

    Reply

    • April 16, 2015 @ 9:15 am Peter

      Hey! I almost forgot about this post! I`ll gladly answer you. So basic thing in teaching in China, you get reimbursed for your plane ticket (one way for half a year contract and round-trip for a one year), apartment is covered by the school/company (in my case even the bills). All that you earn is yours. Food is extremely cheap, however the imported stuff is super expensive. What you wont find is milk, bread and sausages. If you do they are sweet. Dont trust the bakeries. Salary varies from city to city but don`t go for anything less than 8.5k. If you can apply directly to a language school you can even get double that.
      If you want to i can give you some links that would be useful!
      minimedve@gmail.com is my email address. (No, i`m not a headhunter nor am i working for someone to do this.)

      Reply

      • June 10, 2015 @ 8:35 pm Anonymous

        Hi everyone

        I hope I’m able to get a reply. So here is my situation, I have a celta and 2 years teaching experience at a local school in my country, teaching English of course. I was recently in contact with an agency (don’t know if I can state the name?) I had an interview and got offered a position. However I don’t have a degree, I will begin my studies towards a degree this month. I am so confused about everything i’ve heard about China, I know that I am capable of doing the job but I am really worried now because I spoke to the lady who conducted the interview. The interview was good, they asked good questions and were really interested in my teaching experience, problem is I expressed to her the fact that I do not have a degree and said that, that isn’t a problem and I would still be able to get a z visa? So I don’t know If I should take a risk? wait and see if I do indeed get a z visa or cancel everything? I don’t want to break the law but i do really need this opportunity, also I’m not asking anyone to encourage me to break the law, just tell me how it is. Thanks.

        Reply

  32. July 16, 2016 @ 1:56 am Chris

    I absolutely love this post. Right now I’m in Guangdong, China, and I can certainly sympathise with a lot of these obstacles. I found a center in Zhongshan, China, which is about 2 hours from Hong Kong, that was happy to take on teachers that didn’t have a degree. More than welcome to reach out to me, as I’m actually still working with them :) My email is chris.r@propelacademics.com

    Reply


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