Below are some of the most frequently asked questions by candidates. If the answer to your question isn't listed below, please get in touch.
I have a criminal record, will I be able to work in China?
Probably not. As part of the visa application, candidates are usually required to provide a criminal record disclosure form. If this document states you have a criminal conviction, there is a very strong chance your visa application will be denied.
I have a medical condition, will I be able to work in China?
This depends on the specific condition. Upon arriving in China, candidates are required to undergo a medical examination. Whilst some conditions will not usually automatically disqualify you from working in China (such as diabetes), others do. If you have a medical condition, it is vital that you disclose this during the application process. If you don't, you may arrive in China, be denied a residence permit and have to return home, all at your own expense.
I want to bring dependants (partner, children etc) with me, is this possible?
Whilst it is possible, most schools will not employ a teacher with dependants. They see it as extra expense, hassle and risk. But if you don't ask...
I want to come to China with my partner, who is also a teacher. Is this possible?
Yes. If a school has two available positions and is willing to employ a couple, there is no reason why not.
I don't have a degree. Can I work in China?
It is possible, but usually requires working illegally unless you have substantial experience. As we do not recruit for institutions who operate illegally, all of our positions will usually require candidates to be educated to degree level or higher.
I don't have a TEFL qualification. Can I work in China?
Again, It is possible but usually requires working illegally. As we do not recruit for such institutions, all of our positions will require candidates to hold a TEFL certificate. There are numerous routes to get a TEFL certificate so there isn't really any reason for a candidate not to have one.
There are so many TEFL certificates, which one should I choose?
For a new teacher who has no previous teaching experience, choosing a course that has a real classroom teaching element will be hugely beneficial. Cambridge's CELTA or the Trinity College London's CertTESOL are the most respected entry level TEFL teaching qualifications.
Should I always choose the highest paid position?
A higher paid position doesn't necessarily mean you will earn more money. For example, a position paying 14,000 RMB in Shanghai may at first appear to be better than the 9,000 RMB position in a smaller city. However, maybe the Shanghai position doesn't cover accommodation, which, as you can imagine, is not cheap in a major city like Shanghai. Plus, maybe you will have a long commute to work so take into consideration transport fees. In addition, the cost of living is higher so with all this, the money you actual have left each month could be less than half of the advertised wage. The smaller city position on the other hand provides accommodation close to the school and as the cost of living is significantly lower; your wage goes a lot further.
Of course, this is just an example. A lot of positions in Shanghai provide accommodation but just to highlight, wage isn't the be all to end all. If you are a new / inexperienced teacher it's better to go somewhere with good training and variety of students.
I saw a job advertised that I am interested in, but what is the duration of the contract?
All positions are for 12 months unless otherwise stated. Most positions also have the option to re-sign for another year / six months after you have completed your contract.
I can't commit to a full 12 month contract. Can I still apply?
Yes, you can still apply. We will pass the details onto the school and they will decide if they can accommodate your request.
Is China safe?
For foreigners, China is a very safe country. Of course, China is a vast nation so some areas are safer than others. Common sense is required but Chinese culture feels less violent than its western counterpart's. Crime does exist here obviously, but it's rare to be out and about in China and feel threatened in any way.
I heard Facebook is blocked in China, is this true?
Most western social media is blocked, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. China has its own social media such as WeChat, QQ and Weibo.
I'm a vegetarian / vegan. People have told me I couldn't survive in China without eating meat/dairy. Is this right?
Lots of teachers working in China are vegetarian or vegan, and they survive just fine. Whilst it is harder than in western countries, it's not impossible.
Can I use my home nation's / IDP driving license in China?
No, you will need to get a Chinese license to be able to legally drive in China.
What sports are popular in China?
Basketball, badminton, tennis, table tennis, pool, snooker and volleyball are all popular in China, amongst others. Football is also becoming increasingly popular.
I don't speak Chinese, should I still apply to work in China?
Of course. A large number of foreign teachers don't speak any Chinese.
What's the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese?
As a quick rule of thumb, Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong and Macau (and surrounding areas) and Mandarin is the language of mainland China. It's not as simple as this but for easy reference, this will suffice.
Are there any age restrictions to teach in China?
You need a degree to work in China so it's pretty rare for people 21 or younger to be given legal positions. In addition, schools tend to be reluctant to employ teachers over 55.
I will be arriving in China soon, what things should I bring?
In regards to teaching, try to bring some authentic materials. Things such as bus/train timetables, restaurant menus, tourist leaflets etc will be incredibly useful to use in the classroom. Authentic materials such as these will add a fantastic dynamic to your classroom and they take up next to no space in your suitcase.
As for other things like comfort food, snacks etc, that's for each person to decide. I usually bring back jelly babies and wine gums (I'm still at kid at heart!).
How do you pronounce 'Mecha' and what does it mean?
The name 'Mecha' (pronounced /'mekər/, or for those who cannot read IPA, Men + Maker) is a great example of the international evolution and similarities of languages. Its root lies in the English word 'mechanical', which is an adjective to describe things related to machinery. This word was then adopted and shortened to 'mecha' by the Japanese in anime, originally referring to robots but its use has expanded over time.
In English, 'mecha' is a homophone for 'Mecca', an ancient holy city. The term 'Mecca' nowadays is also used to mean a place where particular groups of people like to go because they feel happy there. In Chinese, 'mecha' sounds similar to 'Mêi Kè' (美课), which translates as 'beautiful class'.'Cha' in British English slang means 'tea' (which comes from the Chinese 'chá' (茶), also meaning 'tea'), and in some parts of the UK 'my' is substituted for 'me', so when pronounced as separate English-sounding words (me and cha), it means "my tea". Us Brits love tea!
Does 'Mecha' have a Chinese name?
Interestingly, we do not really have a Chinese name. Some Chinese people will refer to us as Mài Jiā (迈佳), meaning something like 'a good step' but it's not an official name.
What do the Chinese characters in Mecha's logo mean?
The characters in the logo are 英语工作室 (yīng yŭ gōng zuò shì) which translate as 'English Language Studio'.