Teach English in China with CIEE

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CIEE Teach in China places individuals just like you in paid English teaching jobs in southern and eastern China! You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, eat amazing Chinese food, practice Chinese, and boost your resume, all while learning about this fast-growing super power firsthand. You can sign up to teach for one semester or two, and jobs are available for kindergarten, university, and everything in between.

From start to finish, CIEE will be there to support you. You'll get: a premium 150 hour online TEFL course, a reputable job in China, and the highest level of pre-departure support to help you prepare for your adventure in China. We'll walk you through the complicated visa process, and CIEE will even pay the fee to process your visa! Our 24/7 support and in-country orientation will ensure that you are prepared and connected throughout your entire program.

A CIEE TEFL Certification will give you the tools you need to succeed at being a teacher starting on your first day. Learn more about CIEE’s TEFL Certification Courses.
  • Premium 150 hour online TEFL course included
  • Benefit from our years of experience (CIEE Teach in China started in 1997!)
  • Personal assistance with complicated visa process
  • Unique pre-departure guides including practical info, cultural tips, and advice from former teachers

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Questions & Answers


based on 21 reviews
  • Benefits 8.3
  • Support 7.4
  • Fun 7
  • Facilities 8.1
  • Safety 8.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 21
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One of the best experiences

I was outside of a major city which made it more difficult to get to know people, speak English, find western food. But that made for a life in China I'm not sure others get to experience. CIEE did a great job with the placement, preparation, and visa help. The classes were quite large which was a bit challenging, and sometimes the facilities didn't work. That was outside of CIEEs control and you were able to present a lesson anyway. Great opportunity.

Yes, I recommend
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Teach in China

Overall my time in China has been Fantastic! A lot of it has been due to CIEE. I'm teaching in a great school and I've made a lot of great friends. The most important part of living in China is expectations management. CIEE does a great job of preparing you to adjust to Chinese culture in living on your own.

The CIEE process starts with the application. It is simple and straightforward. After your application is accepted, CIEE will place you with a school that has been vetted and ready to accommodate a foreign teacher.

The VISA process will be long and stressful for most, but do not worry, CIEE will make sure that you get to China safely as fast as they can. While you're waiting for your work VISA, it is important to follow their pre-departure instructions. Some of it may seem tedious but everything CIEE does has a purpose.

Their pre-departure seminars and classes are extremely helpful if taken seriously. They also provide an in-China orientation where you get to learn about the teaching in China and living in the city you're placed in.

They also provide in country support and will help you if they can!

When working in a new country, one of the biggest fears some people have is feeling alone. I've met other foreign teachers who did not got through CIEE that had a hard time adjusting to life in China because they tried to do it on their own. CIEE makes a conscious effort to be there when you need and properly prepares you to live in China.

I am thankful I went through CIEE and recommend this program to anyone out there

How can this program be improved?
It would be great if CIEE could point people in the direction of beginner Chinese classes or incorporate a language course in the orientation.
Yes, I recommend
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So grateful for CIEE!

I decided to teach abroad with CIEE after studying abroad with them in Paris, France my junior year of college. I had a great experience with the staff both on site and in the US. CIEE Teach was an opportunity for me to gain international work experience while continuing my own education of the world — all with a great support system! I chose to come to China in hopes of learning more about the country and their educational system. CIEE helped me find a great position in Shanghai, that has allowed me to do just that! They were so supportive during every point of the pre and post departure process. I am so grateful for the Teach in China team! Since arriving in Shanghai, I have had an experience of a lifetime. From learning a new language, to trying new food, to making new friends, China has so much to offer. I was fortunate to have amazing coworkers and students; everyone was so supportive of me and the learning process. The CIEE staff was there throughout my entire contract and beyond. The team is full of people who genuinely care and want to help you make the best of your time in China. I am so thankful for all CIEE teach in China team has done. I whole heartedly recommend them!

Yes, I recommend
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Teach Abroad China

Without the support and guidance of CIEE, I can honestly say I would not have been willing to embark on this adventure. Prior to coming to China to teach abroad, I had never before been to Asia and the visa process was a complete mystery to me. I highly recommend that anyone considering teaching abroad - especially in China where the government requirements can be confusing and stressful - do it through CIEE. My program coordinator went above and beyond in her generosity with her time. She made herself available to me in phone calls and email and was so quick to answer any questions and concerns I had during the application process as well as in the months leading up to my departure. Whether it was working with me to ensure that my visa paperwork was completed accurately or taking my countless questions regarding life in China, what to pack, how to prepare, what to expect, etc, she was ready to help and made me feel as though she was personally invested in my journey which eased any anxieties I might have had about embracing this entirely new and unfamiliar experience. I have the highest regard for CIEE and their continued commitment to me even as I am now currently abroad. CIEE does so much more than just set you up for your time abroad; they have remained in touch during my time here and have proven that they are available to help with any concerns that might arise even after you are settled in China. I have taken advantage of the in-country CIEE staff on multiple occasions and it is incredibly reassuring to have them as an option to contact should I encounter an issue that I couldn't handle on my own. As someone who does not speak the native language, it is a comfort to know that CIEE staff in China are just an email or phone call away and willing to help with any questions.
When it comes to my decision to leave home for a year and commit to teaching overseas, my only regret is that I did not investigate the school I have been placed at very much at all. In the excitement of being offered a contract, I didn't look into the location or school as much as I probably should have. I would urge anyone who is about to accept a position abroad to take some time to really study their contract and the information provided about their school. Make sure you are fully aware of what you are committing to - the number of hours you will be expected to teach per week, any other responsibilities you will be given, and what your living accommodations will be. Don't be afraid to ask questions before signing the contract. Ask to be provided the email addresses of any previous CIEE participants who taught at the school and get their take on the job. Try to seek a firsthand account of what life at the school will be like as a foreign language teacher. What the school tells you about the living accommodations and work expectations will likely be vague and it would be extremely beneficial to hear what you are about to get into from someone who you can identify with. Do not hesitate to ask specific questions regarding living conditions. The CIEE participants currently employed by the school or who previously worked at the school will be able to give you a more accurate picture than the CIEE staff who are mediating the contract. Take the time to get in touch with these participants - CIEE will be more than happy to put you in touch with them.
Also, be sure to do research on the location of your school and make sure that the setting will be a good fit for you. My city turned out to be much smaller than I had anticipated and I do wish I had taken the time to read up on the city ahead of time. I know fellow foreign teachers who prefer the smaller population setting, but personally, I do feel isolated at times and would rather have accepted a teaching position in a city with more to offer in the way of an expat community, subway system, and perhaps access to some western or recognized stores or restaurants. These things might not be priorities for some, but personally I find myself traveling to larger cities on the weekends in order to escape the bubble of my smaller city.
So far my experience teaching abroad has been the most challenging, but also amazing time in my life. Every day brings new discoveries and cliche as it may be, I can already attest, three months into the adventure, that this experience has been life-changing. It's difficult to put into words the impact that teaching abroad has had on me - I am constantly learning new things about those around me and also things about myself that I never knew. Living and teaching in China is shaping my worldview and my self-esteem in ways I could not have predicted. To be living a world away from everything and everyone that is familiar to me and to be fully immersed in and engaging with a foreign culture day after day, has taught me invaluable lessons and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be here and to CIEE for making it a reality.

Yes, I recommend

Ready to take on anything.

When I decided I wanted to teach abroad, I had no idea how to go about it. I had just graduated from college and it was first time going into the work force so finding placement let alone obtaining a work visa had me feeling overwhelmed. The study abroad coordinator at my university recommended CIEE to me and I am all the grateful for it. CIEE gave me the support that I needed to be able to accomplish my teach abroad goals as well as secure me a teaching position in China. The main highlight of my experience with CIEE was the preparation they gave before my trip. This goes from offering two detailed orientations: An online as well as a live one. Best of all, CIEE also offers comprehensive TEFL training so lack of teaching experience should not be a cause of discouragement. A major plus for the CIEE tefl course is that for online course it is hands-on as well. Like your typical online Course, it is broken down into modules: each divided into sections in which require you to do quizzes, write essays as well as take tests. Each module separated over the course of a week. Students are each divided into groups that are each headed by a an experienced tefl teacher who serves as the groups mentor with whom the students meet with once a week so as to ask questions and discuss each weeks module. What sets apart CIEE’s tefl from other courses and what makes it truly hands-on is that each student is required to to complete a a twenty-hour internship period in which the student may choose to observe tefl classes, shadow an ESL teacher or conduct classes of there own. Most other tefl courses only offer online modules and since teaching is a hands-on job, no matter how well the material is explained all of it is useless unless you step into a classroom and put the theory to the test. CIEE gave me that push I needed to be able to take the first step to becoming a teacher which greatly reduced the stress of my first days of teaching in China. Even though living in a foreign country comes with many challenges and can feel overwhelming CIEE’s support system will help you pull through any tough situation. The coordinator for the teach in China program, Kelvin is extremely helpful and easy to talk to. He can help you resolve any issues that occur with your school, while helping you get accustomed to life and Chine while securing you a good placement. CIEE was the ship that helped me sail the world and I recommend you let them be the same for you because in the tough seas of the world no one else sails smoother.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Experience

I signed up with CIEE back in July, 2015. I have now been in China for almost a year at a school that CIEE set me up with and I couldn't be happier with the decision. They have been incredibly supportive both before and after my departure. Having them manage all visa related issues and provide a pre-departure course was so helpful. And upon arriving in China they have an event to introduce you to other CIEE english teachers in your area. They are also always just a text or an email away if you need any support. I am very happy with their service and am planning on a second year in China. Highly recommend these guys!

Yes, I recommend
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Satisfied with CIEE

I chose CIEE because I wanted to teach in China, but didn't want to go through the process without a support network. It is possible to do so, but you expose yourself to risks like being scammed by your school, especially if you don't speak Chinese. The fact is, having foreign English teachers in China is a business maneuver by schools to increase student enrollment, so having CIEE in your corner provides you with leverage. These schools rely on CIEE to provide them with teachers that have TEFL certification, so it is in their interest to make sure you have a good time at their school. The program director, Kelvin, is great at his job. I never had any serious emergencies and so cannot attest to CIEE's assistance in such a scenario, but whenever a coworker or I had issues or questions that our school could not handle, we could reliably turn to Kelvin for assistance.

Teaching experiences in China will vary widely, based on student age group and teaching location. China is a very different place to live and do business in if you are coming from a western country, especially if you aren't proficient enough in Chinese to get by on your own. Having a support system to rely on for serious problems allowed me some peace of mind to more fully enjoy the challenges and differences of living in China.

Yes, I recommend
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Go for it!

I chose to teach abroad because I wanted adventure, I loved teaching and I thought it was a good way to live overseas. I chose China somewhat randomly... The timing of the program was the best for me. I applied with my boyfriend and we were both accepted and placed at the same school. We read that CIEE had a good reputation for placing couples, so we went for it. The placement that we ended up with is ideal. Honestly, the whole process has been great. Of course, the visa and pre-departure tasks are a headache (mostly just because they are time consuming), but it's all worth it in the end. Our coordinator, Allison, was so helpful throughout the whole thing. Being able to just call her and speak with her directly whenever we had questions gave us such peace of mind that CIEE would support us with whatever we need. Teaching in China has been a great experience so far. I would highly recommend it.

Yes, I recommend
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You get your money's worth

The last thing I wanted was for an agency to take advantage OF me to advance their own business and to leave me in the dust to fend for myself after getting me the job. I was glad I came across CIEE, who never did any of those things, and I found the organisation to be transparent and honest. They listened to my worries pre-departure and assured me, and they continued to do so even after my arrival. The webseminars and the forums on the pre-departure training course are useful because then you see some of the questions and concerns that others have that you might have never considered. They also provide you with a list of the previous CIEE teachers who taught at the school so that you can get into contact with them. I asked to be placed in a less developed part of China where I could be immersed in the culture and practice my Chinese, which is what I am getting, so I am very pleased with my placement via CIEE and for all their their help.

How can this program be improved?
I think it is important that the program take into consideration what the participants have suggested, that being said, I think that is what the organizers have been trying to doing. At this year's orientation they were giving lessons on practical and useful Chinese phrases and teaching the basics on the tones.
As for the previous suggestion of having more "actual" teachers be present at the orientation, having the non education degree teachers who have been teaching in China for several years is still extremely valuable in the orientation. Many of the things that the teachers say in the orientation on how to teach and organize a lesson will have already been mentioned in the TESL courses, so I don't think they have to go too much into detail. During their stories, they will have shared about how to prepare a lesson, how to grade, what approach to use etc. I think the personal stories of the experienced teachers were the most effective and they should continue to share those with the participants (type of lesson ideas that worked really well in the class for his/her students when teaching oral, reading, writing, what to do with students who want to change their grades, expectations of students towards their teacher, topics that are interesting for students etc).
Yes, I recommend
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I didnt know i would get roped into a review

I like the program it is a good program. The orientation was enjoyable and helpful, i love my placement. My boss is amazing. Everything is going well in my day to day life. difficulties are being overcome.

How can this program be improved?
The orientation could be vastly improved. More emphasis on Chinese lessons for those of us that do not speak Chinese. More emphasis on faux pas that we may make and how to avoid them. Also more teachers that are actually teachers. I know not a lot of people that come to China to teach have a teaching degree, but they should be the ones giving advice to the first time teachers, not other people that have been "teaching" in China for a few years. There is a big difference between teaching in China for a few years, and actually having a teaching degree. Also making me, a person with a teaching degree and a TEFL certification do "teaching 101" in orientation is a gigantic waste of time, when I could be taking Chinese lessons or cultural lessons, or literally anything other than being retaught what I have studied for four years at my University under professors, not people who are native English speakers and who have a bachelors degree.
Yes, I recommend
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Don't teach abroad without CIEE!

I was hesitant to pay money to be placed abroad, but I'm so glad I went through CIEE! The in-country orientation and support they provide are worth every penny. I've been lucky with a fabulous school placement, but other friends not so much. When they had problems with their school, they called CIEE and a local staff member was at their school to resolve the issue within the hour. Being abroad alone is scary enough as it is - there's no reason to do it without the support CIEE provides. Additionally, CIEE provides a network of foreign teachers to share your experiences with, learn from and travel with during your stay.

Ali was especially helpful from helping me choose China in the beginning until I received my visa and completed my orientation in Chongqing. It's great to be able to speak with someone who's been in your shoes before.

Just having CIEE assist you through the work visa process is enough to make the investment worthwhile.

Yes, I recommend
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Avoid CIEE.

As noted earlier in a previous post I will also explain my rating system. Overall rating, I gave the program 3 out of 10. This is because CIEE did assist in the initial phase of getting me to China, but once here many issues arose. When CIEE was contacted I never received any kind of feedback and it seems that nothing was solved when I voiced various concerns. As far as benefits goes I gave this category a 1 out of 10. CIEE well underestimates the pay and from what I have seen and been offered from various other schools in the area we are getting paid far less than any other foreign teacher in China, regardless of the amount of experience and school type. To be honest everyone who I speak with doesn’t understand why I came here through CIEE and rather insists that I was scammed and should have applied directly to a school of my choice. I would be getting paid twice the amount and would not have to deal with any kind of drama…trust me. Support I also gave this section a 1 out of 10. Kelvin is a great guy and hard worker and truly is dedicated to CIEE. But I have received zero support from CIEE state side and feel as if I have been left behind. The main reason I applied through CIEE is because I wanted to avoid the headaches and such but this whole experience with CIEE has been nothing but complete agony. Facilities I gave 3 out of 10 because this is China and the facilities are what they are, Chinese…..I gave the fun section 5 out of 10 because I am having an amazing time! The culture and the way of life here is amazing and it’s been nothing but a fun adventure. I would have given a 10 out 10 but I have to deal with the constant headache of the company I was placed with in Harbin. They are nothing but a money making machine and care nothing about their employees or the education system. I applied thinking that I was going to be working at one school, not three or four and would be dealing with professional, honest people. And in turn it has been nothing but a complete nightmare to say the least. So whatever you do, do not get placed with a Chinese company in Harbin or Qiqihar and rather insist that you be placed at one school. And of course I raised various questions regarding the company I was placed with and was told that this was one of the few organizations who can get a working visa and whatever paperwork is essential. When in fact there are eight universities here in Harbin who has told me to just go home and re-apply through them because they can get me the working visa and all. Not only universities but international language schools and many primary schools can also get you the proper paperwork in order to work and live in China. Thus I still do not understand why I was dumped with this horrible organization. And of course CIEE has yet to do anything and I am stuck trying to figure out my next move. Safety I gave 5 out of 10 because again it is China and we are foreigners you just have to be safe and use common sense. Overall the staffs at CIEE are very friendly but something’s need to be sorted out from a managerial standpoint regarding the handling and relations with schools overseas. You do not need to go through an organization and just apply directly to a school of your choice. For most CIEE participants they have a blast, it just depends on where you are placed. Unfortunately I was placed with a notoriously bad company in Harbin and nothing has been done about it. CIEE has been notified several times and again I feel as if they do not care. China is amazing and it is what you make of it!

How can this program be improved?
If CIEE stopped placing people with this company in Harbin life would be amazing and I would be able to enjoy my time.....
Response from CIEE

Thank you for the feedback. CIEE has been working with the group of people in the area of China where the teacher is located to address the specific concerns of each individual and to improve the quality of the program moving forward. These improvements will result in better communication between the host schools and the teachers. Teachers will not be hired in groups, by schools who will then re-hire them to other schools. Additionally, the training program, when it is required, will be explained more clearly in school profiles and in working contracts.
Regarding salaries, each teacher is given a school profile before confirming their position and fully-committing to the program. This profile includes information about the school, teaching schedule, and salary details. Additionally, each profile and contract includes details about appropriate trial periods. Really, this is a training period and is not included in all contracts. These are sent to the teacher before commitment to the teaching position. If any of these details are problematic, any member of our staff can help explain or interpret the details and even to help re-negotiate the contract if necessary. As the commenter noted, negotiations are possible up to signing the contract. The culture of negotiations is deeply embedded in the experience in China; CIEE recognizes this and through cultural workshops in the orientation and 24 hour phone support, usually negotiations can be successful. We have also noted the challenges and misunderstandings that occurred with the trial period/training period this year and are working with the schools to make sure that the period is more transparent.
Hopefully other foreigners in the city are not the only source of fun, as a year in China should hold many other adventures. However, other foreign teachers in your network when you arrive is a major advantage of CIEE as CIEE operates the program in a group setting, in an effort to ensure that the program participants can network with each other before, during, and after the program.
Health insurance is a requirement of any CIEE Teach Abroad experience and iNext insurance has proven to be effective and to cover people adequately in China.
To effectively use CIEE support, CIEE only requires communication. Kelvin Li is a very dedicated supporter of teachers in China and he holds a 24-hour cell phone that does not get ignored. Equal support is available with the four, dedicated staff members in Portland, Maine. On the chance that this participant's email(s) got filtered by a junk filter, all CIEE participants have access to their CIEE account which directs messages directly to the entire team and is impossible to ignore. We are here to answer questions before, during, and after the Teach Abroad experience. As an organization with over 65 years of history, we are here to support your experience abroad and to validate your employment with anyone who requires a reference after your year abroad is over.
Please call us directly at 1-800-407-8839 ext 6 and we can explain our services, how we respond to challenges, and connect you with blogs and program alumni. Matt Redman, Director of Teach Abroad Programs

Yes, I recommend
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I was happy with CIEE

I have read some of the reviews and I was surprised. My experience with CIEE was excellent.

Pre-arrival in China, any questions I had about the program were answered fully and in a timely manner. This being my first real trip abroad, I had no real idea of what to expect, especially when visiting a developing country. Help with a visa and other official "stuff" was great.

Information about my school was provided by CIEE in the form of email addresses and other contact information for CIEE participants that were/had been at my future school. I got some great information from the people I wrote and I felt much more at ease and informed about my new assignment.

The airport pickup and the orientation in Shanghai were great. Kelvin Li and his staff did an excellent job. We were wined and dined, saw some great sights, and had a lot of fun. Experienced teachers were there to give us some guidance on what to expect at our destinations and in lesson planning, class preparation, and teaching ideas. I found that very helpful. Finally, transportation to our schools was provided. I think the money for the program was well spent.

As far as issues at/about my school, they were minimal. I took up any issue with the FAO myself and if it couldn't be resolved, I simply contacted Kelvin, CIEE's prgram director in Shanghai, and the problem was fixed.

I am now almost halfway through my fourth year in China after teaching in three different cities and virtually every grade level. I now return to Shanghai for CIEE's orientation where I help out as an experienced teacher.

I am loving my life in China and I would not hesitate to recommend CIEE as a way to get here.

How can this program be improved?
I am not sure what I would change, but I might add a trip to some local schools as part of the Shanghai orientation so that participants could get some idea of what they might expect to see at their schools.
Yes, I recommend
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Teaching at a university in Shandong Province

After completing our Bachelor's degrees in the US, my husband and I taught at Shandong University of Science and Technology located in an area called Huangdao which is outside of Qingdao, China. I had been to China before and studied abroad with CIEE in Beijing while completing my degree, which is how I learned about their Teach Abroad opportunities.

My husband and I weren't sure what we wanted to do career-wise so we decided to spend a year in China while we figured things out. Neither of us had much teaching experience so we knew we needed to be flexible and open to different locations & age groups. We were excited when we learned of our placement and immediately started to research the area.

The year that we spent in Huangdao China is certainly something that we will never forget. After our year teaching at Shandong University of Science and Technology we relocated to Shanghai where we stayed for the next 2.5 years. We both agreed that the year in Huangdao gave us a much clearer perspective on Chinese students than many of our friends who had only been able to live in Shanghai or Beijing.

We were not paid much while teaching at SUST (roughly 500USD/month, mind you this was 4 years ago) however housing was provided and food cost next to nothing. In our first semester we were able to save enough money to travel around China, Hong Kong and to Singapore for the majority of our six-week summer holiday.

Our teaching load was incredibly light, which allowed us to spend time on self-development (which mainly meant binge-watching Mad Men and and catching up on my long list of novels to read) but we also had a lot of time to get to know the students better and experiment with different lesson plans. We were fortunate to have each other to bounce ideas off of the first semester, because the university didn't offer much support for development. However the second semester we were at SUST we were joined by another group of incoming CIEE teachers that were equally as enthusiastic about self-improvement in the classroom. We definitely bonded with these other teachers, and 3/5 of them I still communicate with regularly.

Overall I loved my experience teaching in China with CIEE. I was grateful for the support that we received before our departure and upon arrival in Shanghai. I don't feel that my local university did an excellent job of setting expectations for us, however I also learned that this is how things often go in China. If you're about to embark on this journey, no matter what organization you go with, I believe the most important thing to remember is that it's going to be different from what you're used to (and that's the whole point of going). Keep an open mind and be flexible.

Have fun, I wish I was about to start this journey again!

How can this program be improved?
The support at our local university. The first semester we had a wonderful contact, he was extremely helpful and prompt however the second semester he was replaced by another gentleman who wasn't as accessible.

As new teachers this was intimidating because we had no way to gauge if we were doing well in the classroom.
Yes, I recommend
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Simply not worth the fee

My boyfriend and I went through CIEE for Teach Abroad in China and would not recommend going through CIEE to anyone, for the following reasons;

1) The program costs a great deal of money ($2000+) and the services rendered are advertised as placement, an orientation, information on the teaching process and living abroad in China, and visa acquisition. When placing people, CIEE does not closely follow the requests of either the individual (We specifically requested to not be placed teaching children and were placed at a preschool) or the school (our school asked for people with two years of experience or more and they were provided with us. We had no experience working with children and my boyfriend had no work experience). Furthermore, they do not provide clear information about the ability to reject a placement. As for the orientation, the location was nice, as well as some of the activities, but the information rendered was far too little and, often, not accurate (For example, CIEE provided us no information on taxes, little information on teaching [especially for the preschool level], and their Chinese lessons, although split up into different competency levels, were all provided with the same packet).

The visa acquisition in particular is the largest strike on their system for me. We were provided little information about how the visas are secured and no forewarning about how the visas may not be acquired in time. It came as a shock to receive an email from CIEE telling us that our visas would not be acquired in time and that we needed to change our arrival date. We had spoken to CIEE previously about visa acquisition, as we wanted to arrive a few days early, and they had informed us that this would be no problem. However, when the visa wasn't coming through, I tried to get more information from them, and they became impossible to reach. Once I finally reached my coordinator, he begrudgingly agreed that the visa could be acquired in Hong Kong at our own expense, but would not provide me with details as to what would go into this effort. I understood that CIEE was not at fault for the visas not coming through, but their literature had not been forthright about the possibility. As information was the bulk of what I was paying them for, I pointed this out to the coordinator and suggested that the literature be updated to be more forthright. It was not updated.

When I asked the coordinator if I was guaranteed to get my visa by the date they told us to arrive, he informed me that we were never, in fact, guaranteed to get any visa from them, but if we had not received any visa by October, they would refund "a part" of our program fees. This was, in fact, generous of them, as their contract rather brutally absolves them of pretty much everything that can go wrong.

Once we informed CIEE that we did intend on getting our visas in Hong Kong, lest we incurred more cost, they danced on thin ice with our visa applications, waiting for the Z paperwork to come in, even though I requested that they didn't and I wanted to incur the cost on my own. We did not receive our passports with the L visa back until the day we were leaving. Once we reached Shanghai, we had been no better informed about what would occur, even after asking 2 CIEE representatives who were supposed to be the head of their departments. We were told that our school would handle everything. Once we finally went to Hong Kong to acquire our Z visa, we were informed by the Hong Kong office that our US physicals were not valid for visa acquisition in Hong Kong. When we called CIEE Shanghai, they were surprised by this fact, but did nothing to help us solve the situation. When we called CIEE Portland, they condescendingly informed us that we had been "warned" and informed that this would happen. When we told them that we were, in fact, not, they, again, did nothing other than admit their mistake.

2) CIEE representatives have often fallen off the grid and been completely impossible to get a hold of (this has been an experience program-wide over here). When CIEE representatives are reached, they often have nothing better to tell you to talk to your school about it.

3) I was informed by my school that they go through CIEE partially because it allows them to pay their teachers significantly less. That said, there are jobs in my area that require less time and experience (and no degree) that pay over double what I receive in a month.

In conclusion, what you can receive through CIEE Teach Abroad, be it information, TEFL certificate, a job placement, visa paperwork, and a short stint in Shanghai, can easily be acquired on your own and is not worth the large program fee forked over. If you are looking for a support network in China, CIEE is not a strong candidate.

Response from CIEE

CIEE has been operating the Teach in China program for over 15 years and works towards the mission of building intercultural competency and mutual understanding. CIEE Teach in China provides all applicants with pre-departure guidance and school placement information that is very detailed. The school placement profiles detail hours and age level taught. We work with the schools to ensure that this information is accurate and all participants confirm their placement after reading the school profile, by paying most of the program fee. If CIEE fails to place a candidate we refund program fees. CIEE is dedicated to following through on commitments to providing services outlined in program materials. Visas are rushed to ensure arrival, even if they need to arrive on the same day as in the case above.
CIEE strives to ensure that positions offer competitive benefits and fair pay to all candidates. Compensation is monitored according to candidates’ qualifications. Inexperienced teachers can expect similar pay throughout China, as experience and pay grows, regardless of degree.
As an organization that is over 65 years old, CIEE continues to grow and be the leader in international educational programming. Our employees are dedicated to responding to all program participants’ needs and questions. Each experience is different and we strive to help make each experience great. The comments in this review will help us to work with the ever-changing visa situation in China and help teachers, with or without 2 years of experience, to have life transforming experiences. We have adjusted pertinent documents according to experience and as needed for all future departures. Please feel free to call me or any member of the CIEE Teach in China team, we are happy to be honest about the challenges one might face when taking the leap to teach in China. Sincerely, Matt Redman, Director, Teach Abroad Programs

No, I don't recommend


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CIEE offers paid teaching positions in Chile, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Morocco, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam, and volunteer programs in Spain and Portugal, for university graduates looking to teach English abroad and...