Teach English in China with CIEE

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About

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.
Highlights
  • 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

Questions & Answers

Reviews

81%
based on 23 reviews
  • Benefits 8.3
  • Support 7.6
  • Fun 7.3
  • Facilities 8.2
  • Safety 8.6
Showing 16 - 23 of 23
Default avatar
MBloem
9/10

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
Default avatar
Kara
1/10

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
Default avatar
ciieeer
4/10

Not what it's cracked up to be

I did get a one week orientation in Shanghai which I really enjoyed but not everybody did because they did not get their visas in time due to issues with their schools. Ciee did place me but the information I got about my school and the city it is in was seriously misleading. The information is about an old location the school was in and hasn't been in for five years. I was also never given the information that in the last five years of ciee placing poeple at my school only one has stayed the whole year. When I contacted ciee about issues with my school they simply tried to scare me into staying by giving me incorrect information about how my visa could be canceled. (After talking to a lot of people in China they all say the same thing, it's next to impossible to cancel a visa). I often didn't even get answers from ciee staff when I sent them questions.

Though I have to say all in all the work at my school isn't bad (I've heard other ciee people who have to deal with much worse) the school they sent me to has forced me to work more than is stipulated in my contract and refuses to pay me money when stipulated in my contract. My living conditions are poor (living alone in a school building where there are classes every day in the classrooms next to me). The school even refuses to do simple things to make life better (such as refusing to turn the bells off in my building when the students aren't in school or have a Chinese person in some of my classes to reprimand students).

Other native speakers in my city get treated much better by their schools, have much better accommodations, and get paid much more than I do. Honestly, if I were to do this again I would come on my own. Going through Ciee is a waist of time and money. It's better to get information on online forums from people living in China and find a job from the internet than it is to use this program. For the money you pay you could easily pay for accommodations and even a plane ticket home if the job you find for yourself isn't good.

I personally work at a public school where the students don't have the ability or want for a foreign teacher. The only reason I'm at the school is to keep their standings high in the community and charge students higher tuition. This is not what I expected to deal with when I came to China especially through ciee.

Response from CIEE

After working with some schools for more than 15 years, CIEE is happy to provide the contact information and placement information for former participants, irrespective of past experiences; all school profiles contain names and emails of all CIEE participants placed at each school. Participants are free to contact former participants to find out first-hand experiences with their exact school. For school profiles, CIEE works with schools to provide information that benefits the incoming teachers, as experience indicates (and common sense predicts) that better prepared teachers arrive more comfortably and can work their way into teaching more easily.
CIEE Teach in China also provides continual support for any issues that can help improve teachers’ situations. There is a 24-hour line to call to help with support issues such as ringing bells or discipline assistance that is necessary. CIEE is here to assist with communication problems and to ensure that there is not a cultural misunderstanding. CIEE helps participants by increasing their understanding of their situation and advising the best ways to negotiate for themselves, or directly facilitating negotiations for program participants. We encourage this participant to reach out to us for help to make life better. Visas cannot be changed in China as they are tied to the specific job that brings you to China.
The CIEE Teach in China team is here to address any questions you might have, please feel free to call us. Sincerely, Matt Redman, Director, CIEE Teach Abroad Programs

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Harbin,
1/10

Can't be trusted

CIEE promised to send me and 8 other people to teach at a college. Instead they sent contracted us out to a company that pimps us out all over one of the coldest cities in China. I'm on an overcrowded bus (usually without heat) for a few hours every day and go to five or six different schools per week. I teach every grade level, ranging from adults to kindergarten, and often do not know the material I am teaching until I arrive at the school.

CIEE claimed to not know this happened here, but the people who they sent here last year complained about the same stuff. We've already lost one teacher, my best friend, because conditions were too hard to handle. Our boss is uncaring and mean.

I know we're in the minority of CIEE experiences, but either way you should this could happen to you.

Response from CIEE

CIEE works with private and public schools all over China. Based on feedback from participants, we have been working with schools to ensure that if travel is required for teaching jobs, it is reasonable and not beyond what a normal commute would be in a similar sized city elsewhere. Additionally, school profiles detail whether or not participants teach in multiple schools and if travel is required.
CIEE takes the feedback of participants very seriously and either works with schools to improve management of their teachers or ceases to work with the schools that cannot provide a positive environment for teachers. Evaluations are continuous and apply to all schools, whether new partners or long-standing partners.
The challenge of information that this participant speaks of is real in any situation in China, as timing and dissemination of schedules, curriculum, and expectations are the largest challenge that participants face in adjusting to life in China. The CIEE Teach in China program orientation provides workshops on cultural adaptation and negotiation skills, specifically in an effort to bridge the high-context/low-context culture difference. Combined with 24 hour support, CIEE provides participants with the tools to be successful teaching abroad.
Please do not hesitate to contact any of the CIEE Teach in China team if you have any questions about how we work with schools or our support services. We are here to talk to you. Sincerely, Matt Redman, Director, Teach Abroad Programs

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
mark.reese11
10/10

3 Programs, and still loving it.

After completing three different programs with CIEE, I can confidently tell you that they are a great company to work abroad with. My accommodation, although not perfect, are above and beyond others I've seen from those coming from other programs. I feel sorry for my friends who came here independently or through the British council who do not have either the support or the western style toilets that CIEE guarantees.
I have yet to have any problems with my school, but some of my friends have told me some interesting ones and have enthusiastically shared with me the efficiency and effectiveness of the CIEE staff to remedy any problem.
Honestly, I live a pretty sweet life here, like most CIEE participants, I have a 20 hour work week which helps me delve into the culture and language I'm surrounded by along with the ability to do many weekend trips.
Why choose CIEE? Because it has the best service I have ever heard of, and they have your back.

How can this program be improved?
The cleanliness of most apartments before arrival was pretty bad, and something any teacher should anticipate. I wish CIEE had a way to guarantee a cleanly environment upon arrival.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sean
10/10

Great Company

CIEE was a professional, thoughtful, and organized group. It was well developed and the orientation was extremely helpful. I felt very safe and informed the whole time. I received information regularly and did not feel unprepared. I enjoyed my experience and the organization. It was nice to go with a well respected organization.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10

CIEE is a great program

I did a study abroad with CIEE and when I wanted to teach abroad I chose them as well. Organized, helpful, and provided great connections with other teachers. Overall great program and would highly recommend it!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Per
9/10

Teaching University English in China

Heading to China was very unsettling at the start. I didn't know what to expect in terms of political, social and environmental climate. For these reasons, I decided to go through CIEE to have a safety net and a representative for support in case things fell through. My money was well spent. The five day orientation in Shanghai provided me with some great information on both the job and the culture. My questions were beginning to be answered. I was placed at Shandong University of Science and Technology in Huangdao, a development zone just outside of Qingdao. The university has 30,000 students and I teach six classes twice a week. The periods are two 50 minute sections with a ten minute break in between. Class sizes range from 30 students to 65. Some classes are equipped with a projector and a computer, some have just a blackboard. I pay for my own copies and am not required to have office hours. I make 3,700RMB a month which is equivalent to about $580USD. That is more than enough to live and travel around China on. I have just returned from a five week trip around China: Beijing, Harbin, Hong Kong, Kunming, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shanghai. I was able to pay for seven flights, several train and bus rides, hotels and hostels and all meals with the money I had saved teaching for the last four months. If you want to earn extra money and keep busy with all of the extra time you will have, seek out extra teaching opportunities on campus. I tutor three groups of middle and elementary students on Saturdays and Sundays. I also teach Business English courses in the evenings and TOEFL test prep courses throughout the week. Pay ranges from 50RMB and hour to 150RMB. You will have so much extra time, spend it wisely. I have been trying to learn Mandarin through several language exchanges with some of my students. They love to come to my apartment and hang out. This soon turns into a solid friendship and if your are dedicated, you will acquire Mandarin quicker than you think. Teaching and traveling in China for a year has been an awesome experience and getaway from the comforts of home. You learn so much about tolerance, culture and the values in your own life. Things to keep in mind, come to China with an open mind and a flexible attitude. There is often very little warning for schedule changes or requests. Try to maintain a relaxed attitude and go with the flow. Also, it is not your job to push your political opinions on your Chinese students. Learn how to express yourself honestly without undermining other governments and related issues. Be prepared for smelling like cigarettes after eating at a restaurant, not drinking cold water or having ice, seeing lots of litter around, looking ALL ways when crossing the road. To wrap it up, China is a fascinating nation with a lot to offer. The people are generous and genuinely interested in you. Make the extra effort to find local friends. If you teach at the University level, this is very easy to do. If you are considering doing this, then follow through and go. I am proud of you. It is difficult to leave all you know and love and try something new for a year or two. You will be rewarded!

Yes, I 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...