Full TEFL Sponsorships for all English First Teachers in 2020

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Choose between our kids and teens, online or adult schools
Choose between our kids and teens, online or adult schools
Use our state-of-the-art technology to deliver engaging lessons
Use our state-of-the-art technology to deliver engaging lessons
Positions available in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Fo
Positions available in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Fo
Teach English anywhere in China with EF English First.
Teach English anywhere in China with EF English First.


EF English First, a division of EF Education First, is the world’s leading privately owned education company. Founded in 1965, EF operates in 53 countries around the world. We have vacancies for teaching positions in 60+ cities across China, so if you enjoy the fast pace of cities like Shanghai, or if you'd rather be immersed in the more traditional culture of a smaller city, we have the position for you.

Full arrival support (and beyond!) includes:
•Preparing your legal work visa
•Airport pickup
•Free hotel
•Free Chinese lessons (it is not necessary to speak Chinese to live and work in China)
•Support network of over 2,000 teachers across 60+ cities in China
•Invitations to regular social and cultural events

There’s so much to experience when you live abroad, and EF English First will help you make the most of this great opportunity.

  • Free Foundation TEFL sponsorship
  • Upfront paid flights to many locations
  • Ongoing professional development training
  • Compensation package up to 16,400rmb
  • Over 200 schools located in over 60 cities across China

Questions & Answers

Hi Charles! China visa regulations state that a male must be between the ages of 18-60, while a female's age range is 18-55. Please note, if you would turn one of these ages during the length of your visa, China will not issue the visa. For example, if a man is 59 and his 60th birthday would occur during his year overseas, China would not issue the visa. I hope this information helps. Sincerely...


based on 41 reviews
  • Benefits 8.1
  • Support 8.2
  • Fun 8.4
  • Facilities 8
  • Safety 8.9
Showing 16 - 30 of 41
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great Place to Word

Unlike some other schools, EF has it's own courses and books. There is a lot of room within the pre-made lesson plans for the teacher to incorporate their own ideas and games. And since EF is a big company there is room for growth and promotion. You can continue to be a teacher or you can move to marketing, or research or other jobs within the company. The pay isn't bad either for non-Chinese employees, within my first two years of living in China I have visted three other countries and countless towns and cities in China. Shanghai is like every big city in the world as there are H&M's, carrefour, Toys r us, and other foriegn stores here. The Visa process was easy and uncomplicated for me. I greatly enjoy working with EF and I have just finished my second year.

What would you improve about this program?
Teaching for kids and teens I do have to work the mandatory summer camps and I also have to work on weekends.
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Yes, I recommend this program

EF the company

EF is a very good initial company to work for as they will provide you with a lot of assistance when it comes to getting Visas and getting settled in a new country.
They are also good at helping you to develop within the company especially if you are proactive in this area.
The two main negatives about EF is that compared to international schools the holiday and pay isn't great, but there is more support and the requirements are less demanding. The second thing is that EF is a business and so will prioritise customer satisfaction.

What would you improve about this program?
I would recommend EF as a great gateway company if you are interested in working in China but the need to perform for the parents rather than just purely concentrating on education can be a bit tiring.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My experince thus far

I have been with EF for almost two years, and plan on renewing my contract for a third year. Ef always pays you, and always pays on time. You get options for insurance, and the options are great. As a teacher for Kids and Teens, you have excellent resources available, from textbooks, flashcards and games, to an interactive whiteboard. Lessons are very easy to teach, with all materials provided. Your visa is 100% legit, not like some other schools in China that give you an illegal visa. What I enjoy the most about my school, is the team of people I work with. They are the reason I am happy to work for EF.

What would you improve about this program?
The pay could be better, and the company could afford to recognize teachers efforts more and show appreciation.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great for development

EF is a great place to work if you want to develop with a well-known company in the ESL field. You can get involved in lots of different things - including completely qualifications like the CertTESOL and the DipTESOL, you can also get involved in writing for some of the courses as well as lead projects in your school. Because it is a big company you are not tied into teaching forever (although you can move up in teaching) but can move into other aspects of the company.
Whether you work for online, kids and teens or adults, EF changes quickly and in the time I have been here nearly all the courses have changed a little bit with more technology being used and extra materials being provided to help teachers.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be great if more open communication was possible between teachers and upper management.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Opening Doors through Education

For those seeking an international teaching experience, EF has locations around the world. Working with kids, teens and adults, the centers allow students to take lessons with local and foreign teachers.

Diversity is EF's middle name as the native English teachers come from a wide-range of backgrounds but their commonality is their love of children and education.

Adding a creative spin to the structured curriculum, teachers add in stories, games and songs to enrich the lessons as well as making learning fun. Seeing students' progress, understand a new idea or have fun learning makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Get ready to start a new chapter of your life and open the book on your EF career.

What would you improve about this program?
I've joined the school's ambassador program and am working with headquarters to making arrival and improve teachers' lives at their centers.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A great workplace.

Working with EF is like any other job, if you put the work in, you will receive just as much back.

I came to China in early 2013, being my first ESL job i was quite daunted by the thought of travelling across the world. EF recruitment made this process much easier by offering great support and answering the many questions that I had.

Once I arrived with my intake group we were put in hotel in the center of the city for 2 weeks whilst we got to grips with the city and introductions. We were given an agent to help us find an apartment who was very helpful and tried her best to get us a discount on the rent.

The first 2 weeks are filled with training's and introductions to the many parts of the company. This often flies and next thing you will be working in your center.

As a new teacher I was given all the support I needed and was assigned a mentor to help me through the first 2 months. The staff at my center were very helpful and guided me throughout.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Advice that you can use

I really recommend working for EF but thought giving advice would be better than talking about individual instances of blame and praise.

The Recruitment Process.
You have Skype interviews where you find out more about EF and they find out more about you:
- Have your documents scanned and ready for submission.
- Check emails regularly and double check interview times for your local time and China.
- Be honest about what type of city and students you want. Adults, Kids or Online students. Big modern or smaller traditional town. Ask yourself why and then communicate it.
- Wait until the confirmation from EF before you book your flight.
- Take the free online Chinese classes while you wait, it gets you into 'China' mode and you will be surprised how much you remember when you get there.

You are given two weeks in a hotel with your fellow newbies and have training with them. Most people find a good friend or two from this group:
- Take the interest free salary advance, having that cash as a buffer is very useful.
- You have two ears and one mouth. Your listening to talking ratio should be the same, there will be a lot of new information so give yourself the time to take it in.
- Download apps called 'WeChat' and 'pleco' they are very useful. Try to have unlock your phone from its carrier before you come.

You will be given an online TEFL certification before you arrive and get a free qualification from the University of Cambridge called the TKT. Every week you have a training sessions ran by your boss:
- Sign up for the free distant learning courses, especially if you are a newer teacher. They help you if you stay but make your more employable if you leave.
- The CertTESOL and DipTESOL are also available but you have to pay for them. If you are staying in ESL then make taking these very high on your list of to dos.
- The free Chinese classes help when you are a beginner but you will want to find a tutor if you want to go beyond that


I lived in the most expensive city in China with the highest cost of living and I am from London where I am used to paying over the odds. The salary gives you enough to live comfortably but not extravagantly.

- Rent is your biggest expense, live with other people instead of your own. It saves money and is more fun. Why fly half way around the world to be a recluse?
- Bring an emergency credit card, your home country banking card and a little savings.
- Sign up the medical cover offered by Met life with your package. It makes things so much easier than trying to skimp and get caught out.

The Company Culture.

EF is a business that sells education to paying customers. This is good and bad. Most people think of education as being altruist and usually in the state sector.

- Customers satisfaction is important to the company so keep that in mind. If you have experience in the service industry you will know the customer is usually right even if he is usually wrong.

- Most of your colleagues will be Chinese and that might present challenges because of cultural misunderstandings. As soon as you say 'back home we....’ you have lost the argument and missed the point of why you are not at home.

- You will progress if you’re proactive and competent but some of the promotion structures are a bit opaque. Management varies but highlighting a problem and offering a solution will stand you in good stead.

- Most people work weekends and unusual hours to match when the students can take classes. I miss having a normal schedule.

The Teaching/Classroom experience

None of the centres are more than 10 years old and most are usually placed close to a train station. They are usually in shopping malls so that was different from my idea of a school.

- The best part of the job are the students, they will view you with curiosity and bombard you with questions. Some might seem strange but remember that 98% of people are Han ethnic Chinese, they haven't met someone like you.

- The majority of lesson planning is done for you because the materials are prepared by the company and focus more on speaking and listening communicative tasks. This is very different from traditional lecture style classes and experienced teachers from none ESL backgrounds might find that challenging.

- The work is easy and
Final thought:

EF is a good company that will suit a lot of people but not everyone. Being the largest company in the industry and having schools in 60 cities mean there is variation so some of the very good and bad reviews might be isolated instances.

Going on a website like this is a good start but also educate yourself on China and ask the recruiter for testimonials or a chance to speak to current teacher.

The person who has the most power to affect your experience is you. Be proactive, open to change and honest with yourself.

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No, I don't recommend this program

HORRBLE Company and Management

EF did a horrble job at helping us accommodate to China. They did not even tell us that we needed 100RMB for the security deposit at that low-quality hotel they made us stay at (which, by the way, they changed it to at the very last minute--great planning, huh?). Furthermore, EF poorly advised us on how to choose an apartment. They made it sound like we HAD to use an agent, and find a place RIGHT AWAY, regardless of how ridiculously expensive the rent was. They don't care! HQ is utterly and totally unreliable. Why do they not respond to e-mails? Why do they take forever to get things done? Third, we had awful healthy insurance. Our policy from socialist Sweden takes forever to reimburse the money--I had to e-mail them several times to get my money, and I had to pay a money transfer fee whenever they paid me back--outrageous! Why couldn't those idiots just pay me back in RMB?

EF teaching materials are for the pits. Slides are replete with vague and incomplete grammar explanations, as well as just inappropriate topics for a Chinese audience (one lesson asks students to say what they would change about government--since they didn't want to go to jail, class didn't go so well).

Management COULDNT CARE LESS about employees and what they think. Even though WE are the ones who do the teaching, and know what is best for the students, our opinions do not matter. EF is only concerned with the profits they can get from the naive Chinese consumer, who would be better off taking lessons at Wall Street or WEB International English. I knew a guy who almost got fired for expressing his religious views. It is not wonder the turnover rate is so high, and EF does not even pay for your airfare.

Response from EF English First

Hello and thank you for your review. Communication disparities and issues can arise like in any job, but when it happens abroad it can be even more frustrating - we understand. We’d like to discuss these challenges and work with the managers in your school to find solutions to improve your experience. We are willing to listen to teachers and need your input to create an environment wherein all employees feel valued. We always strive to promote a positive environment and continuously develop our managers. Please reach out to your Academic Operations Manager (Product Head) and the recruitment team so we can help solve these problems and prevent any from happening in the future.

Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Not the best place to work

I worked for EF a few years ago. They used to take great care of their teachers and made the experience fun, however they for some reason decided that teachers were no longer important. They stopped caring about teachers and saw them as a separate body from the rest of the EF team and were not even included in the Centre Parties. I've heard that things have improved a bit. The thing that really annoyed me was they were placing fake reviews on many employment web sites because so many people were giving them a bad review. When a company starts doing this, they obviously have serious moral issues. If you see a review saying it's the best company ever, i would guess it's a fake. If you want to work in China for just a year, then work with them. They will work you hard but the interaction with students is worth it. The adult students I worked with were mostly fantastic and gave me the chance to learn a lot about the Chinese Culture.

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Yes, I recommend this program

It's who you know...

EF is a superior company to work for because it is well established within China and worldwide. As a company, they are very good at getting you here safely and getting you setup right away. The salary relative to the cost of living (even in Shanghai) is quite comfortable. If you're genuinely interested in teaching as a career, you can certainly develop here and there IS tuition reimbursement. EF boasts a battery of other avenues for self-development; however, this really depends on who you know. Someone said, EF is really Business First, and in my experience this is true. There is somewhat of a competitive atmosphere within the company and you can choose be part of it or just do your job and enjoy China. If you're planning on living in a big city, be sure to make that perfectly clear-if not, you will most likely be shipped off to wherever EF is expanding in China, i.e. 2nd tier cities (this can be a good thing if you're seeking more authentic Chinese cultural immersion).

What would you improve about this program?
The company would benefit from more transparency about the process of promotion as to avoid being regarded as favoritist. Sick leave is essentially docked pay, so take your vitamin C. The flight allowance could be increased; it currently barely covers your trip home, when and if you leave the company.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great place to work!

I've worked for EF English First in China and it was a wonderful experience. The staff were super friendly, very helpful and gave me a lot to be thankful for as I worked my way through the nuances of living in China. I was able to grow as an ESL teacher, learning the best practices for classroom engagement and challenging my students.

The schedule allows you take maximize your time here, on my days off I go exploring in my neighborhood or take a weekend trip to places around China.

Teaching resources are readily available as well - the lesson plans are easy to follow, but allow you to add your own spin if you want. In addition, there are a lot of training opportunities from teaching certifications to courses that expand your knowledge of teaching the more specific & technical aspects of English language learning.

I've made so many friends here and will be staying for a long time to come!

What would you improve about this program?
To be honest, very little about EF English First needs to be changed. A few things take some time to get used to, but overall the experience was great.

Some observations:

-EF's pay might be considered low compared to other schools, but we are provided with health care, tax breaks and Chinese lessons.

-The schedule is different from the 9-5, and includes working on Saturday & Sunday, but teachers get two consecutive days off during non-peak times - meaning the crowds of China are gone when you go exploring during your free time. Your friends will likely have the same time off as you, so don't worry about that.

-Chinese students have been taught English by Chinese teachers. This means know they are set in their ways of grammar and vocabulary, but have difficult using it in speech and listening. It can be difficult to change their views on how English is spoken, but you are their teacher and eventually they will appreciate the value of a having a native English speaker instructing them.
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No, I don't recommend this program

EF is a joke, DO NOT work there

My boyfriend and I are Americans and have been teaching English for 2 years. We have a TEFL, BA, and job experience in business, etc. We never worked for EF just interviewed, but it was ridiculous. The interviewer, was extremely rude and degrading. The questions were borderline insane, and made us both very uncomfortable. It was by far the most uncomfortable interview we had ever experienced. Once we saw how incredibly rude their staff was, we knew the job wasn't for us, but on top of that they hardly offer any benefits!

If you are looking for a job in China, DO NOT teach here. You can find much better pay at practically any company across China. The hours are double what most other jobs offer, and the pay is not good, even if it is your first year teaching. Try other sites like goldstar recruiting, first leap, or rockies recruiting. The staff is so friendly, hours and pay are fair, and you won't get treated like an incompetent idiot during the job interview!

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No, I don't recommend this program

Ok if you are looking for good pay in China

I taught at an EF Adult school in China.

The good things about EF:
1. You get a Z visa
2. The pay is enough for local living

Bad Things:
1. Little support for learning Chinese
2. Long work hours

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Teacher welfare is extremely important

I've been working with EF Franchises for nine years now. Originally I worked up North in Harbin for three years and thereafter in Jiaxing for six years. I never once felt the same passion and sense of direction that I've had since working with EF.

Teacher welfare is extremely important. There's one to one support from a mentor that you've allocated just before you join the school. The schools that I've worked in have held at least one workshop every week. We have formal evaluations every three months to give you feedback in detail on key performance areas.

Through EF I met my wife and have been able to settle down, support a family and live a fulfilling work life. I know personally a number of teachers in this school and others who've been with EF for over two years and in some cases six or seven.

If you're starting out and looking to gain time in the class with quality in support, you'd be crazy to go elsewhere. Then, if you're experienced, you're going to be hard pressed to find another organisation pushing itself to thrive at the forefront of the ESL industry.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Solid job with good induction program

I've been with EF for 7 years. During this time, I have worked for three EF Franchise schools in Dalian, Qinhangdao, and Tianjin.

Working for EF is a job. The hours are the same as they would be back home. When a teacher first arrives, they are given an induction that last around 3-4 weeks. This induction helps the teacher to become familiar with EF products, materials, teaching skills, activities, and classroom management. During the second week the new teacher will co-teach, which helps them to become more confident. Usually in the third week, the teacher is given some of their own classes and by the fourth week they would be on a full schedule.

There are two intensive periods that last for a different amount of time depending on which city you work in. The winter one ranges from 2-6 weeks and the summer one ranges from 4-8 weeks.

Overall, I recommend working for EF. It's a company where you can have a career if you choose and it's also a place where you can stay for a year and have a new experience.