As the volunteering branch of Middle Kingdom Group, MKV’s key purpose is to place volunteers where they are most needed in social and environmentally responsible projects. MKV works closely with local partners on the ground to identify projects needing volunteer assistance.
– Children of Promise / Sapling Foundation, based in Xiamen and specializing in sensory integration to aid children with learning disabilities. They are a very active group, with events year-round and a constant need for a variety of volunteers.
–Xiamen Green Cross Association: XMGCA is a non-governmental, non-profit, and non-religious grassroots environmental protection organization. Their mission is to initiate environmental protection activities, promote education for sustainable development, and establish interaction platform for public participation
– Xiang’an Special Needs Children’s School, Fujian Province. Often welcoming foreign volunteer teachers to participate in creative and musical activities, Xiang’an opened in 2012 and do honourable work for their students through innovative experiential learning.
– KNGO: Khmer New Generation Organization, Cambodia. We have a long-standing partnership with KNGO, a worthy organization based in Bospo village, Battambang. Every year a select group of MKT teachers head to Bospo to volunteer at the village school. Students of fields such as Medicine and Dentistry are also welcomed to apply.
Volunteering projects can be standalone or combined with part-time teaching positions; contact us for more information.
The first thing is to send a CV & Cover Letter to us for consideration, after which you may be invited to a Skype or telephone interview. Then, when your place is confirmed, we advise new teachers to send their supporting documents so the placement school can start processing the employment. The bureaucratic process on the Chinese side will then take a few weeks, after which the school can send an invitation letter in the mail. It is with this letter that you can apply for a working visa in your home country. The length of the whole process varies depending on when exactly you submit your application.
You can make an application at any time. Chinese semesters start in September and in February, but in some circumstances some positions may become available at other points in the year, or midway through each semester. The normal deadline for September positions is 30th June.
Salaries vary depending on location. In Hunan Province, the salary is ~ 4000yuan per month (tax-free). This translates to around £400, but that tells only half the story. Teachers in Hunan province often spend the equivalent of £1 a day for all meals. It is no surprise therefore that many come to July having accumulated a healthy amount of savings despite having lived a very comfy life while in China.
Additionally, the exchange rate improves year after year, which translates well for foreigners working in China: just a few years ago it was 14RMB to £1, now it’s jumped to around 10yuan (check out xe.com for changes in rates). This may be set for an even bigger jump if China revalues its currency.
Return flights to China will be reimbursed by your school in one of two ways: either in two instalments, (halfway through the contract and at the end) or added on top of your salary each month, up to 6000yuan in total.
Unlike our competitors and all gap-year companies, we do not ask for a specific fee from our applicants. The income we receive is usually from our partnerships with the Provincial Education Authorities, who routinely provide fees to recruiters. This policy is inkeeping with our ethos that the journey out to a job in China should be as economical and hassle-free as possible.
Applying through Middle Kingdom Group is just the beginning of your journey out East-wards, but we will be with there every step of the way to answer any queries you may have both before departure and during your time in China. What’s more, our extensive network of contacts developed in China itself means there is a team of partners in each of the provinces in which we are active, who will meet you and are available to contact any time.
If you’re straight out of university, then of course the chances are you’ve not taught English before. It’s a good idea to do some research and preparation before leaving, and there are numerous excellent websites for this (check our Links section). There will be a chance to gain some training, insights and practice classes at our annual Orientation Week, which takes place each summer in each of the provinces in which we’re active. Here you would be able to meet fellow new teachers, get tips from experienced educators, learn some survival Chinese, and generally get a smooth intro to China.
Every partner school offers a working visa, which is usually sorted at least a month before departure. The partner school needs to send a Foreign Expert’s invitation letter by mail after the employment is processed, with which you can apply for the visa. It costs around 1000RMB, depending on factors such as the type of visa and your preferred speed of delivery. There are several agencies which assist in the process, such as CITS (the Chinese Government Travel Agency) who will help process the visa and save you the queuing, although it’s also possible to do it directly at a Chinese Embassy to get it sorted in person.
A pre-employment medical check is standard for anyone starting a job in China, even for the Chinese. We will send you the relevant form, and you should get the basic parts signed off by a doctor or nurse in the UK. You’ll be able to deal with the slightly larger items, such as the X-Ray (can be expensive in the UK), during your first week or so in China.
As is the advice for most travelers, you’re advised to buy some travel insurance cover before you leave for China. Many insurance companies now have packages tailored for those working abroad. In the event of something happening, you would no doubt find it much easier to deal with someone at a British insurer rather than speaking to a Chinese company. If you are really unable to purchase cover (for example, if you’re already out of the country), your school will be able to provide basic medical insurance.
The semesters are the same as in the West, and the new term begins at the start of September. However, it would be an ideal start to your year in China to spend a week or so adjusting to the country and perhaps taking in a bit of the country, before going onwards to your teaching location or our Orientation Week.
While the term ‘culture shock’ has become something of a cliché, it’s true that almost everyone experiences some degree of it in their first few weeks in a new country. It’s part of being human. Mixed in with the initial trepidation will be a bombardment of the senses in some of the most interesting foods, smells, people and sights you have probably ever seen. While the vast majority of people grow to love it, if you decide it’s not for you then we will always be at hand to address any issues to the best of our ability by telephone, email, skype, or in person with our colleagues on the ground in China.
Stories abound in the English Teaching online community about foreign teachers ‘doing a runner’ from their job. While many of these are urban myths, it does occur. If you are having problems with your job, the first thing to do is speak to your school, to our Chinese partners, and speak to us. We will always be at hand to talk things through with you. If after everything you feel you need to leave, you would not be eligible to receive your flight reimbursement. Additionally, the school will ask for some compensation money (usually around 5000RMB). For this and countless other reasons, it goes without saying that you should give a great deal of prior thought to your decision to apply to teach in China.
There is still censorship over some aspects of internet use in China, and accordingly China has its own version of many Western websites. However, most foreigners use various online tools to continue browsing just as they would at home.