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Peasant

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Q: Moving from ESL to other careers in China

Is it possible? Has anyone successfully done it? What are some good options...if any...

5 days 16 hours ago in  General  - China

 
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You can be an "English House Nanny" and make 12,000 a month. A Russian friend of mine did this. Hope you can cook. My laptop became my business with investing in stocks, I earn 29,000 plus a salary on the side. So you gotta be creative and make things work differently in China. There are many ways.

Robk:

Sent you a message, I am interested in getting into the stock market. 

2 days 11 hours ago
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4 days 21 hours ago
 
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Pretty much whatever Chinese can do, you won't be able to. There are only a handful of possibilities other than esl...you can business do but that varies like opening a shop or restaurant or trading, but thats hard to get into without the knowledge. You could be a model...or an entertainer....or get into hotel management, maybe some computer translating or something. Esl is quite high paying for the amount of work and knowledge you need. It's always your best option unless you can the few other things they let you do.

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5 days 11 hours ago
 
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It totally depends on your personal skills and experience (and maybe qualifications).

 

It's not so much 'moving' from ESL to another career - it's just doing ESL while you figure out what else is going to be viable for you. The first usually doesn't relate to the second...

 

If you're lucky, you can find a niche... can you exploit it?

balzac:

Thanks for the helpful answer. I appreciate it.  I have skills in german and polish and english.  Chinese is just alright. But yeah, I think the trick in China seems to be working out to to play the system and make it work for you.  Maybe that's every country though.

4 days 19 hours ago
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Hotwater:

Language skills are one thing...what other skills do you have?

4 days 13 hours ago
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balzac:

Well, I've taught for a while, but that doesn't do too much to help me here. Also, I am good with computers, but not necessarily a brilliant programmer or anything. Unfortunately my degree is in history, humanities degrees aren't necessarily of very high value at the moment.  Also a decent writer.

3 days 18 hours ago
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5 days 9 hours ago
 
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In Zhengzhou i once met an old Argentine man whose son was a full-time model, travelling around China and making money from being good-looking while also being a Foreignerman. I know others who made nice money from putting on white coats and pretending to be doctors for promotional videos. So if you don't want to teach, look for any job where they can gawk at the not-Chinese-person.

RandallFlagg:

And don't forget to leave your dignity at home, you won't be needing that ;-)

5 days 10 min ago
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Shining_brow:

By 'home', you mean 'home country'... I presume.......

4 days 17 hours ago
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5 days 32 min ago
 
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I did it, modeling that is. Just a few times down there in Guangdong, it was fun, easy, and made a bit of cash. Go for it, never know what might come up. Course the more you look like their idea of a model the better chance you have of getting work. I guess I was passable, but not their ideal, because I didn't get that many assignments. Fun while it lasted though!

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5 days 10 min ago
 
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You can be an "English House Nanny" and make 12,000 a month. A Russian friend of mine did this. Hope you can cook. My laptop became my business with investing in stocks, I earn 29,000 plus a salary on the side. So you gotta be creative and make things work differently in China. There are many ways.

Robk:

Sent you a message, I am interested in getting into the stock market. 

2 days 11 hours ago
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4 days 21 hours ago
 
Posts: 2794

Governor

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You can but only if you are a very good candidate for what the job is already. It's not necessarily going to be any easier at this point than doing it at home.

 

For example I have a bachelors in finance from a good university back home. I graduated in 2010 and there were no jobs. I taught ESL for a few months and absolutely despised every second of it but used the time to network into an american MNC in an FP&A role which had been slotted for an intenship (for a western boss too thank god) and proved myself valuable enough to grow from there.

 

But again, I was already a good candidate for it before I got to china. It's just that almost everybody was in a hiring freeze at the time in the west. Now if you are qualified I don't see why you wouldn't just go for it in the west. Hiring is good back home that's why i'm on my exit strategy.

 

I'm actually just finishing my MBA up now and then probably giving my 2 weeks notice in the next couple months.

 

What do you want to do? What are you qualified for? I guess you could work at a hotel if you speak decent Chinese. If you don't care about a legal visa and you have good people skills you could work at a western restaurant. 

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4 days 18 hours ago
 
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Governor

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Pretty much agree with everything expat says... I have a friend who made the transition but it was not easy at all. He did an internship with a tiny stipend for a year, then found a 7,000 rmb a month gig in a tier 1 and after awhile worked his way up to making more than a teacher but it was rough. If he put in that effort back in the US he would've moved up in the world much quicker I'd say. Unless you are obsessed with China I don't see the point. No one will hire you unless you have real skills and preferably language ability too. 

Shining_brow:

However, compared to the salary of an English teacher, doing that can be a real drain! Most jobs require 35+hours per week, for about the same money (unless you really hit the jackpot)... for a mere 20 hours per week, you can get the same money...

 

So... which would be smarter??? (unless, of course, there's reputation and experience you can use later in life!)

1 day 20 hours ago
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dongbeiren:

Agreed Shining... he basically lived much worse than a teacher for 2+ years and now makes a bit more and has more responsibilities. All depends what you're looking for... I met this dude my first year doing esl in a tier 3. He talked about doing esl with the purpose of networking into something else. I told him he was in the wrong city. His goal was to get into something business related and that got him there. But yea I mean if you did the same number of hours tutoring per week plus that 20 hour a week job you could likely make more teaching in a tier 1.

1 day 9 hours ago
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3 days 56 min ago
 
Posts: 2794

Governor

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Hey Balzac, if you dont feel like your degree is valuable why don't you pursue a masters from a big state school back home.

 

I dunno if you're from the US, but if you are theres a good chance you can score a online masters degree in something valuable like computer science or accounting from a totally respectable school for less than 20K. Like for example from the University of Maryland.

 

Spread that out over 2 years and you can even swing that without loans on a teaching salary. You'll have to write off having a social life for the next 2 years but if you feel like teaching isn't doing it for you and want to make something of yourself it'll be worth it.

 

Or...maybe ultimately you don't care that much. But the option for a debt-free masters in something bankable is on the table for every western expat it's just up to them whether they wanna do it.

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2 days 22 hours ago
 
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a friend of mine moved from ESL to working in the financial sector back home

her management and organisational skills honed in China (and prior work experience and qualifcations) were seen as an asset.

Mainly because she doesn't take any **** from anyone and is not afraid to confront quite senior managers .

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2 days 14 hours ago
 
Posts: 2400

Shifu

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I started out in ESL and really didn't have any qualifications other than being a super fast learner and a military background that hammered in persistence and determination. I took a few semesters of college but it just felt very boring. I don't learn well with books, I thrive off interactive learning... just getting into it and doing it. 

 

Anyway, I started in English teaching at about 4.4k RMB a month, about a decade ago. Got sick of it after a few years and then I started to teach myself design, coding and a bunch of other things. Found clients (tried to stay away from Chinese clients), built up a reputation and it just kept snowballing. 

 

Now my average monthly earnings is more than 20x that. And, I can work from anywhere. I pick who, when and what projects I work on.  

 

So yeah, you can certainly transition into something else from teaching English. But my advice is to get into something you can take with you to your home country or is in demand throughout the world. Some very safe industries for this would be:

 

- finance

- technology

- some field of science 

- engineering

 

Or just do your own thing. 

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2 days 11 hours ago
 
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