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China – Fred Soulie – May 2010

My tesol has taken me to China, I work for English First, in Xi’an which is in Shaanxi province. I am really enjoying it and getting some very useful experience. Before coming here I had the intention of teaching adults, but now I teach kids from age 3 up to 13 and some adults.

The city
Xi’an is a very nice place to live, If anyone is looking for a city that has a combination of modern and historical then this is the place. There are very few westerners here so one gets a real cultural experience of China and the opportunity to learn Mandarin.


The cost of living here in Xi’an is very low in comparison to other Chinese cities and the monthly salary allows you to live very comfortably and one does not really worry about money. The school also provides a shared appartment to all teachers, we just have to cover the bills, which is about 25 euros per month between two people. The beer is also cheap, in a bar one can get a 600 ml bottle for around 1 euro. A chinese meal for one can cost as little as 60 cent, but if you like your Pizza Hut then it can be about 8 or 9 euros.

The school
EF Xi’an has four schools, I work in school 1. All of our main lessons are 3 ACH (1 ACH-40 mins). Most teachers will have a mixture of one to ones, young kids and teenagers. My average timetable is usually 23-26 ACH per week, but in winter or summer it can go up to 30+. Our school has a western DOS and ADOS and chinese teaching assistants for low levels. In our school there are no pre planned lessons, We work from set text books dependant on the level and plan around these. Our school also offers FREE chinese lessons each week, which is very helpful as not many people in Xi’an speak English.

Travel opportunities
Due to Xi’an’s location, travelling around is easy, Beijing and Shanghai are 2 hours away by plane and a return flight costs between 60-120 euros.

I would recommend Xi’an to anyone looking for a real Chinese experience, The sun does shine here but only in the summer where temperatures get up to 40 degrees. Be prepared to have an open mind, it is not like the west here, but teaching Chinese kids and seeing them progress is one of the most satisfying things that I have ever done.

China – Fred Soulie – May 2010



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