Tuesday, 23 February 2016 04:43

How to Ace an Open Door ESL Class: The 5 P's!

An 'Open Door' lesson is an opportunity for your children’s parents to view a regular class which showcases what the children have learned highlighting the standard class structure.  'Open Door' classes are usually rated by the parents and can have a dramatic effect for your pay and review if done incorrectly or could potentially showcase incorrect material, causing the parents to question if their children are learning enough in your class. 'Open Door' Classes in China are usually held mid-term or more usually at the last class of the course. This is the big chance for Chinese parents to see their kids in action and what they have learnt in your English classes. A strong and fluid Open Door class can really push up re-sign rates in your classes, making you look super cool and possibly get you re-sign bonuses if you have that in your teaching contract.
What are the Five P’s to ensure a perfect Open Door lesson?
1. Preparation – Lessons need to be setup to make use of all the time in your class appropriately. For example, including book work in your Open Door lesson is frowned upon because it doesn’t showcase what the children have learned and isn’t very interactive for the parents to see their children learning or using the English Language. Your Open Door class will be silent and weird, so avoid using the book too much or even at all. Give your students the opportunity to speak with you, each other and their parents in English.
2. Practice – To ensure the children show how much their English has improved in your English course, co-teachers and you should prepare students of the Open Door lesson during the classes leading up to the final Open Door class. This will allow your class to be given more time to practice the material, know what they are doing and give that really polished good impression to parents. It is imperative to avoid highlighting weaker students at the start of the Open Door class.  If you have taken over the class at the end of the term and don’t really know who your weaker or stronger ESL students are, then ask your Chinese co-teacher or the colleague you’ve just taken the class off of. They will know. If all your weaker students go first, parents may think that most of the students aren’t learning the material and maybe you aren’t a good teacher yourself. Start off with one or two stronger students and get off to a belting start! The parents will be impressed and you will look good.

Lastly, practice makes perfect.  As understanding of the material increases, it will be displayed more naturally. Practice any language activity or game you want to use in the weeks leading up to the Open Door class. Very importantly, go through your Open Door lesson plan with your co-teacher if you have one in the class. Be on the same page together and both know what to do at all times.
3. Patience – Although you have setup material and have identified the stronger/weaker students, patience is needed during the Open Door lesson because all students must participate equally. Parent(s) with the weaker students may be aware their child struggles, but will be delighted when their child tries and that you have spoken to their child just as much as the stronger ones. Be prepared to help weaker students and finish off sentences with them if they are struggling with everyone watching. Care for your Chinese students always. Sometimes, as a teacher, it is challenging to have the child say the wrong thing but feedback provided has indicated that parents appreciated their child was provided ample time to succeed and participate.  
4. Parent Involvement – A sure-fire way to make parents happy during class is to have them participate in the class. For example, during a lesson naming body parts, have the parents stand next to their child and say, “Leg to Leg” (gesturing the child to put their leg next to the parents’ leg).Personally, I enjoy this part of the class because it shifts the focus to the parents and could get the parents laughing if the activity is fun.  In addition, having parents speaking English is the best part because it allows them to learn and get involved in their children’s education.  This is especially true if they have been busy at work and haven’t had the opportunity to do so. However, I believe the key is to provide them the opportunity to participate but do not require that they do so. If they refuse, don’t insist because they may feel that their English ability inadequate and are hesitant to be embarrassed. Every teacher needs to be aware of varying abilities before picking random parents in the class. Importantly, make yourself available to speak to parents after the class. They will have questions for you as you would have for your own children’s teachers back in the west. Respect and understand this and make yourself available. If that means missing your coffee in the office before your next class, then so be it. Help your school always and be there for kids and parents.
5. Put on a smile – Regardless if the class has the best and brightest students or the occasional lazy and unmotivated, smiling is the best picture in class. If you are smiling it shows everyone that you are excited and enjoying your job.  Your body language speaks more than verbal communication, especially when being focused upon by parents who may not have significant English knowledge, but can tell whether you are having a good time. SMILE no matter what and always make light of a bad answer.At all costs, have a good time while ensuring your students are as well.
I hope these steps make your ESL Open Door a success!  Learning the 5 P’s helped ease my mind and tension. Good luck with your future lessons and teaching and feel free to contact me anytime.
by Dominick “Venice” Inzerillo

Venice was in marketing for ten years before he became an English teacher. He taught in the US for two years, before moving to China to teach English in 2014. He invites you to add him on WeChat and you can do that by scanning the QR code above.
I received a job aplication from a teacher looking to teach in China a few months ago. Like all new TEFL graduates, she was keen, eager to start speaking to schools and recruiters and find her first teaching job.

I'm sure you remember what it was like? You've worked hard (harder than you probably thought you'd have to, right?) on your TEFL course, completed all of your assignments and learned more grammar structures than you knew existed. Now you've got your teaching certificate in hand and are now looking at the many teaching job adverts online.

So this girl gets in touch about finding a teaching job in China...(that's a great start straight away!), and so we ask her three very simple questions:

1. What ages do you most want to teach? 
2. Do you have an location preferences?
3. When are you looking to start?

By asking these three questions down, we can whittle down from a very large number of teaching vacancies to a very small number of relevant choices for her to consider. So, question 1, teaching kids. Great! Question 2....somewhere in the south of China with cleaner air. No problem. Question 3...a year from now. Fantas...wait, did you just say 12 months from now??

When is the best time to apply for teaching jobs in China?

There are two main types of teaching jobs in China. These are with English training schools, which teach students English in the evenings or weekends, and Monday to Friday jobs such as at primary schools, high schools, universities or internation departments.

Now here is the thing; no school in China will be interested in speaking to you one year in advance. Most won't be interested in speaking to you even six months in advance; it's just far too far ahead of time to be applying.

Why is applying for a teaching job in China six months ahead of time too long?

Schools won't really want to speak to you six months ahead of time ever. The girl who applied to us was super efficient and highly organised. Her idea was to beat the crowd, get interviewed for a job early and to get something concrete lined up. There is nothing wrong with that and it is very commendable. However the fact is that this works for her, but it doesn't work for schools in China. 

The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly the number of teachers who get cold-feet about coming to teach in China is way more than you would imagine. It's a big, bold step moving to another country and things in life come up which make us have to change our plans. In 50% of cases where a school interviewed a teacher six months ahead of time, then they'd either pull out or emails between both parties would dry up. In short, a waste of everyone's time. Schools just an't afford to do this.

The schools have no idea of their recruitment needs so far in advance

The second, and most important, reason why schools in China don't want to look too early for teachers is because they don't yet know their recruitment needs so far ahead of time. English teachers in China sign rolling one-year contracts. Let's say a school has a team of 5 foreign teachers. Maybe two of these teachers signed a contract with the school during spring, one in the summer and the other two in the autumn. The school is a stable school and usually just needs five teachers. How can the school know if they need a replacement 6-12 months ahead of time? Ideally, the teachers they have will want to stay on (this is always the preferred choice for schools - the parents like and trust the teachers, they don't have to train new staff and go through the titanic hassle of applying for visas for new teachers). They will only need to find a replacement once a teacher confirms that they won't be staying and will be looking for a new job or returning home. 

Additionally, student numbers at the school may rise or fall throughout the year, making needing more or less teachers way later in the year a lottery...an expensive lottery. Schools just cannot speak to teachers for jobs a year down the line.

The same thing applies with public schools in China. Contracts are usally for eleven months to cover two academic semesters. Public schools will also not be able to think about hiring new staff until they know that some of their current staff will be 100% crtain of leaving. Then, very begrudgingly, they'll start the arduous process of finding ew teachers. Again, this is the very last thing they'll want to do.

Applying for teaching jobs six months (or even more time than that) is pretty much a waste of your own time as the response you will get back will be negligible. The very optimum time to apply for teaching jobs in China is 12 weeks.

Why is 12 weeks ahead the very best time to be looking for jobs in China?

Appying for teaching jobs in China 12 weeks prior to wanting to start is the very best time to do so because around that time schools will be asking their teachers if they will be staying on or not as they need to plan. The best organised schools will start looking for their new teachers three months ahead of time (never earlier, they simply can't), and so by looking then you'll be lining yourself up with the most-organised schools - never a bad thing at all. 

Additionally, the work visa process can take anything from 5-8 weeks, which gives you 4-6 weeks of being able to speak with schools and interview for teaching jobs in good time, unhurried and well-organised. All of the schools you see have vacanices will all be live vacancies, keen to interview you.

12 weeks is also the best time to speak to public schools in China

Let's say you want a university job in China with semesters starting in September and March each year. 12 weeks ahead of time is asl othe best time to appy for these jobs too. Again, the public schools need to know if their current teachers will be staying or not before looking for replacements. Before each semester begins, there is usually a two month break where the staff are home on holidays and so can't interview and doing all the admin work needed to hire you. 

By applying 12 weeks in advance for public school jobs in China, you are again putting yourself in the shop window at exactly the right time. You'll get more resume views and attract more interest from the university, high school, etc. 

Why is applying through RAY English Recruitment a smart choice?

We are a British-run company based in China. We have a good mix of high ethical standards and professional teacher support mixed with good China know-how. We know the HR departments of the schools and will make sure that your application lands on the right desk and will take priority.

Importantly, we'll make sure that you feel well-looked after at all times and any questions you have will be answered quickly and fully. You are in very good hands with us and you'll be cared for from the moment you apply to when you actually land in China to teach and beyond. 

Head over to our jobs page to see what we have for you.

Published in Articles about China
Made in Britain stars Tim Roth in one of his first roles as Trevor, a teen delinquent who hates authority and refuses to conforn to what society wants or expects. Trevor is actually very intelligent, but has become disillusioned by modern 1980's Britain and the education system. He has been convicted of stealing, taking drugs, shopplifting, vandalism and violent behaviour. He has become criminal and a racist, and prison beckons if he does not change his ways. This lesson is only suitable for adults.

For this lesson, you'll need the Made in Britain DVD. In ordering this, you'll also be helping us.

This film is for adult students ONLY! Under no circumstances should this film be shown to minors. The film shows scenes of violence and extreme racist views. The lesson plan should only be used with mature, open-minded students, who feel comfortable watching and discussing such content in an open class environment.  The use of this lesson plan is wholly at the discretion of the teacher. It is essential that the teacher watches the suggested film clips in their entirety before choosing whether or whether not to use this plan. 

ESL Adults discussion questions on teenage crime and delinquency

Show the film clips first before having the discussion. Make sure to lead-in to the activity in your own way first.

Are parents to blame for juvenile delinquency?
Should children who hate going to school be given something else to do?
Is corporal punishment a good idea for naughty children?
Should naughty children be rewarded for good behaviour with money instead of punished for bad behaviour?
Should parents of juvenile delinquents be sent to prison when their children misbehave?
How would you deal with Trevor? What is his 
What kind of problems do the young have in your country?
How does your country deal with juvenile delinquency? Do you think it is a good system?
If you were in your country’s government, what would you do differently?
Will juvenile delinquency ever go away? Why/why not?
What is the cure to juvenile delinquency?
Clip One (Start to 4:30mins)
The film starts with Trevor in court being convicted for a racist attack on an Asian man’s home. He is sent to a detention centre for children.
Clip Two (6:37mins to13:25mins)
Trevor arrives at the detention centre and is told about a contract he must sign to promise to behave. He pesters a staff member there to give him some money and goes out to the job centre. On the way, he steals a car and buys glue to sniff and get high. He abuses the job centre staff and throws a paving slab through the window.
Clip Three (18:02mins to 38:34mins)
The detention centre find out about the stolen car and refuse him lunch. He attacks the cook at the canteen for not serving him lunch. The centre workers lock him in a room to calm down and then a senior staff member come to look at his future. This scene is key for your class discussion! It is the foundation for your discussion. Stop the film and turn off the TV at “Yeah, he’s a waste of time”.

Lesson written by Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
Welcome to the download page of our award-winning Guide to Teaching in China! To download our free Guide to Teaching in China PDF, please scroll down to the bottom and click the download link.

The Guide to Teaching in China has everything you need to know when first coming to teach English in China. How you might get culture shock, the type of Chinese food available, getting around and exploring your new city in China, how much things cost in China, learning the language, what kind of English schools you can find in China, getting a Chinese working visa, and loads more!

The www.rayenglish.com Guide to Teaching in China is your indispensible guide to living and teaching in China and is free to download as a PDF.

Just find the download link at the bottom of this page to download the Guide to Teaching in China.
Published in Articles about China
Sunday, 24 January 2016 12:51

China: Why Teach Young Learners?

Have you seen the amount of TEFL job adverts that want people to teach young learners? More and more private English schools in China are taking on younger and younger students. Partly it’s to offer their customers a service that they want, and partly it’s to make more money. After all, if a young student likes the school, and is doing well, then they’ll potentially stay for years to come!
Some schools are even specializing only in young learners, as that’s where they believe they’ll be able to make the most money in the coming years.

Why Teach Young Learners in China?

The biggest reason to consider teaching Young Learners in China is really two-fold. 

The first, and biggest reason, why you should consider teaching kids in China is because there are just so many jobs available in China for teaching Young Learners. You'll find Young Learner, or Kids' Schools, in ever town and city all over China, and all of these young learner schools in China are looking for foreign TEFL teachers.

The second reason is that children are just a joy to teach and you can have such a big impact in their lives and educational and social development; real teaching.
But I Never Trained for This!
That’s probably true. Most CELTA courses don’t prepare their trainees too much for very young (or even young!) learners. A big reason for this is because they can't get Young Learners on the training courses for teacher trainees to do their six hours of observed practice with. The good news is that it’s not too hard to make the crossover.

Relevant Teaching Techniques
A lot of the techniques you learned are still applicable. Classroom management, for example, is still essential, but you’ll have to develop (or borrow from colleagues) extra routines for keeping the learners interested and paying attention.
A good example of this is turning discipline into a game. If the learners are beginning to get distracted, you can start counting in a dramatic voice “1…..2…” and by the time you reach “3!” the learners should all be sitting in the chairs with their arms crossed.
But I’m Not Sure I’ll Enjoy Teaching Them!
That’s a fair point. The first time I taught a class of 4 year-olds, I felt out of my depth and the class was terrible. Then I took a step back, and realized that, hey, they’re just kids – I can’t place the same expectations on them as I would my older students.
So in terms of pace of learning, and behaviour, it helps to have a smile on your face and have the expectation that you all enjoy yourselves in the classroom. In English, of course.
I find that most teachers go through this same process – nervousness, a couple of rough classes while they adjust, and then they end up loving the students.
Of course, there are those teachers that simply love teaching very young learners, and if you’re one of those, I know I’m preaching to the choir.
Benefits of Teaching Very Young Learners
I find that the following is a typical list of reasons why teaching very young learners is great:
1. Students can handle a much higher level of repetition than older learners (easier lesson planning!)
2. Course syllabi typically come with better suggested lesson plans (again, easier lesson planning!)
3. You get out of teaching what you put in – so while classes are high energy, you get a real buzz by the end
4. You can see progress much faster than higher level classes, which means you get a greater level of teaching satisfaction.
5. On a similar note, if you’re teaching them phonics to learn to read – what better gift is there to a student, than reading?
6. And finally, let’s face it – kids are cute!
Very Young Learners are a joy to teach, although teaching a class can be quite intimidating when you first start.
Once you start to get the routines down pat though, you’ll begin to love the class, and feel great about the difference you’re making in their lives.
So good luck, and enjoy your time in the classroom!
by Stuart Allen

 Stuart Allen has been teaching for over 15 years and is an  expert  in the China TEFL industry.

 He is the founder and owner of RAY  English Recruitment.
Published in Articles about China

 What to Look For in a Good Contract and Schools in China

We have all heard of, read, or even experienced the horror stories in China that result from a bad contract and school. Unfortunately, these contracts and schools are as common as rice in China. Judging from the numerous blogs, articles, rants and death threats we can read on the internet, one might assume that good doesn’t exist here. Don’t let that deter you! I can confidently say there is still good in the Chinese education system. You just have to do more leg work to find it.

On the surface, many contracts claim to offer all of the same perks, but you must dig deeper to find what lays beneath. The standard contract for a foreign teacher in China should offer the basics. So what are the basics? Here’s a quick run down for all you potential new comers:

Housing or a housing allowance. Your school should either provide you with a roof over your head or the money (separate from your salary) to rent a decent apartment. Don’t expect to be elegantly placed in a suite on the 20th floor of the Hilton, but don’t expect to be holed up in a mud hut either. Depending on your city’s tier, your rent allowance should adjust as well. An apartment isn’t the same price across China, just as it isn’t where ever it is you come from.

Utilities and amenities. Your utilities such as gas, water, and electricity should be paid for by your school. In addition to these utilities, your school should also provide you with internet and cable TV (even though there is a good chance your channels will be utterly horse sh** and your connection will make 56K look like lighting).

Furniture and appliances. The basics should be provided by the school. A bed, desk, sofa, chair, table, etc. As for your kitchen, and bathroom, you should have a refrigerator (or what the Chinese call a refrigerator.... It’s small...), microwave, toaster oven, water heater, and washing machine. Don’t expect top quality appliances though. You are, however, only a humble foreign teacher after all, not an ambassador. They should provide a TV, computer, and house phone as well. Remember, you can always negotiate for more!

Utensils and accessories. Kitchen supplies such as pots, pans, plates, and chop sticks should be provided. Hangers and other little miscellaneous house hold accessories should be provided as well. But, please forgive them if they over look something small!

Transportation. If you don’t live withing walking distance of your school, you should be reimbursed for your transportation costs. Don’t expect to be driven around in a Hummer... Also, remember, what the Chinese consider walking distance probably is a bit different than what you are used too.

Salary. Obviously this is different from school to school, but make sure you do get paid for your work! There is a word that defines forced labor without pay... What was it... Ah yes... Slavery.... I’m guessing you don’t want to be a slave, so make sure you get paid.

Indirect payment. A wide range of possibilities lays under this umbrella. Air fair, a travel subsidy, and contract completion bonus should be paid after the completion of the contract. Once again, the actual amounts of these change from school to school. The school should also provide you with hospitalization and accident insurance.

Holidays, rest, and overtime. You should, I stress should, be given New Years’ Day, Spring Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, May Day, National Day, and other holidays stipulated by Chinese laws and regulations, paid. Remember though, China is on the Lunar Calendar, so these dates change year to year. Depending on your school, summer holiday can be paid or unpaid. Also note, Christmas is not a Chinese holiday and schools are usually open. You can always negotiate to have this day off though! As for rest, this largely depends on the type of school you sign with; private or public. Private schools usually give 1-2 days off during the weekdays. Expect the weekends off at public schools. Your contract should also stipulate how many teaching hours you have in a week, and anything over those hours should be paid extra. Note, if a class is 45 minutes long, this should, be consider one teaching hour. Ask! If it isn’t, try negotiating!

Sick leave and private affair leave. This is largely a foreign concept to schools in China. If you are sick, you are expected to make those days up. However, you can always negotiate and ask for sick days. Private affair leave is also largely unheard of except for emergencies. You are expected to do all your traveling during your holiday time, which is a considerable amount by Western standards.

Different Schools in China

Now for the school. Schools come in many colors, shapes, and sizes... This is China, so literally, the design of the school might be very strange to your eyes! I’ve personally seen a school shaped like a giant apple... I like to think their are only a few types of schools to choose from.

Private language centers. These are centers that students go to during their free time to study English. Usually, the working hours are in the evening and weekends Private schools tend to pay more, but you always have a heavier work load.

Public schools and universities. These are the government schools; the closet you get to a 9-5 job as a teacher. The work load is usually much less, but so is the pay. You are free on the weekends, which is an added bonus. Also, the length of your holidays are exponentially longer. So if you want to travel, aim for these schools.

Large companies and corporations. These companies and corporations usually have a branch overseas or do business in other countries. They hire foreign teachers to help their employees increase their level of business English.

International schools. These schools are usually backed by Western institutions and are catered towards the children of Expats, or the Chinese that want their children to study abroad. These schools loosely resemble our schools in the West. Most of these institutions are legit, and require a Western teaching certificate.

Other things to look for in teaching jobs in China

Management Style. No matter which type of school you feel best suits you, there are a few things to look for. Nobody likes to be micro-managed, so if your school gives you the impression they will hover over you like a ghost, you probably won’t enjoy your time there. At the other end of the spectrum, if you are given complete autonomy over your lessons, it can be a little daunting. It is always nice to be told what material to teach, and you make the lesson plan. Find a school that has a good balance of the two. Your school should provide you with the material you need. Textbooks, paper, pens, toys (depending on age), etc. You shouldn’t be expected to go out and buy these.

Chinese co-teachers. You either love them or you hate them. When dealing with younger students, having a Chinese teacher in the class is a gift from God. They can help with classroom management, translating difficult material, the works. However, sometimes they can over step their boundaries and be a little irritating and make you want to throw a desk at their face! Especially when they feel like they should correct YOUR pronunciation of a word in YOUR native language... (the word I’m thinking about is usually).

Vague answers. When you are in the interview process, and the schools is being very vague in their answers, this should send up red flags. The Chinese tend not to like giving straight answers. If they don’t answer your question straight forward, move on. Ask to see pictures of the school, classroom, your apartment, everything! If they are unwilling to provide you with these, move on. Ask to speak with the old, or current foreign teachers, if they say no, move on.

Established schools. Try to find established schools also. I’m not knocking new schools, but if you are the first foreigner they are hiring, I can promise you your visa application and residence permit will be a headache. It takes a school time, through trial and error, to get you a legal work visa. That being said, NEVER work with any visa other than a valid work visa. If the school tells you to come to China on a tourist visa or business visa, move on. No matter what BS leaves their lips, it is 100% illegal to work on anything but a Z visa.

Location, location, location. Depending on your personal preference, the city where your school is located will affect your attitude and work life. If you are the type of person that requires western amenities and a crazy night life, stick to the bigger tiered cities. If you want the real China experience, head for the smaller tiered cities, or if your brave enough, the sticks, boonies, villages, over the mountain and through the woods....you get the picture.

Research before coming. Obviously, research your school on the internet. Read the reviews past foreigners wrote about the school. However, keep in mind that many foreigners tend to become jaded and leave horrible reviews over petty things. It’s up to you to separate the BS from the real horror. Everybody is different and wants a different China experience, so this advice can only give you an idea of what to look for. Perhaps you want something different. This blog isn’t meant to help you choose a perfect school, It is only a reference. And remember, EVERYTHING in the contract is negotiable, so ask! The worse that can happen is they say “no.” Happy teaching!

 by Paul Berger


Paul Berger is an American from California, currently teaching at Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University (黑龙江八一农垦大学)in Daqing, China.  He's been in China for many years now and loving every moment of it! He feels that China can definitely make or break you, and so hopes he can help you start off on the right foot! Anything from teaching ideas to buying a home, he's done it, so don’t hesitate to ask! If you would like to contact Paul, then drop us a message here at RAY English.




We’ve all heard all the reasons why we shouldn’t buy a home in China. The market is bullish... The market is bearish... Prices too high.. Quality too poor... Well, there may be some truth to all of it. However, there are also plenty of reasons why it was one of the best decisions of my China life... Scratch that, my entire life!

Of course, there were plenty of hiccups and headaches during the “ordeal.” Everything fromshady material companies to useless workers will plague the process, but the final outcome will make the entire journey worthwhile.

The Good

The main selling point to buying a home in China is creating your own bubble in this chaos. A place you can go that is yours. A place that you have literally decorated from the bottom up, to your tastes. Where your school has no say in anything. We’ve all had those infamous Bad China Days that make you want to murder someone. Escaping to your own personal sanctuary might just save your sanity.... and freedom in case you are one to go overboard and act out on your anger! I can’t remember how many times I was frustrated beyond belief, arrived home, locked the 63 locks on my door, sat down (with a beer of course), and forgot everything.

When you buy a home in China, you basically get (not basically, you DO get) a concrete box. Nothing is finished. No floor, drywall, counters, appliances, nada. But this isn’t a bad thing! You get the chance to completely decorate your home to your specifications. Everything from choosing between tile or wood floors, to the shape of your toilets! Shopping around for counters, TVs, light fixtures, TVs, sinks, TVs, closets, and TVs, is actually fun! Especially when you convince your husband/wife to spend more time in the electronics store rather the door store...and yes there are door stores... So go to town, think outside the box, and make your TV, eerrr house yours!

Lastly, for those of us who have decided to settle down and stick around for the long run,owning a home here gives you a sense of belonging. You’re not just a laowai anymore (you are). You feel like you are an actual resident of your city (you aren’t). Owning a home is every couples’ dream, no matter which country you’re in, and China is no exception. Buying and decorating a home with your husband/wife is something that can really bring you two even closer together.

The Bad

Yes, when you buy a home in China you will have an unimaginable amount of paperwork, and let me tell you it’s a bureaucratic nightmare. And yes, you must watch the workers’ every movement, or they will cut corners. I won’t lie, the decorating stage and working with the workers definitely tested my patience. But due diligence, some quick homework, and a watchful eye pays off. Turns out when you hound the workers non-stop, they can produce quality work! As for the paperwork, I just hope you have a Chinese wife/husband that takes care of most of it... If not, good luck...

The Ugly

There’s an old saying my good friend Biggy Smalls used to say (God rest his soul), “Mo Money, Mo Problems.” Well, unfortunately Mr. Smalls never stepped foot in China, because that just doesn’t apply here. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, especially when buying a home. For those of us who have been here for some time, we know all too well the “efficiency” of Chinese banks. For those of you who are still comfortably sitting in your home country, you will understand soon enough. Imagine that “efficiency” while asking about loans! 30% down, hukous, contracts, blood tests, urine samples, finger nail clippings, the works. If you can, avoid all this and pay cash!

Remember when I said your new home is simply a concrete box that you “get” to decorate to your liking? Well, chances are your “liking” will cost a few extra hundred thousand yuan. So don’t forget to add these costs into your calculations when buying a home. There is no sense in buying a condo in a beautiful neighborhood and having your stuff sit atop concrete floors.

All in All

Yes, buying a home in China can be a nightmare, but like all nightmares, it ends. Eventually youwake up in a beautiful home that you created with your own two hands... along with 30 other smaller Chinese hands, but who is counting right? Good luck!

by Paul Berger

Paul Berger is an American from California, currently teaching at Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University (黑龙江八一农垦大学)in Daqing, China.  He's been in China for many years now and loving every moment of it! He feels that China can definitely make or break you, and so hopes he can help you start off on the right foot! Anything from teaching ideas to buying a home, he's done it, so don’t hesitate to ask! If you would like to contact Paul, then drop us a message here at RAY English.

Published in Articles about China

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