Thursday, February 2, 2017

The job hunt begins again

This has been my life for the past month... (Image credit)

Just a quick post on what I'm up to these days and why the posts are slowing down, following the mad writing spree I went on in December/January. You can expect updates to be a little more infrequent now, hopefully at a rate of about once a week. I'm still planning to continue posting about my recent travels through the U.K. and Greece.

The holiday is officially over now, and for the last month I've been in full-time job hunting mode. It's a pretty time consuming task no matter what industry you work in, but when you work overseas, there's the added challenges of obtaining work visas and researching countries that you're considering working in. 

I really loved living in South Korea last year and my intent was to return around now (early February) to job hunt from within Korea for positions at universities. I already knew that the university market in Korea is difficult to break into, but after doing more research, it's beginning to look even more challenging than I had first thought. So I began to open up my job hunt to consider university EFL positions in other countries.

A recommendation from some friends and lots of reading online has led me to seriously think about working in China next. I never really imagined working in China, since I had a lot of concerns about doing it. You hear stories about the problems with pollution and sanitation, not to mention teachers who got into bad situations with disreputable schools.

I'm still in the process of researching China, but it's looking more and more like the next best place to work for me. The problems I mentioned above are real, but there are ways to avoid them. With regard to pollution, this map really helped me narrow down the places I was willing to accept a job. At the moment, I'm interested in the Guangxi and Guangdong areas, which are located in that nice southeast green zone on the map.

 Map showing the air pollution in China (Image Credit)

Secondly, I've read a lot about the medical and sanitation problems and there is a lot of good advice out there for how to stay safe in China in that regard. Here are a couple of good links to info on that issue from the website Middle Kingdom, which had many useful (although somewhat outdated at times) articles on living and working in China.

And the final problem, which is also one of the biggest, is how to know if the school you're considering is trustworthy. This is a problem in many EFL markets around the world, not only in China. There are actually very few countries where I wouldn't be extremely suspicious of jobs in the EFL market. The best way to avoid a bad situation is to do your research. Google the school name and "teaching review" and see what pops up. Look them up on forums, particularly on the site of whatever the major EFL website is for that country (Japan: Gaijinpot, South Korea:, Chile: a Facebook group for foreigners, etc.) You can also find many school reviews on the jobs board at Dave's ESL Cafe, although take whatever you read there with a big grain of salt.

So I'm currently looking at university jobs in China, which could start as early as March, but are more likely to start in September of 2017. Who knows though, in a month's time I may be updating this blog from China.

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