FAQ


Here are some common questions we get from teachers that want to come to China

It is certainly advisable to learn some basic Mandarin before heading over to China to ease your transition and help with daily tasks. However, for employment with Kid Castle, speaking Chinese is not necessary. We encourage an ‘English only’ environment in the classroom as this can increase fluency and help with classroom management.
If you do have a minor medical concern, there are two options for being treated. Shanghai has both Western hospitals (expensive) and Chinese hospitals (cheap). If you have existing health insurance back home, you can check if it covers you overseas; if not, it is up to you whether to take out a supplementary travel/health plan.
Everyone spends differently, but for a general budget of the first month living, the largest expense will be for the accommodation since you may have to pay for the first 3 months’ rent, plus a security deposit equal to 1 month’s rent.So for example if your monthly rent is 3000rmb/month, it would be {3+1}*3000=12000RMB needed as the initial payment. It is a lot of cash upfront, but then you don’t have to worry about the rent for three months. Other than housing, the cost of living in China is relatively cheap, especially if you try to eat local food. Transportation is relatively cheap as well.
The truth is you shouldn’t search until you get here (even if you know your school’s location beforehand). Distances are a big factor — from your school, from downtown, from the nearest metro stops, from the nearest stores, etc, and it might be hard to comprehend the distances/times from a map but easier to do so in person. Photos of apartments online are often deceiving, and you can only accurately judge a place when you’re examining it in person. Similar to how you can’t trust a photo, you also can’t trust who you are dealing with online — it would be a bad idea to wire a deposit internationally to a stranger you never met, since there are many scams out there taking advantage of this. Lastly, there is the fact that Shanghai is a massive city with a fast housing market, with countless places continuously going up for rent and being rented out. If you fell in love with an apartment before you arrived, chances are it would be gone by the time you got here. It’s a good idea to go around and see as many places as you can within a day or 2, and just picking the best one. If you wait several days someone else might take it and you will be back to square 1.
You will have plenty of opportunities to meet other Foreigners both inside and outside of work. Kid Castle has over 50 locations in Shanghai alone, and each has on average 2 Foreign Teachers. We host various events throughout the year which will provide many opportunities to meet your colleagues.
Vaccinations are recommended when travelling to China but the vaccination requirements for foreigners may change periodically. Your best route for this kind of advice is to check your country’s state department website for travel/disease info, or the Chinese Embassy’s website in your country might mention these details as well. Doctors at specialized travel-medicine clinics can also be knowledgeable.
You should definitely check with your service provider whether your phone is locked for use with another carrier. If it is, try to request that they unlock it. Otherwise, a Chinese SIM card will not be compatible with your phone and you would need to buy a new phone here to use a local SIM card. iPhones tend to be locked on most services in the US and UK, but it does depend on your carrier.
It would be wise to bring smaller medications that will help with some minor sicknesses over the course of the year; for other things, sunscreen, shaving razors, deodorant, sneakers, and underwear to last the year are all good ideas because what is sold here is either hard to find, expensive, or doesn’t fit right. Besides that, most basic items are easy to get (as long as you don’t need particular western brands for twice the cost), and you should anticipate that you will accumulate many souvenirs along the way so leave some space in your bags.
A reliable VPN is essential in China if you wish to be able to access the full range of websites from home that you are accustomed to. Sites such as Google, Youtube, Facebook are blocked by the Great Chinese Firewall but with a VPN you can circumvent these restrictions.
You can be almost certain that any hobby you have back home will be available here, most major Chinese cities have large expat communities with groups and events for any taste. However, surely you’re not heading to China to do the same old things are you? Try something new, eat new foods, explore, learn Mandarin! You’ll have no shortage of options to fill your free time!
Travelling within China can be very cheap and easy. If you wish to take a trip within China both internal flights and long distance train services are very affordable. Make sure to remember, whatever your mode of transport, you will not be able to get very far in China without your passport, even short train journeys will require this.

And some common questions about working at Kid Castle

You will have a Teaching Assistant present in your younger Kindergarten level classes and there will always be Chinese staff nearby if you need any assistance.
For the most part your classes will be 1 hour and 30 minutes, including a 10 minute break in the middle. There are exceptions to this but they are rare.
Classes are capped at 20 students.
For longer Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year or National Day Holiday, there are make-up days scheduled for some of the extra days off. Make-up days are government-mandated and span across all sectors of business in China.
Due to the large number of Kid Castle locations the needs of the schools are constantly changing. We will guarantee that you are placed in the city of your choice but are unable to give exact placements until around a month before your arrival.
Kid Castle Training Schools operate outside of normal school hours and are open all year round, they cater to students aged 3-12. The Kindergarten Schools have morning and afternoon classes and have two semesters per year. The students range from 2-6 years old and are taught a broader range of subjects.
There is a clear path for career development for Foreign Teachers at Kid Castle. Those who excel in their role can become Training Specialists and subsequently Foreign Teacher Supervisors. There is also the Foreign Affairs Department at the Kid Castle Head Office which can offer advancement opportunities for foreigners outside of teaching.
We welcome our teachers to stay beyond their first year contract and many do. So long as you complete your duties to the expected standard and abide by the rules of the Kid Castle Full Time Contract and Handbook your contract can be extended on a yearly basis.

And some common visa related questions

Yes, you will be unable to enter China without first obtaining a visa at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your current country of residence.
If you intend to work in China then you must obtain the relevant work visa to do so legally. It is against the law to work in China on a tourist visa.
Applying for and obtaining the correct Work Permit and Visa to allow you to legally enter and teach in China can be quite a lengthy process. From being offered a position to having the visa stamped in your passport will take between 2 and 3 months.
You can make your visa application at your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate.
Yes, someone else can make the visa application on your behalf so long as section 5 of your visa application form is correctly completed.
Your visa will allow you entry into China, but to legally live and work in China long term you will need this to be upgraded to a Residence Permit. This is pasted into your passport exactly like a visa and looks almost the same, but it permits you unlimited exit and entry and is usually valid until the end of your work contract term.
There are many different TEFL certifications / organizations to choose from and some can be done very quickly. One of the most popular online versions is ITTT. While the CELTA is much more expensive, but more prestigious. For the most part though, your TEFL certificate will be approved by the Chinese bureau that requires it as long as:
It’s for at least 120 hours
Doesn’t have the word “online” printed on it
We recommend you don’t book a flight until after you pick up your Z Visa and passport from the embassy. On the Visa form you only need to put an estimated arrival date, you do not need to prove or show actual flight details. You could book flights now if you were really anxious to do so, but it is risky because nothing is ever 100% sure, be it the actual arrival date, issuing of the visa, random emergency, etc., and cancellation penalties or date-change fees would be harsh, so you’re safer to wait until it is more of a sure-thing.
The minimum passport validity necessary for you to work in China is 6 months, but if your passport expires in less than one year it would be highly advisable to renew it before coming to China as the process will be much simpler back home.