Select a topic and find your answer

Do I need to understand Mandarin?
It is certainly advisable to learn some basic Mandarin before heading over to China to ease your transition and help with daily tasks. However, at Kid Castle, we encourage an ‘English only’ environment in the classroom as this can increase fluency of our students, creating a fully immersive English experience for them.

Do I need insurance?
If you do have a minor medical concern, there are two options for being treated. Many cities in China have both Western hospitals (which can be expensive) and Chinese hospitals (which are generally cheaper and are subsidised by the government). 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 travel/health insurance.

What should I budget for the first month?
You will have one month’s free accommodations with us, but for a general budget of the first month, the largest expense will be for the accommodation when you find your own place. You will usually have to pay for the first 3 months’ rent in advance – but then have 3 months where you don’t have to worry about it!!! You will also have to pay a security deposit equal to 1 month’s rent.  If 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 up front, but then you don’t have to worry about the rent for three months!!! Everyone spends differently, but 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.

Is it difficult to find accommodation?
Not really, but you should certainly wait until you arrive and know exactly where your branch is and have a feel for distances and travel times. 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 — don’t wire money to anyone as a deposit on an apartment – rather, wait until you’re here and meet in person, or deal with a realtor. It’s a good idea to go around and see as many places as you can within a day or two and choose your absolute favourite as quickly as possible. If you wait several days someone else might take it.

Will I meet many foreigners?
With hundreds of branches throughout China and over 50 in Shanghai alone, you definitely will, both inside and outside of work! We host various events throughout the year which will provide many opportunities to meet your colleagues.

Do I need vaccinations when living in China?
Vaccinations are recommended but requirements for foreigners may change periodically or recommendations of which to get may vary depending on your country of origin. 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.

Will my mobile phone work?
You’ll have to check with your local service provider on this one, and ensure your phone isn’t locked for use with another provider if you do need to get a new SIM card. If it is, try to request that they unlock it.

What should I pack?
Most basic items are easy to get (as long as you don’t need particular western brands which will inevitably cost much more). Also, save some space for your return home, because you will accumulate many souvenirs along the way.  It would be wise to bring medication that may be specific to your needs. For other things like sunscreen, shaving razors, deodorant, sneakers, and underwear etc it may be a good idea to bring stuff from home that you’re accustomed to, because what is sold here may be hard to find, expensive, or may not fit right. Generally speaking, you will find most things you could ever need – you may just need to have a local friend assist in translating the label!!!

Do I need a VPN for internet access?
A reliable VPN is essential in China if you wish to access the full range of websites that you would usually. Sites such as Google, Youtube, Facebook are blocked by the Great Chinese Firewall but with a VPN you can circumvent these restrictions.

What should I do in my free time?
Well, I’m sure part of the reason you’re coming here is to explore, travel and learn about a new culture! Get out there and enjoy your new home!!! Try something new! Learn Mandarin, explore the markets and foods, travel to places you’ve only ever seen on TV. The possibilities are endless!  Also, 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.

If I want to travel around China, what’s the best way to do it?
Travelling in China can be very cheap. Both internal flights and long distance train services are very affordable. Remember though, for any trip, long or short, travel with your passport, as they are checked often, even within the country! You’ll meet so many other colleagues and friends that will be more than happy to guide you on all this and maybe even show you around!

Will I need to speak Chinese or have a Chinese Speaking assistant in Class with me?
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, but we encourage full English emersion and students and an English only environment is encouraged with older students.

How long is each lesson?
Most classes are 1 hour and 30 minutes, including a 10 minute break in the middle. There are exceptions to this but they are rare.

How many students are in each class?
Classes are capped at maximum of 20 students

What are “Make-up Days” and how do they apply to our schedule:
For longer Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year or National Day Holiday, there are make-up days scheduled for some of the days off. Make-up days are government-mandated and span across all sectors of business in China.

Which branch/school will I be placed in?
Due to the large number of Kid Castle locations the needs of the schools are constantly changing. We are unable to give exact placements until around a month before your arrival but always do our best to take into account your requests.

What is the difference between Kindergarten and a Training School?
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.

Are the opportunities for advancement and career development at Kid Castle?
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.

Can I extend my contract after the first year?
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.

Can I come on a tourist visa?
If you intend on working 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. We provide more in depth information and relevant documents after you have been hired to ensure you attain the correct visa.

How long does the visa application process take?
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.

Where should I apply for my visa?
You can make your visa application at your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

Can someone apply for my visa on behalf of me?
Yes, someone else can make the visa application on your behalf so long as section 5 of your visa application form is correctly completed.

What is the difference between a residency permit and a visa?
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 on arrival. This permit 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.

When should I book my flight?
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.

My passport expires soon, should I get a new one?
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.