8 Phrases You’ll Need Your First Day in China

GoGlobal brushes 8 phrases

Life in China can be overwhelming without knowing any Mandarin. However, it’s an obstacle that is easy and exciting to overcome.

Learning Mandarin requires patience and practice, but in the end it’s worth it- if only to avoid the headaches and frustration that result from completing tasks that should be simple.

We’ve compiled a list of the words you need to hit the ground running, or at the very least get to where you need to go.

Nǐ Hǎo


Wǒ Jiào…

“My name is…” This is a great first step to making a Chinese friend.

Zhè ge (This) / Nà ge (That)

These are useful words if you want to seem like you know more Chinese than you do. You can accompany these words by pointing at things.

Xiè Xie

“Thank you.” Chinese people don’t say thank you as often as Westerners, I’ve found. But it’s nice to say it anyway!

Duìbuqǐ (also Bùhaǒyìsi)

These both approximate “sorry,” but the first is more formal than the second. Bùhaǒyìsi also means “excuse me,” so you’ll hear this a lot of public transit. If you are stopping a Chinese person to ask directions or help you translate, use Bùhaǒyìsi.

Tīng bu dǒng

“I don’t understand.” This comes in useful if people are bothering you to take a picture with them, just say this repeatedly and run in the opposite direction.

Wǒ bù shuō hànyǔ

“I don’t speak Chinese.” Your beginner pronunciation will probably give you away, if they haven’t already figured it out.


This means goodbye, literally “see you again.” However this is quite formal; many of your interactions with Chinese people will usually end with “bye bye.”

The key to learning Chinese is to actually use it- these words are pretty basic and you’ll probably use them every day. As you expand your vocab, repetition will be the key to remembering those words.

A note on pronunciation- Chinese people are expecting you, as a foreigner, to be terrible at speaking Chinese. All you have to do is keep repeating the word you are trying to say, but slightly differently each time. Eventually they will nod at you and repeat the word the way it should be pronounced. That is what you listen for- it’s a mini Chinese lesson every time you speak to somebody.

For more information about teaching and living in China, please check out our website, or email us at teach@goglobaljobs.com.


5 Steps to a Work Visa in China

GoGlobal Visas

August is almost here, and hundreds of teachers are currently making their final preparations for their journeys to China.

However, before coming to China, you need a visa. If you will be working in China, you will need a legal work (Z) visa.

The criterion for work visas varies drastically from province to province. Visa requirements can also change from month to month- over the last three months, we have noticed that local foreign expert bureaus are much more strict when it comes to documents they require.

Below is an overview of the visa process for most schools in China. Please note that this process is for schools that are allowed to hire foreigners and can provide a legal Z visa. If a school wants you to come to China on a tourist visa, that is illegal.

  1. When you are hired by a school, you return a signed contract and other documents (usually these will include copies of your diplomas, certificates, passport, letters of recommendation, and a health check.)
  2. The school will send those documents and application to their local Foreign Expert Bureau (FEB) to apply for permission to hire you. This process can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
  3. Once the local FEB finishes processing your application, they give the school two documents (your work permit and invitation letter) that are sent to you in your home country.
  4. You use these two documents to apply for a work visa (which is called a Z visa) at your local consulate. If there is no consulate nearby, you can use a mail service like this one. The visa goes in your passport, so you need to bring your passport and leave it with the consulate during this time.
  5. The consulate should take no more than 5 days to process your visa. Once you get your passport back, you are good to get on a plane and come to China!

If you are unsure about the visa process or have further questions, please check out the website for your local consulate or the Chinese embassy.

Here are the websites for the Chinese consulates and embassy in the U.S.:

New York
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Chinese Embassy

We hope you have found this article helpful; for more information about teaching in China, please visit our website or reach out to us at teach@goglobaljobs.com. 

Pimp Your Ride: China Edition


Transportation in China cannot be more different than that of the U.S. Chinese airports are newly built, and the system of bullet trains that crisscross the country is an astounding feat of infrastructure development. However, once you’ve arrived in a Chinese city, you have a choice to make- driving is inconvenient, walking is slow, and busses can sometimes get stuck in traffic.

It’s probably time to think about a bike.

Fortunately, there are many kinds of bikes to choose from, and that’s not just between normal bike and e-bike (electronic bike.)

We have profiled a few modes of two-wheeled transport that should get you excited to zip around China. Enjoy!

the family vehicle China

The Family Vehicle

Andrew Crook, GoGlobal founder, swore to me that he once fit his entire family (of 5!) on this bike. Instead of extra people, you could always rope a few boxes of stuff to the back of this bike. Bikes this size are the SUV equivalent of two-wheeled transport in China.

“I love our scooters- my family actually has two. They are great for getting our kids around- with a family of five getting cabs can be frustrating, because most only fit four people.”


The Light and Modern

Our friend Taylor has been in China for three years now, and this is her most recent two wheeled transportation purchase. The Factory Five brand is increasingly popular among Shanghai’s artsy crowd, and the super lightweight and slim frame means that if you need to, you can carry it up four flights of stairs to your apartment (which is what Taylor does every day.)

According to Taylor: “Biking through the city let’s me see a lot more of what’s going on around me, compared to when I’m zipping through traffic on my scooter.”

Ammon huge bike

The Badass Option

Our good friend Ammon bought this bike on a whim when he saw it on taobao for a steal. The advantage of this bike is that you look like a badass. Also, if someone tries to steal it, they might not have the leg muscle to actually pedal it.

Ammon actually uses his other bike to get around the city, and this bike to go on biking trips to Shanghai’s surrounding mountainous area on the weekends. If you want to join him with an equally badass bike, you can get one for yourself here.

disposable bike China

The Practically Disposable

These bikes usually go for around 100 rmb ($16). The advantage of these bikes is that they get you where you want to go, and if you forget to lock it up one day it’s not the end of the world. Careful though, they look like a lot of the other bikes on the road, if you leave it on a bike rack for a week you might have trouble differentiating it from the many look a likes that will pile up around it. I took this picture of a random bike in a Beijing hutong by Dongzhimen- they are literally everywhere.

We won’t give you a link to buy one of these because you can get them anywhere- just look for a pile of junky looking bikes with a guy standing next to it. However, if you do want to differentiate your junky bike from the rest, you can always taobao something like this.

No matter which option you choose, always remember to wear a helmet! Sure, it might be nice having the wind in your hair, but chinese drivers have on average less than two years of experience on the road, so it’s like the streets are full of 16 year olds behind the wheel. This will be evident from the minute you arrive in China, probably on the taxi ride from the airport. No matter how safe you are, you can’t count on others to be equally as careful!

To find out more about living and working in China, email teach@goglobaljobs.com.

Through a Beijing Hutong

Beijing Hutong alley

Beijing is famous for its Hutongs, which are old neighborhoods with narrow streets and winding alleyways. They stand in stark contrast to Beijing’s mile-wide streets and squares that characterize Beijing government areas.

A few weeks ago I wandered through a Hutong near Dongzhimen– here are the pictures of places (mostly doorways) and people I met along the way.

Beijing hutong watermelon man

This guy was my favorite- I asked if I could take a picture of him, and his reaction was, “of course!” Since he seemed surprised at the question, I explained that as a blond girl in China, many people take pictures of me and very few bother to ask my permission beforehand. Since he was sitting outside half naked, drinking some baijiu and eating watermelon, I figured I would extend the curtesy.

Beijing hutong doorway 1


I was enthralled by the doorways- they remind you of the history that these Hutongs hold. You can also wander down pretty  much anywhere you want. If you aren’t careful you might end up in an old Beijinger’s living room.

Beijing Hutong doorway 3

The mom didn’t notice my take the picture, but the toddler on her back certainly did-

Beijing Hutong basket toddler

The Beijing Hutongs are certainly gorgeous to talk through, but sometimes you just need to take a nap instead.

Beijing Hutong nap outside

If you find yourself looking for something awesome to eat, look no further than Palms L.A., a Mexican-Korean fusion place in  Hutong near Gulou. I got the kimchi quesedilla, and it was fantastic!

14 Zhangwang Hutong, Xicheng District; 西城区 张旺胡同14号

I hope you enjoyed this walk though a Beijing Hutong- for more information about finding jobs in China, reach out to us here on WordPress, visit our website, or email us at teach@goglobaljobs.com. We look forward to meeting you soon!

6 Elements to Include On Your ESL Resume


Quite a few resumes come across our desks each day, and each year we place many qualified teachers at schools across China.

You probably already know that when applying for jobs, you should tailor your resume to each position you apply for (or at the very least each industry). This advice still rings true when applying for ESL jobs. Moreover, there are some elements that schools in China look for when deciding who to hire. If you make sure to include the following on your resume, you will be in a much better position to be hired by a school in China.

TEFL, CELTA, TESOL (or similar certification)

The above certifications can be earned by completing a class either in person or online. These classes are a great introduction to teaching English as a second language, and certificates are in some provinces necessary to obtain a work visa in China.

Two years of work experience (post graduation)

This is a stipulation for foreigners working on China on a legal work (Z) visa. Some provinces, including Beijing, have even higher requirements for work experience. If you have less than two years of work experience, there are still options to get to China. For more information visit goayc.org.

Highlight your teaching experience

Just like with any resume, you want to make sure the experience you list is pertinent to the vacancy. Teaching experience doesn’t have to be just classroom based- have you tutored? Have you been a conversation buddy? Have you coached a kids sports team, babysat or had other similar experiences working with kids? Do you have experience interacting with people with a different background than your own? Put it on there.

Skype ID (as well as your email)

If you don’t have a Skype ID, I highly recommend getting one. Not only do we at GoGlobal use Skype to get to know you as a teacher, schools that think about hiring you will also want to speak with you before sending you a contract. Once you’re in China, Skype is a useful tool for keeping in touch with friends and family back home.


While it is not customary to include a picture of yourself on a resume in the U.S., it is the norm the ESL industry in China. The picture should be appropriate and relaxed- the idea is to portray yourself as a friendly and enthusiastic person. We have found that schools are much more interested in meeting you if they see your smiling face in addition to your resume.

Your nationality

It’s important to mention which country you are from. Chinese visa laws are always in flux, but right now it is difficult to get a legal work (z) visa for English teachers from countries where English is not the native language. This is because English teachers have the status of “foreign experts” for work visas, and the Chinese government does not consider ESL teachers for whom English is a second language to be foreign experts.

We hope these tips will help in your job search. To speak to one of our recruiters based in China, reach out to us here on WordPress, or visit our website! You can also send us an email: teach@goglobaljobs.com

When life isn’t fair…

Teaching the Teacher

The most painful lesson to watch children learn is that life isn’t fair.

It’s amazing how quickly the small playground squabbles can give way to major life events.

It’s a hard lesson to learn that things can happen outside of anyone’s control and all you can do is go along for along for the ride.

Some kids talk, others shut down.

Often I find myself with no more advice than

‘This too shall pass little one…’

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5 Objects Every ESL Teacher Should Have On Hand

Great post!

B&B Teach

Despite all the articles out there trying to convince you it’s a simple gig, teaching abroad is still just as challenging as teaching back in your home state. While there may be less standardized tests to prepare students for, teaching abroad requires a good deal of flexibility and lots of spontaneous decision-making. Having the proper tools in your teaching box or tote bag can help you generate effective and unique lessons for students in any context. I have used these tools in classrooms for young learners as well as SAT students. The best part is: these 5 objects are easy to find in any country, are relatively cheap, and are small enough to fit into a teaching bag.

5 Objects

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Coming to China: The Girl Questions


Over the course of my interviews with prospective teachers, I am asked a lot of questions about what it’s like to live in China. Here are some bits of advice that you may need if you are a woman thinking about working in China:


In my experience, Westerners are held accountable to the dress code of their home country, so business casual for me is different than for Chinese women in my office. In a professional or school setting, it’s best to keep clothing business casual- slacks are fine, and tops shouldn’t be cut too low. Chinese women tend to wear much shorter shorts and skirts than western women, but cover up more on top.

Stockings or hose vary by the age of the person wearing them, just like in the U.S. However during the winter Chinese women opt for thicker, more insulated leggings instead of tights, with a knee length boot. In the summer, open toed shoes and sandals are fine.

Something to keep in mind- clothes (and shoes) for men and women come in small and tiny. If you wear size 10-16 in the States, it’s unlikely you will be able to find a lot of options for shoes and apparel. A size 8 shoe, while average in the U.S., is rarely stocked in physical stores in China.


There are hair dressers all over the place- you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a place to get your hair cut. Many Chinese women dye their hair, so finding a place with those services isn’t too complicated. However in smaller cities, cut and dye with caution, as hairdressers may not be used to working with Western hair.

If you use “at home” coloring, such as Clariol or Loreal, these products are available here in darker shades (Black, Brown, Auburn) – if you use blonde or any light shade you should bring it with you.

Nail salons abound. They vary in quality, and if you want to save some money you can go for cheaper brands of polish. Many nail salons also offer a range of other spa treatments.

Dry cleaners are very common and reasonably priced. Some people may try to overcharge you because you are a foreigner, but you can just bargain with them. Otherwise, there are also chain stores that have set prices for their services.

During your time in China, you will build relationships with your neighborhood dry cleaner, favorite nail place, hairdresser, fruit store, noodle guy, etc. Once they get to know you they won’t give you the foreigner surcharge. (that said, sometimes when I suspect I’m being over charged for something by just a little bit, I don’t worry about it too because I know my income is significantly higher than the guy selling fruit on the street.)


If you are picky about the types of products you put on your skin, you will notice the prevalence of lotions and makeup with whitening chemicals in them. I’m pretty wary of that so I bring products from the U.S. You can always find Western makeup brands in China, but they may not have the shade you need, and they will be much more expensive than in the States. I would also bring an ample supply of deodorant with you- Chinese people rarely wear it so it’s quite hard to find.

Sanitary Products

Lastly- Chinese women use sanitary pads. The only tampons I’ve seen are the OB brand- if you are picky about your sanitary products, I highly recommend a trip to Costco to stock up on your favorite fem care before coming to China.

Faces of Nanjing No. 5 High School

One teacher at Nanjing No. 5 High School presents three student profiles, HONY-style.


I’ve always found Humans of New York to be one of my favorite human-interest pieces that I peruse daily.  It reminds me that every single stranger I walk past each day has an entire life that I have no clue about. They have their own problems, interests, and personality that I will most likely never know of. The amount of events that occurred in our lives to lead each of us to that exact location in the world is crazy to contemplate.   I guess you could say these are my shower thoughts?

I really should’ve thought about doing this type of thing when I first arrived and started teaching at Nanjing No. 5 High School.  My students are all friendly, love to talk English with me, and enjoy taking pictures (although I thought it might be a little weird if I were taking pictures with/of my students with my phone, but I guess it isn’t…

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