Verbena field in Guizhou province, China
Verbena field in Guizhou province, China. Photo ©

lin2015, licensed under CC0 1.0 and adapted from the original.

Why choose China?

You will have the chance to experience first-hand one of the world’s fastest-growing superpowers. Not only will experience in China stand out on your CV, but working directly with Chinese students and staff will give you a closer understanding of a rich, distinct culture.

Your role will be similar to that of a teacher, which will help you develop strong communication and planning skills. You will be expected to take on more responsibility in class, which will increase your confidence and critical thinking. You will be asked to plan and lead your own lessons, but you will receive training to help you prepare for this.

You don't need to speak any languages to apply, but you must have graduated from university by the time you start your assistantship.

As part of the programme, assistants will receive:

  • return flights to China (reimbursed up to 10,000 RMB)
  • accommodation provided and paid for*
  • a contribution of 3,000 RMB towards visa costs*
  • a pre-departure briefing by the British Council in the UK (attendance compulsory)
  • training in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), including a 60-hour online course and a two-week training course (also compulsory)
  • year round support from the British Council in the UK and Chinese partner organisation, CEAIE.

*Please see the FAQs and country notes below for more information on visas and accommodation.

Am I eligible?

To become a language assistant in China, you must:

  • fulfil the general eligibility criteria
  • be 55 or under at the start of your post
  • hold a valid UK or Irish passport
  • be available from mid-August 2019 to end of June 2020
  • have graduated from university with at least a bachelor’s degree, and have your certificate by mid-August 2019.

Furthermore, you will need to demonstrate strong resilience and adaptability. Living in China is a rewarding and exciting opportunity, but it can also be challenging due to the significant differences in culture, interpersonal relationships, work ethics and bureaucracy. For this reason, we only select candidates who can demonstrate a strong interest in Chinese culture, as well as a strong ability to navigate unfamiliar and unexpected situations.

Applications from candidates who have a criminal record of any nature will not be considered by the Chinese Immigration Authorities.

If offered a post, you will be asked to provide copies of the following for the visa process: 

  • your passport (valid for the entire duration of the assistantship)
  • your CV
  • your degree certificate (or student status letter for 2019 graduates*)
  • a signed tutor or employer reference letter.

*The student status letter must be hand signed by a university official, on university letter headed paper and contain your full name (as shown on your passport) date of birth, course title, course start date, course end date, and your graduation date (dd/mm/yyyy or mm/yyyy).

Candidates are encouraged to prepare these documents in advance of hearing the final outcome of their application in March 2019.

How much will I be paid?

You can expect to earn 5,000 RMB - 9,000 RMB a month and work 16-25 hours a week (salary is dependent on your experience, region and working hours).

Assistants in Shanghai will receive a higher salary (around 13,000 RMB) including a living allowance to cover the costs of accommodation, which will not be provided.

Where can I go?

For 2019-20, we expect to have posts available in Beijing, Chongqing, Hunan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hebei, Shanghai, Guizhou and Guangdong.

If you would like to be considered for Shanghai, Guangdong and Guizhou, please state the region and a reason for your choice in the text box provided on the preferences section of the application form. 

Please note: regions are subject to change. We will update you in due course if a region becomes unavailable.

What is the application timeline?

The dates given below are rough guidelines and may be subject to change.

  • February-March: candidates who pass the first stage of selection are invited to a video interview.
  • March: candidates who pass the first stage of selection are invited to a video interview.
  • April: candidates find out whether they have been allocated to a country or whether they have been placed on a waiting list – those who have successfully secured a post in China will find out the location of their post from the British Council.
  • April-July: candidates complete the online TEFL course and the visa application process.
  • July: candidates attend a pre-departure briefing day at the British Council
  • August: candidates attend a training course in Beijing where they will take additional TEFL classes and teach at a summer school.

Successful candidates will begin their post in September 2019.

For more information, download our English language assistant lifecyle (PDF, 800KB).

I'm currently a language assistant in China – can I apply again?

Currently we are not accepting consecutive year applications for China. This policy is being reviewed and our website will be updated in due course if there are any changes.

Back to the main English Language Assistants page.