This is part 2 of my interview series “Teaching English in China”.  I’m talking to people who either went to China to teach at Chinese universities or language schools or who work with Chinese students online.

In part 1 of the series, I interviewed Alexandra MacArthur from the US and this time it’s Cynthia Bil’s turn.

Cynthia is from Belgium and used to work as a special education teacher, helping students with learning disabilities. 6 years ago she left her job and home in Belgium to travel the world. She has been working as a language teacher but also a waitress, a shepherd, a gardener,… in many countries around the world. 3 years ago she met her Canadian boyfriend during a grape-picking job in France and they decided to travel the world in a unique way: Their goal is to hitchhike from Ireland to Alaska, across 6 continents and without taking any airplanes. They’re currently in Georgia where they spent the past 10 months teaching English online to Chinese students. They both work for the same Chinese company, Hujiang. 

Find out more about Cynthia on her website and social media accounts:

Website: http://www.journalofnomads.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/journalofnomadsaworldodyssey/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/journalofnomads/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/journalnomads
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/journalofnomads

 

Which company/university/school did you work for?  http://www.hujiang.com

Do you teach online or offline?  online

How many hours a week did you teach? Was there a minimum of hours required?
Between 20 – 30 hours. There is a minimum of 8 hours required.

Did you have to sign a contract for a certain amount of time?
Yes, I had to sign a contract for minimum 3 months

How much did they pay you?
$15/hour

What was the application process like?
First an interview where the interviewer asked me questions about my teaching
experience and where I had to do an internet speed test. After that, I had to give a
demo class where I had to show my teaching skills.

What are the requirements to teach English at Hujiang (native speaker, TEFL certificate, university degree)?
Preferably being a native speaker (which I’m not), TEFL certificate is a plus (which I
don’t have but I have a bachelor degree in teaching). Teaching experience is the most
important requirement.

How flexible are you as far as your schedule is concerned?
I can choose my own schedule, as long as it is between the working hours (9.30 am –
10.30 pm Beijing time). I have to be available for minimum 8 hours per week and I
have to submit my weekly schedule 3 weeks in advance.

What were the biggest challenges?
Finding a fast and reliable internet connection to teach while I travel! I often find myself
in off-the-beaten-path places where there are a lot of power cuts, which means no
electricity or internet to teach. I also don’t always know if and when I can find internet.
This job is perfect for someone who lives/travels in countries where you can always
rely on the internet and electricity!

Would you work for a Chinese company again? 
Yes, I would. It’s very interesting to learn about the Chinese culture and Chinese
students are very motivated and eager to learn English!

 

So what are your plans for the near future? Any goals you’d like to achieve in the next couple of months? 

We’re resuming our journey in August and we’re going to hitchhike across Central Asia and Russia. We document everything on the blog Journal of Nomads (http://www.journalofnomads.com) and on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/journalofnomads). Our stories and videos are a combination of personal impressions and experiences mixed with what we learn from the different cultures and people we meet while hitchhiking and offer travel information on how to travel on a small budget and earn money along the way.

Thank you very much, Cynthia. I will surely follow your journey on your blog and hope to meet you in Latin America one day. 

By the way, Cynthia and her partner Niko are also the authors of probably the best article about online teaching which you can currently find: The Ultimate Guide to Online Teaching. 

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to write in the comments. 

 

Author: Daniela

Hi! I'm Daniela - a native German who's currently living in Lima, Peru. Besides making a living teaching German and English, I'm constantly trying to improve my Spanish and Portuguese. On my blog, I write articles for (aspiring) language teachers to help them get started and for people who want to travel the world and make some extra cash teaching their native language.

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