Let me admit right now that this post fits in this forum (Idle Banter) and is just me whittling away some time while I finish my last beer for the evening as I've just started may holiday here in Shanghai and have an early train to catch.
I've noticed a lot of posts from people who hope to move to SE Asia, looking for jobs, wondering what city, but often - the question comes down to pay - and I think many people have concerns over what they can make as say, oh, an English teacher. This is especially the case for those who fell in love with SE Asia when they visited during university or just after -- and now they have debts to pay while they still want to move there.
I want to offer a consideration to those who are concerned with the above issue -- moving to China. The market isn't totally saturated here with English teachers, and you can make decent money without spending too much - more money than you would in many SE Asian countries and an easier time finding ESL jobs. As well, there is a really good opportunity to move into better positions if you set yourself up in a larger city.
A smaller (only 5 million) city like Nanjing can get you 6000 - 10000 RMB a month (roughly 6.8 USD to 1 RMB with a revaluation appearing on the horizon) and the cost of living is relatively cheap. The lower paying university jobs include free housing and a paid month off in February (a great way to visit SE Asia).
I just wanted to put this idea into some people's heads in case they find the low income in SE Asian economy preventing them from making the move. I've lived in China for 3 years now and have used my holidays to visit Laos, Thailand and Southern Vietnam. I'm able to put money aside for my debt back home, travel, and lead a fun life here.
Please note, the lifestyle of SE Asia is very different than that of Chinese cities - but it is still a crazy wonderful experience.
After reading this, a part of me wishes I'd have gone to China instead of Vietnam. But I wouldnt have it any other way now. While working as a teacher there, I met my wife.
And then I realised I didnt want to make a career out of teaching - possibly due to the teaching environment - so I came back to start a masters. Who knows what the next 2 years will bring :)
I went to Thailand and worked as an English teacher for a year and it was a great job, i was well paid and had a great lifestyle. I would recommend it to anybody looking for a gap year experience.