Making the choice to pack up your life and move to China to teach English is definitely exciting, but before you hop on that plane just yet, take some time to consider some of the financial costs that will come along with this decision too. After all, the last thing you want to be worried about while you're settling into your new life is whether or not you have enough funds to survive (especially when you could be out exploring and touring the country instead).
The best way to think about the costs you'll encounter is by breaking it down into two major categories: pre-arrival expenses and post-arrival expenses. Let's start with your pre-arrival expenses.
Anytime you go abroad, especially if you plan to move, there's going to be a lot of paperwork to handle--and chances are it's probably not going to be cheap either. You don't always know what hiccups you might run into along the way, so don't procrastinate on getting all your documents in order. For obtaining items like your passport, which can be a lengthy process, try and apply at least six months in advance.
It's one thing to try and pack what you need for an abroad vacation, but a move? Yikes. Here's what you'll need:
Read more on: Packing List for ESL Teacher Moving to China
Now that we've calculated your pre-arrival costs, it's time to look at what kind of expenses you'll be facing once you actually arrive in China. One thing to keep in mind is that there will be at least a month--if not longer--lag between your arrival and your first paycheck. It's a good idea to bring some extra cash so you're prepared for the waiting period.
Currently, the average monthly rent for an apartment in a small city is around $300 and living in a bigger city will run you around $650. Keep in mind that many apartments do already come furnished so you won't have to do too much furniture shopping unless you really want to.
Once you arrive, you'll also be expected to pay three months of your rent up front along with your deposit and housing agent fees. This could total anywhere from $1,300 to $2,500. (The good news is that many schools offer housing allowances or higher salaries to help cover your rent.)
With all those pesky apartment fees out of the way, it's now time to worry about your next major expense: settle-in costs.
Although it does take a lot of money to move to China, the experience and adventure of living in a foreign land is worth it. In the months before your big move, be sure to save as much money as you can. Although you can definitely get a good idea about your potential expenses from this list, having extra money on handis never a bad idea--you just never know what kind of obstacles could pop up along the way.