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Working in Guangzhou with a family?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by Oneginabina, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Oneginabina

    Oneginabina New commenter

    Hi!
    I wondered if anybody has any experience of living in Guangzhou with a family? There is a job advertised in a British school there that looks fantastic, if I could have written my ideal next job spec, then it would have matched that! I currently work in a fantastic Independent school in the UK, which has treated me really well over the years and I have gained a lot of experience and several promotions. I love my job as Assistant Key Stage 4 Manager and Head of Languages and the staff and students are great. My son is in Reception (41/2) there and my daughter (2) would join the nursery there next January and it really is a good school. But, I am ready for a new challenge and a new experience. I go from thinking what s fantastic opportunity it would be, not only for myself but also for my children to thinking maybe I am being selfish taking them and my husband to the other side of the world!

    Additionally, they never have transparent financial arrangements. My husband is a lorry driver at present and is up for a move and new experience and is happy to be a stay at home dad to do the running around with 2 kids but I'm not sure if my salary would be enough to support us out there and continue to pay for our existing financial commitments (mortgage, personal loan etc). Do you pay taxes in China? If so how much? I would also want to return home once a year-how much is travel allowance? Would we have enough for the family? Does medical insurance just cover me or my family? So many questions!

    Thanks for you time!

    Gina
     
  2. Oneginabina

    Oneginabina New commenter

    Hi!
    I wondered if anybody has any experience of living in Guangzhou with a family? There is a job advertised in a British school there that looks fantastic, if I could have written my ideal next job spec, then it would have matched that! I currently work in a fantastic Independent school in the UK, which has treated me really well over the years and I have gained a lot of experience and several promotions. I love my job as Assistant Key Stage 4 Manager and Head of Languages and the staff and students are great. My son is in Reception (41/2) there and my daughter (2) would join the nursery there next January and it really is a good school. But, I am ready for a new challenge and a new experience. I go from thinking what s fantastic opportunity it would be, not only for myself but also for my children to thinking maybe I am being selfish taking them and my husband to the other side of the world!

    Additionally, they never have transparent financial arrangements. My husband is a lorry driver at present and is up for a move and new experience and is happy to be a stay at home dad to do the running around with 2 kids but I'm not sure if my salary would be enough to support us out there and continue to pay for our existing financial commitments (mortgage, personal loan etc). Do you pay taxes in China? If so how much? I would also want to return home once a year-how much is travel allowance? Would we have enough for the family? Does medical insurance just cover me or my family? So many questions!

    Thanks for you time!

    Gina
     
  3. Hi One....
    I lived in GZ for a year working at a small intl schl and if your family is prepared to live in a hot and humid climate I'd say go for it. Mind you, GZ is so far up the Pearl River delta that there is little cleansing wind so you must be prepared for the air pollution. Yes, everywhere in China one is exposed to pollution but GZ is a manufacturing city and home to 10+ millions. I arrived just before the Asian Games and was pleased with the air quality but the day after the Games ended and the factories started up again, phew!
    You need to talk to your prospective bosses at the British school about paying taxes (I'm not a Brit so don't know, but they will and they ought to be fairly transparent about these things). They will also be able to advise you about the travel and medical allowances and coverages.
    I bought produce at the local markets and ate out at western restaurants about once a week and managed to save nearly half my salary. But again savings potential is something your new bosses should discuss with you.
    Don't be shy - Ask! You are certainly within your rights to find out all you can before making a major move like this.
    If you come over I think you'll find that China and the Chinese are terrific, the food is great and children are adored and admired by all. Be prepared - If they're blonde/fair haired, they will have to get used to being photographed wherever you go. Chinese kids learn to pose for pictures before they learn to walk. Being photographed is not stalking like it could be construed in western cultures, it's due to the rarity of fair haired children and considered a compliment to their beauty.
    Get all the information you can before you come over. Maybe your GZ school has an on-staff person who'd be happy to talk about life at the school and in the community. Ask! Then ask more until you run out of questions.
    Sign me - Been there
     
  4. Oneginabina

    Oneginabina New commenter

    Thanks Isalter! I wasn't sure if it would be looked upon badly if I were asked about the salary and benefits. I don't want it to look like my soul reason for going out there is a financial one. Although I can't deny that factor is attractive, my main purpose is to experience new things and career development.
     
  5. I 've been told the following;
    Pro's -
    Can be very cheap if you live "Locally"
    Can save significantly - 50% of salary for a good lifestyle (as Isalter mentions)/ or use to cover existing commitments depending on the size of these.
    Western restaurants and pubs available
    Interesting culture
    Easy commute to HK and a foothold for travelling in China
    Great for that age kids to be exposed to Mandarin
    Very cheap domestic help - (IEs) - if this appeals

    Cons
    Pollution - nowhere need at Beijing level but can be bad
    Husband may well get very bored, very quickly
    Chinese language can be frustrating / v. difficult to learn (possibly less so for you with a language background)
    Less cosmopolitan than the Big 3 Chinese cities (BJ, SH and HK - if you count HK)

    Other Questions:
    Medical will cover your family, travel alllowance over 1000+GBP a year for adults and 500+GBP for students.
    The school does pay Social security and taxes and will give you a NETT and a Gross figure if asked. (This is an important Q. to ask in China).
    From what I hear about Guangzhou and what you have said about your situation (Non-working spouse, and, it appears from the questions you ask, a first international posting) I would say that you should think very carefully before making this commitment.
    I Hope this helps (and doesn't sound too patronising[​IMG]
     
  6. Oneginabina

    Oneginabina New commenter

    Thank you spot the ball, you are right in thinking this would be my first international post. I assume it would be impossible for husband to get a work permit and a job?
     
  7. I'm not sure what the rules are for work visas. He would be included as a dependent on yours but not sure where this would leave him regarding legal work. There would be no employment chances in the field that you mentioned earlier. Could he complete a TEFL as I believe there are a number of language school possibilities.
     
  8. HI,

    I have been living in Guangzhou for three years. I know the British School well. It would be a safe choice both financially and professionally. GZ is an easy city to live in. Pollution is not as bad as people speculate. If you live in the city there is plenty to do socially. China is a very relaxed place, don't be fooled by Western media coverage. Tax is approx 15%. I imagine you would clear at the very least 2000 pounds per month after tax, cost of living in cheap. A good and often under-rated choice for an international posting. You usually get one return flight per year to your home and medical coverage for dependents.
     
  9. Oneginabina

    Oneginabina New commenter

  10. £2500+ Nett at OGB stated school . That's after the SS repayments referred to in a city free post earlier. Advice to any people applying to China - check companies Social security payment policy.
     

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