Accommodation will work one of two ways; either a school will provide basic accommodation for you, or you will be given a housing allowance on top of your salary and the school will assist you in finding an apartment that you are happy with.
Accommodation provided by the school
Accommodation provided by a school will be basic, but comfortable. It will include all the basics such as a bed, TV, basic kitchen appliances and air-con, however you may need to buy additional home comforts. You’ll be responsible for utilities bills, which typically total around RMB400 a month.
Sometimes accommodation will be shared with another teacher, sometimes teachers are given their own apartment. If you have a preference then we suggest you make the school aware of this before signing a contract. If it’s your first time in China then we suggest you at least consider sharing an apartment as your flatmate may become a friend, and someone to advise and look out for you!
You can move in as soon as you arrive to begin work and your apartment will be located in close proximity, usually a short walk, to the school in which you work.
Many schools will also give you the option of renting your own housing if you would prefer not to share with another teacher, or would prefer to choose your own accommodation. The school will pay you a monthly allowance on top of your salary (roughly around half of the local rate for a monthly rent, or between RMB1000- 1500) and you will then pay for the remainder.
We understand that the thought of finding an apartment in China is daunting. While it is true that finding a new place can be stressful, your school will help you to find your new home.
Should you choose this option please note that you will probably have to sign a 12 month housing contract. It is common to pay 2 months’ rent as a security deposit, and 2 months’ rent upfront. Prepare to bring at least £1000 with you to China for this purpose. Some schools will provide a small accommodation loan, which is paid back by taking a small amount out of your salary over a number of months.
On arrival you may need to spend a few nights in a hotel (good chain business hotels can be secured for around 130RMB/£13 a night) until you find an apartment you are happy with.
If you discuss apartment arrangements prior to accepting a job offer, the apartment you are assigned by the school should not be a total surprise, i.e., at the very least it should be clean and ready to be occupied.
However, even if your school has made a good attempt at providing you with all the necessary furnishings and kitchen supplies, as stipulated in your contract, you will most likely find at least some of them to be inadequate and may still need to buy a few things. For example, there may not be any mirrors in the entire apartment blinds and curtains could be absent or damaged, and schools will typically provide either a small wardrobe or a drawers but not both, so you may not have enough storage space for your personal belongings. Some of the kitchen items and utensils may be a little old. Your kitchen and fridge is likely to need a good scrubbing, and you’ll need to purchase small items such as towels!
Therefore, you’ll need to plan on spending some time during your first week in China going shopping for necessities and your school should be able to point you in the right direction, or provide some advice. Again, usually there will be someone working at the school who can assist you with such tasks.
Note that it’s also uncommon for apartments to have central heating, so unless the air-con machine has a heat setting you may need to arrange an electric heater during the colder months should you be living in a colder part of the country.