Sunday, July 16, 2006

China Summer Vacation: it's here sort of

China's school calendar is quite different from in the States. They have two vacation times, one is in the winter, well they call it spring, during the New year or Spring Festival, the other is during the summer time. However, that doesn't mean the children will be taking a break. What I mean is, this is a time for more classes. So for someone like me who is teaching their own classes it means more work and more income.

It's always a challenge to get the schedule to be suitable for all the students parents but most want at least double the classes that they have for their kids. So from the second week of July until near September most private schools will have a busy schedule. This solves one problem that most private schools have and that is utilizing the space at the school during the monday to friday period. Most teachers at a private school have a very heavy schedule on the weekends, and only the better schools can make enough connections to place their teachers into the universities or other public schools, although this can be a major source of the schools income. Being a one man show at my school it's a bit different but it is a time when I can basically double my income for a month, both in the summer and in the winter. It does mean that it is difficult to travel as these times are when many teachers and Chinese family do travel.

Chinese workers don't really earn vacation status like in the states. There are national holidays so most everyone is off of work at Spring Festival and they may or may not receive full pay. There are really quite a few holidays so most people get about 3 weeks during the year when they and their fellow workers on at home or traveling. It does make for a challenging travel scenario as so many are traveling at the same time. Some private schools will give you a week of paid vacations and you should always try to have national holidays paid with your regular salary. If you are at a university you usually will be offered a travel stipend of between 1-2 thousand yuan. That will cover your travel by train but not much more, so save your money if you want to have more of a fling during these times.

I never thought of myself as a workaholic, but I have usually ended up working during the breaks to bring in a little more income. When I was teaching at my first school here in Harbin I did some traveling. I would say to have a good time and a decent hotel you may need your entire months salary, unless you are willing to stay at the cheap hotels which may not be to your liking. In most places 30-40 dollars will be charged for hotels. So around 3-4 hundred yuan. That adds up quickly so ask around or search the web for a decent hotel that has resonable prices. For example, when I traveled to Nanning my first night was at a 4 star hotel and it was quite nice, as it should be, but at nearly 500 rmb per night I would not have the cash to do other things, and who wants to spend all their money on a place to sleep? The next day I found one for only 150 rmb, one third the price with everything I needed. A clean room, a TV and a good bathroom, it also had breakfast included, a restaurant on the first floor, and they were able to book my return flight. Perhaps in the future if I make it big I will opt for the nicer hotels again, but I'd rather spend that money away from the hotel doing interesting thing and seeing the city I am in.
Larry Rhoe aka worldtour

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4 Comments:

At 4:46 PM, Blogger lonelyangel said...

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