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Now I'm getting excited!

CHINA | Saturday, 12 March 2011 | Views [2908] | Comments [2]

Hello world!

I am so pumped to be writing today.  This time it is for an entirely different reason.  I have spent the last 4 days hardly leaving our little apartment…I know, can’t you see why I’m so excited? Reason being is I’ve been attached to my computer creating Sophia and I’s new company…Teaching Nomad!! Like the name? catchy I know. Just to make sure World Nomads doesn’t feel left out, I have applied to them for an affiliate account (BTW, we are now ranked as the #5 writer on World Nomads).  Teaching Nomad is a teacher placement company focused on bringing quality teachers to quality schools right here in China. I guess you could say our niche is being focused solely on China. All the recruiters I have found are spread across many countries. We have so many reasons for putting this all together and many are related to our experiences in the short time we have been living here…so I’ll try to interweave them for you.

(picture from mountain biking trip I took last weekend...very cool, only crashed once)

I guess I didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived…I had been told that Shanghai had a well developed expat community but I never expected it to be SO well developed. I started looking around and I’m seeing Americans, Europeans and Australians all over the place.  I believe it was our 3rd day here and we found ourselves in an English language improve show in what I like to call “America town”.  The place was packed full of all sorts of English speaking people, even Asian-Americans which gets even more confusing.  It’s not actually called America town, it’s actually called the French Concession.  If you go here, you won’t have to worry about ordering food in Chinese or whether or not the bartender will understand what kind of beer you want.

Then, as we meet more and more people (the Expats are super, super friendly) I discover that no one I meet is leaving. Everyone is either taking a new job with higher pay, moving to a different part of the country or getting promoted within their company. At this point I’m starting feel like it’s the 1920’s in America…you know, people looking for opportunity.  I’m no economist but I don’t think the economic recession has affected people here the same way.  The outlook from the locals I talk to is that it’s easy to get a job, the value of their house is going up and their children have a bright future ahead of them.  Now wait, I’m not telling you to jump ship, every country/economy has its day and with hard work and some changes in America things will improve there as well. But back to China, I’ve been hearing on the news about how China can sustain their growth, it says they must shift their economy from one that relies on manufacturing and exports to one more like the US that relies on consumerism…I believe I read that the average Chinese family actually saves 6% of their income, while the average American family spends more than they make. To buy a house here, you have to put down a minimum of 20% (rare) to usually 50%.  Hearing this information about the consumerism before we left, I was totally blown away to see how much shopping there is here! Absolutely incredible! In some parts of town, every block has 4-6 story mall on it. Block after block after block. Some malls are just electronics; right by our apartment is the Metro City mall, 5 stories of electronics and 1 story of a fitness center. Others are all clothes…and clothes are the deal here, quality manufacturing of Chinese brands and sold for cheap.

(One of Shanghai's malls. The largest mall in the city is 13floors & 250K sq.ft.)

Speaking of these Chinese brands, these guys copy anything and everything; they make copies of copied Iphones…seriously. You can buy software like windows 7, Office 2010, etc for 8RMB (6.5RMP = $1), games for the wii for 5RMB, blue ray movies in the case for 20RMB…it’s never ending…how about new North face coat for 150RMB? I’m not advocating the purchase of black market goods, but good luck trying to find the real thing? Not happening.  The things you can find originals of are brand name electronics like real iphones, laptops, tv’s, etc and these are not a great deal, prices are fixed somehow and even though it’s all made here the prices are the same or even higher than you would pay in the US. Sometimes you can get a better deal on a computer primarily because it’s running a stolen copy of windows. Rumor has it that Hong Kong is the place to go for deals on these brand name electronics…something about no tax.  I’ll keep you posted, my tourist visa will run out around mid April and I will have take an overnight trip to Hong Kong to renew it…maybe by then I can afford that new DSLR…hehehe.

So, back to the recruiting business, just in China, the English language industry generates over $2billion USD/year and growing rapidly…many schools are opening centers by the dozen and all need teachers. The teachers get paid more around here than many other positions (how’s that for strange)…I was offered a position as Sales manager for an Export company, they told me it would take at least a year and a half with the company to get to the income that Sophia makes as a teacher (classroom time of less than 20hrs/week).  The average income of all people in Shanghai last year was 3,000RMB/month. Not including bonuses, airfare, insurance, etc…Sophia makes 14,800RMB/month. Granted, Disney is one of the higher paying schools, but many others are at the same level, close or even pay more.  That means that teachers here are able to afford their own apartment, housekeeper, eating out and still save a portion of their check each month. They can use that money to pay off school loans, credit cards or build savings for the future. We met people while traveling in South America that in one year teaching abroad had saved $5K-$8K.  So, if you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited and will continue working non-stop to make this happen…except for a short break to attend the Sinopec Formula 1 Grand Prix on April, 17th which I just purchased a ticket to…sorry to all you American racing fans that have no access to the fastest cars in the world…I will make sure to take pictures…J

Feel free to check out the site for the new company www.teachingnomad.com  any suggestions/criticisms are certainly welcome as are your referrals for anyone interested in this exciting industry.

Until next time…take care and Zi Jian (Mandarin for good-bye)


Tags: esl teaching, teaching abroad, teaching english, teaching english in china, teaching in china, teachingnomad.com




Great blog! So fun following your progress in Shanghai.
I can feel your excitement for the new business...it sounds like it has alot of potential and look forward to watching it grow!
The pictures are awesome, the malls.....unreal.
Looking forward to Skyping!
Love, Mom

  Gay Mar 14, 2011 2:32 AM


You guys are having so much fun, I jealous, but I'm proud of you, both. Brett, that sounds like a great business to get started. I'm worried you guys will never come home, but a vagabond life is an interesting life. Sophia, as I'm writing this your mom is trying to buy TWO lots in east Austin, and she's on the phone right now to her realtor, the City of Austin, an appraiser, and god knows who else.. It's never boring back here... A relaxing Spring Break is for losers....

Love you guys,


  Don Ruisinger Mar 16, 2011 7:38 AM

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