Whitman in China Teaching Program

"The WIC program was fundamental to setting the foundation and initial direction for much of my professional and personal life thereafter." Matt Van Osdol '04, WIC 2004-05

"Teaching at Shantou University was the perfect thing to do right after graduating from Whitman, because I was still in an academic setting but on the other end of it, and got to collaborate with tons of faculty and staff from all over the world." Cindy Chen '12, WIC 2012-13

Job Description

Whitman in China English teaching and intern positions last one academic year beginning in late August and ending by mid-July. Typically WIC teachers are assigned to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in English conversation, writing, American culture, English literature, or business English. The teaching load is 12-16 class hours per week. At Shantou University the English interns are expected to assist with English-language activities, such as a speech contest or English Corner, but do not have a full teaching load.

The compensation, provided by the Chinese university and Whitman College, includes the following:

  • Monthly salary to cover basic living expenses in China 
  • Apartment on campus or housing stipend (Yunnan only)
  • Roundtrip international airfare stipend for travel from the U.S. to China
  • Visa and travel stipend to help cover expenses such as immunizations, visa fees, medical exam, and hotels in transit
  • International health insurance for year in China
  • Three-day teacher training (mandatory) prior to departure
  • Tuition reimbursement (up to $2,000) for required TESL Certification course and optional Chinese language courses taken the summer prior to departure

University Placements

The Whitman in China Program offers positions at three universities in China:

Each location has a distinct regional flavor. Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in southwest China, is a city undergoing rapid modernization in a province known for its ethnic diversity and scenery. Shantou is a medium-size port city located on the east coast of Guangdong province near Hong Kong. And Xi'an, located in Shaanxi Province, was the Chinese capital for centuries and boasts many important historical sights such as the Terracotta Warriors.

Candidates offered a position will be placed at a university by the Whitman in China Steering Committee. 

  • Charles 'Chas' McKhann, Professor of Anthropology, Chair
  • Donghui He, Asst Professor of Foreign Languages & Literatures - Chinese
  • Susan Holme, Director of Off-Campus Studies
  • Johanna Stoberock, Adjunct Assistant Professor of English

Predeparture Teacher Training and Orientation

The Whitman in China program prepares China-bound teachers through the following predeparture activities:

  • Three day WIC Teacher Training on Whitman's Campus in the spring.
  • On-line TEFL Certification Program
  • Tuition reimbursement for Chinese Language courses and/or Teaching English as a
    Second Language courses.

Conditions in China

The physical environment and infrastructure in China are different from that of the United States. Some medical and other resources commonly available in the United States may not be available in China. Moreover, the conditions in some parts of China, such as air pollution, may exacerbate some medical conditions. If you have a special need such as a physical disability, chronic medical condition or dietary restriction, we suggest you consult with the Off-Campus Studies Office staff early in the planning process so that you will be fully informed of the conditions in China and the resources available to you there.

Eligibility

  • Candidates must be Whitman College alumni and U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents (green card holder) and possess native-speaker English language abilities.
  • Alumni with degrees in any major including the sciences may apply.
  • A minimum of one year of Chinese language study is recommended but not required.
  • The Chinese universities prefer candidates who have had some teaching experience (even informal teaching is helpful) and/or coursework in how to teach English. A background in literature or other foreign languages is also beneficial.
  • Successful candidates will demonstrate a commitment to teaching university-level English, maturity, flexibility, and a willingness to live in conditions that are different from those in the United States.

Application Materials

  • Whitman in China Application (CLICK HERE TO UPLOAD)
  • Statement of Purpose (maximum 3 pages)
  • Two Letters of Reference - One letter must be from a former employer or supervisor and one letter from a Whitman faculty member.
  • One-Page Resume - This should include your education, your employment history, any paid or volunteer teaching experience, and any other information that will help the Whitman in China Steering Committee and the Chinese university officials get to know you better.
  • One recent ID photo (2 x 3) of yourself.
  • Legible copy of the photo page of your passport.
  • Copy of your Whitman Diploma. (Current seniors may submit diploma copy in late May.)

Deadline: November 10, 2014

Submit Application to:
Laura Cummings, Off-Campus Studies, Whitman College,
345 Boyer Avenue, Walla Walla, WA 99362, CUMMINLL@whitman.edu

Direct program questions to:
Susan Holme, Director, Off-Campus Studies, HOLMESL@whitman.edu, 509-527-5790

Interviews will be held in the middle of December and notification of selection will be made in January.

Successful applicants are required to attend a three-day Whitman in China Teachers' Training to be held in March or April at Whitman College. In addition, all participants will be required to enroll in a TEFL Certification course (either on-line or in person) in the summer prior to departure for China in order to obtain their Chinese work visa.

All files are in the Portable Document Format (PDF). If you have trouble opening them, try Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Reflections from Alumni

"I have great memories of the energy that comes from teaching a fresh group of eager, inquisitive, and idealistic students. I also greatly appreciated the opportunities I had to read student essays and feel like I had 30-40 separate windows from which to understand a new culture. Some of my best memories are of time spent outside the classroom--spending lazy evenings swimming in the giant reservoir near the school and having late night dinners just outside the university gates. The WIC program was fundamental to setting the foundation and initial direction for much of my professional and personal life thereafter. I remained in China for a total of seven years after the program during which I got married, began a career doing business in China and had the opportunity to see many parts of an incredible country.   I would absolutely recommend the program to other students. If there is one place right now where change is happening on a scale unmatched in the rest of the world, that place is China. I can't imagine a better place to begin an adventure/career/relationship with the rest of the world." - Matt Van Osdol ' 04, WIC 2004-05

"Having previously studied abroad in China, I wanted to come back and work in order to gain a different perspective of life in China beyond the exchange student experience. Teaching at Shantou University gave me that experience, and it really was the perfect thing to do right after graduating from Whitman, because I was still in an academic setting but on the other end of it, and got to collaborate with tons of faculty and staff from all over the world, and learn from all of their experiences, many of whom did not start out in the TEFL field! It was truly a great environment to work in and a great position as a recent grad to bond with my students, who taught me a lot about modern Chinese culture and society that I could never have gotten solely from books or the news. My students were bright, respectful (if sometimes not the most studious), and always inquisitive - which made it really rewarding to teach them as a first year teacher. Being given the opportunity by Whitman to have such a unique experience that brought me into contact with so many different people, and the chance to travel all over China (and Southeast Asia!) was truly something very special."  - Cindy Chen '12, WIC  2012-13

"Today I experienced the most rewarding part of this job.  After completing a year of teaching, I am now in my final few days in Xi'an.  Three of my students called me and said that they were on campus and wanted to treat me to lunch.  The three of us went out to one of my favorite local restaurants and spent the afternoon talking in both Chinese and English.  It was at this lunch that I realized that I not only had 250 students to teach English, but I also had made 250 new friends over the past year, and every single one of them had something unique to teach me. To be perfectly honest, living in China hasn't changed my future aspirations at all. The one thing that I have learned though is that I really want to learn Chinese.  I'm positive that I will never be perfect, and I will forever be a Waiguoren (foreigner) bastardizing their language, but if I keep studying then one day I may get close. Put a lot of effort into lesson plans. I talk to a lot of teachers here in Xi'an.  The teachers who are lazy and don't put in any effort are constantly complaining about their classes and hate their job. The teachers who put a lot of effort into their classes more or less enjoy their job.  So, basic rule, you get out of your experience here what you put into it. "If you are considering this program, I would recommend it!"  - Mitch Dunn ' 13, WIC, 2013-14

 "Many of the best memories involve spending time with friends I made at Yunnan University, in particular the group of young teachers in the Foreign Language Department, including Zhao Wencui. I have fond memories of a pack of us biking out to Lake Dian for the day, followed by a jiaozi (dumpling) party at the home of one of the teachers. The year I taught ('88-'89) the foreign teachers and experts hosted a Thanksgiving dinner to which we invited a number of Yunnan University faculty connected with the Whitman-in-China program. The foreigners brought side dishes, while the guesthouse kitchen staff prepared a turkey Chinese-style, chopped up in small pieces with the head displayed in the center of the platter. I made mashed potatoes for about twenty-five people which I mashed with a fork and kept warm on top of my space heater."

"The program profoundly changed my career goals and life direction. I had long known I wanted to get a Ph.D. and teach political science at the college level, but I had never expected to focus on Chinese politics, nor be fluent in Chinese and return regularly to conduct research and attend conferences there. I've probably spent about five years of my life in China, including that first year in Yunnan. It is a truly rewarding challenge, one that will open up doors and create opportunities you cannot conceive of before you go. You learn a lot about yourself there - about your ability to tolerate frustration and loneliness, to maintain good humor and good manners regardless of the bureaucratic obstacles you encounter, and to come up with new and exciting ways to teach English conversation. While the experience is sometimes trying, it is also great fun. Every day and practically every encounter is an adventure, if only because of the language barrier. The opportunity to travel and immerse yourself in the culture is priceless, especially if you are (as I was) a recent college graduate with no money and a severe case of wanderlust." - Susan McCarthy '88, WIC 1988-89