Whitman in China Teaching Program
Whitman in China English teaching 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.
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 (varies by university)
- 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 $3,000) for required TESL Certification course and optional Chinese language courses taken the summer prior to departure
- Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an
- Yunnan University in Kunming
- Mid or late August through early July (dates vary by university)
Predeparture Teacher Training and Orientation
- 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 course.
Candidates offered a position will be placed at a university by the Whitman in China Steering Committee.
- Susan Holme, Director of Off-Campus Studies
- Chas McKhann, Professor of Anthropology
- Donghui He, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages & Literatures - Chinese
- Johanna Stoberock, Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of English & General Studies
- 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 may apply
- Chinese language skills are not required; however, a minimum of one year of Chinese language study is recommended
- 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.
How to apply
To apply for the Whitman in China Teaching Program, you will need to submit the materials below. Please note that your application will not be reviewed until we have received all of these materials.
- Whitman in China Application (forthcoming)
- 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.)
Submit Application Materials to:
- Laura Cummings
345 Boyer Avenue
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Direct Questions to:
- Susan Holme
- 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 Teacher Training to be held in the spring 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.
- Conditions in China, physical environment and infrastructure, 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.
"For those of you interested in teaching, really teaching, at a college level with bright motivated students, the ability to shape your own curriculum, and one of the steepest learning curves you will ever encounter, this is the program for you. It’s not easy, but then again the most rewarding things rarely are." - Sam Jacobson '17, WIC 2017-18, 2018-19
"I'm glad I never studied abroad in college because that pushed me to apply for Whitman in China. Spending a year living and working in China was a paradox: nothing that I expected while being everything I hoped it would be. I've developed my professional skills and confidence, gotten my head pulled out of the American cultural sand, been pushed to become more adventurous, and learned the joys of independent travel. Most importantly, the year gave me space and time to think about what directions I want my life to take. Right now, that happens to be stay for another year in Xi'an and keep teaching!" - Henry Allen '15, WIC 2016-17, 2017-18
"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." - 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