September 3, 2012

Many recent high school graduates or university students face the summer looking for employment, adventure and travel. The lucky ones find all three in what many young people refer to as a GAP year. They can go to China and teach English for a year.

Many Alberta students have spent a year in China and are returning home this summer after a super year in Guangdong Province in southern China.


Stephen Lindop, a retired high school principal who organizes this adventure, says "these young people come home as young, mature beyond their years, adults.

"Think about it, these young people are far from home, living in a foreign culture, having to pay bills and be responsible. They grow up, mature and return home with a new skills set that their peers will take years and decades to acquire."

The experience is built around teaching English to young Chinese students. The Canadians show up in Guangzhou and are met by Albertans who have been living there for more than a decade.

They are giving accommodations for free for the first month as they learn the theory of TESOL instruction. (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

They also receive 15 hours of survival Mandarin and weekly lessons for the rest of the year.

They are then hired by CIEO (Canadian International Education Organization) at a pay rate three times higher than the Chinese average. They live with other young people from all over the English-speaking world in subsidized housing in Western-style gated communities.

They earn their TESOL training hours while getting paid. They work 25 hours a week and fly off to Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia for long weekend breaks.


When they graduate, they receive an international TESOL certificate good anywhere in the world and a TESOL certificate good for all of China. They then get a substantial raise and live the adventure.

After their one-year contract, they are paid back for their flight to China and given a cash bonus that more than covers a ticket home. The demand for English teachers in China is huge.

For more information please contact Stephen Lindop at 780 953-5538 or at