Teaching in China is a great experience and it offers the individual a lot of free time to live life as you wish. Most teaching positions only require only around 14-18 hours of class a week. Many people will take that time to learn a new skill while others will just enjoy a very relaxed life-style. Every job offers a free apartment with all the amenities. (T.V., Hot shower, Refrigerator, Kitchen, High Speed Internet access etc,,,) Most schools will pay for all your bills.
There are a numerous amount of possible teaching jobs available: University, College, Training Institutes, Language schools, High Schools, Middle Schools, Elementary, Kindergarten and even Pre-School. All the pay is different according to what positon you want and the amount of hours you work a week. Depending on your teaching postition there is a variety of class sizes and ages. Most of the time schools do not provide a curriculum. Many people find this a relief because they can create their own lesson plans. As long as the lessons do not offend or speak badly about the Communist party anything goes. Other teachers will prefer to have a curriculum and that can be arranged by the school. Also, China celebrates 2 one week long holidays and 1 two week long holiday which is considered paid vacation. This is a great time to go travel.
Making friends in China will be extremely easy. Not only will you be able to make friends with other teachers from all over the world; you will make new Chinese friends instantly. Being a teacher in China from America gives you celebrity status from the moment you arrive. When teaching in China you will be given the title of "Foreign Expert". You will have documentation that declares you an expert living in China. This is well respected among people in Chinese society. Your visa will be changed into a Residence Permit by the school. This allows you to travel to and from China freely.
The cost of living in China is amazingly cheap. You can get a belly filling meal for under a dollar. For the people who like to cook living in China is even cheaper. A chicken breast is about twenty-five cents and a tomato costs about a nickle. There are also fast food places everywhere like McDonalds and KFC. You will find that the prices for fast food are a bit cheaper than in the States. For you pizza lovers out there: There are plenty of Pizza Huts in all major cities.
Contrary to popular belief China does not appear to be a poor country. China has 6 of the world's top ten tallest buildings. http://www.skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/?1241105. Everywhere you look you see BMW's, Mercedes Bens and a never ending sea of Volkswagens. When you leave the city you will see some very poor people in the countryside but it is these areas that you will see some of the most beautiful scenery that world has to offer. China is a Communist country, but it still has thriving market places. Everything can be bargained for!
Public transportation is very cheap and efficient. Some of the major cities even have subways. To travel in China is also very cheap. To take a train from Beijing to Tibet which could be compaired to a train from New York to Los Angeles will only cost around sixty-five dollars. Also, to fly from one destination to another in China is more than half off of what the cost is in the States. Standard hotels are also very affordable.
China is full of Discos, Bars and Cafes. There are plenty of places to shop and eat great food. To buy a DVD of a recently released movie is around sixty-five cents. Every super market has a wide selection of wine and beer. Most people are not fans of Chinese wine but everyone enjoys the low price of the beer. Most beer is less that twenty cents for a big bottle. In the countryside a bottle of beer might cost less that ten cents.
Now for some of the down sides of China. The language is very difficult. While you will be able to learn what you need to survive in the first week but don't plan on having any great conversations in Chinese. Chinese logic is very different from American logic. Many things that the Chinese do will just not make any sense at all. Be prepared for a completely different culture than you own.
Most Chinese have a stereotype of all foreigners, as being very rich. I know that there could be worse stereotypes to have, but it becomes uncomfortable to always be told a higher price for the things you want to buy. You can always barter a price down.
China might be the safest country in the world. There are very few violent crimes. The most you need to worry about is pick-pockets. China is a very diverse country and will be able to offer something different to everyone. If you come to China you will have a great life experience.