My salary in global perspective

My salary in global perspective
JISHOU, HUNAN — No one ever said teachers will be rich, and that’s even more true for a teacher in China. Even more so for we foreign teachers, who get pay one (or 1.5) order of magnitude less than our American counterparts in dollars. But, as you can see from the graphic above, courtesy of the BBC Weekend Magazine, my monthly pay is quite a bit above the Chinese average, but still $422 below the world average. If I include an estimate for my housing and utilities, which the university pays for me, my salary becomes almost three times the Chinese average and within $200 of the world average. But, as you can see from the chart, no matter how you slice it, my salary (without adding in free rent) is about a third of the American average of $3,263. Blindly applying exchange rates doesn’t explain my situation, however. If you’re wondering how 4,400 RMB can be $1,058 when the exchange rate is about 6.35 RMB to the dollar, consider the buying power of 1 RMB (1 yuan) in China. The International Labour Organization calculates the bar chart using the Purchasing Power Parity dollar, a monetary unit adjusted for local ...

Put another nickel in the nickelodeon 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — So, I’m staying another year here. As it was last year, the decision was an easy one to make. Logically speaking, it doesn’t make too much sense. Jishou is a small city, with few (Western-style) amenities. It takes at least two hours to get to the nearest airport. And Jishou University is an also-ran in the rankings of China’s institutions of higher learning. My friends in bigger cities in China have encouraged me to look elsewhere for teaching jobs in China. One said, “The pay will be better, and the students will be more excellent.” Yes, and no. No question about the pay. If I moved to Beijing, or even Changsha, I could probably double my pay pretty easily. Of course, my expenses would also increase, and I’d have the hassles of dealing with big-city life. (Changsha has 5 million people. Beijing has 22 million, making NYC look like a small town.) Big cities have higher costs of living, so it’s questionable whether moving would increase my net income to make moving worth it. I’ve lived in small cities for the last 32 years, two that were minuscule (60,000 population each), one just a bit bigger than ...
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