Laowai trapped in China and trying to leave

I caught this video on Hao Hao Report. Basically, Vahram Diehla is a 23-year-old American who is pleading for some advice on how to quickly raise some money to get the hell out of China.

According to his blog he’s working up in Dalian as an English teacher, but the ESL racket has lost its luster and a woman on the other side of the ocean is pulling at his heart strings.

I caught this video on Hao Hao Report. Basically, Vahram Diehla is a 23-year-old American who is pleading for some advice on how to quickly raise some money to get the hell out of China.

According to his blog he’s working up in Dalian as an English teacher, but the ESL racket has lost its luster and a woman on the other side of the ocean is pulling at his heart strings.

***I WILL DANCE AND SING ON CAMERA FOR MONEY***
Or perform similar stupid antics, whatever gets you going.

I came to China from California to pursue an English teaching position and since being here I have realized that I am madly in love with the girl I left back home. I am looking for advice on how to make enough money (~$1000) online as soon as possible to buy a plane ticket to get back to her. All advice is welcome, please comment or message me privately if you have experience in working online.

If you have work that needs to be done that I can do remotely from here, I can receive payment via wire transfer or paypal. I am happy to hear any details, no job is too big or too small. I have written references and resume available. My skype username is daniel.leonhard

About me:
I am 23 years old, originally from San Diego but have traveled across Costa Rica and Ecuador a lot. I speak Spanish well, and am currently employed as an English teacher (it doesn’t pay very well). I am an accomplished writer, salesman, musician and music teacher (guitar, piano, string bass, ukulele, etc.). I am a highly capable young man at almost anything I put my mind to and am willing to try almost anything to make the money I need in a short amount of time. Thanks for taking the time to hear my plight.

I have a feeling that Vahram’s video is likely to elicit some cynical and jaded responses from expats that have been here for a while. Keep in mind, he’s not asking for money, just advice on how to get money (though I’m sure he’d accept donations).

To me the video is interesting as I’d bet a lot of people get stuck in Vahram’s position. I think there is a real push in the West for young people to “go out” and experience a more globalized world. We call it different things — some of us call it experience, some adventure, some individualism. It’s often a “personal” choice to do something different, but we don’t live in a world where global travel is the great unknown it once was. It’s almost commonplace and pedestrian.

But don’t get me wrong, as much as coming to China (or, indeed, much of Asia) as an ESL teacher is a well-worn path, it is an excellent way to gain a wider perspective than can be got by not going. I’m 100% for it, and I think that whatever stereotypes the ESL industry and ESL teachers in China have attached to them, it is driving a more globalized and less ignorant Western population.

But lets face it, a lot of ESL positions suck. If you come to China on the inflated promises of an ESL gig, and that job goes south, you can easily get stuck working for a language mill that holds your wages, return ticket or even passport hostage. Or, even worse, if you fell for the old “just come on an L/F visa, we’ll sort it out when you get here,” you could find yourself dumped and penniless. I’m not sure this is the situation in Vahram’s case, but it’s something I’ve heard told many times.

It’s an easy out to say that the employee should perform better due diligence before taking the gig with an unknown company, but the fact is that it would be tough to find any ESL employer that has across the board gold star employment standards. Even the largest companies/recruiters have a laundry list of complaints online.

The absolute only guaranteed protection an ESL teacher can have taking a job in China is to have an independent exit strategy. Most long-term ESL contracts come with the promise of a flight home, but it’s not uncommon for the contract to be broken (by either party) and that ticket to remain in the ether. My advice for any ESL teachers yet to come, save for an extra couple months before you come and make sure you have your own ticket home (and negotiate with the ESL school to get your flight home ticket in the form of a monetary bonus).

As for Vahram, a $1000 in a month online isn’t that much, but you need some online skills. Most everyone can write, most can’t get paid for it. If that is your only Internet-applicable skill, you’ll need to dig deep or look elsewhere. I would be looking at ways to teach ESL online, and if that fails, start answering surveys or mining for WOW gold.

Really your best chance of making the money is picking up as many part-time tutoring/subbing jobs for ESL. Most pay 100-200RMB/hour and if you’re only goal is to get home and not be Mr. Social for the next month, you can easily hit your target.

Other suggestions for Vahram? Leave them below, or on the Youtube video page.