I'm new to this, so wondering if anyone can give me a few pointers about living in Beijing. I've accepted a job teaching English at a university there. Has anyone else done something similar and have any useful information/things to be aware of? Unfortunately, although I'm of oriental descent, I can't speak Mandarin Chinese, so will probably run into a few problems...
How exciting it must be for you. I was teaching English in southern China (Shaoxing) in 2008 and hope to go back next year. The best advice is to visit www.teachabroadchina.com and join the network of foreign teachers on the site. There are foreign teachers - mostly English teachers - from all around the world and some in Beijing, so there will be a lot of information and support for you.
There are many websites with information and advice - some linked from the above site, but have a look around on the Internet.
Enjoy your time in China. It is awesome!
Beijing is a good place to start your ESL teaching career. There are lots of foreigners, and all the amenities. As long as you have other foreign teachers at your university, who are friendly, you should have no problem, even though you don't speak Chinese. Of course, if you look Chinese, everyone will assume you speak the language (and won't understand why you don't). You may also face some discrimination, as most places that hire foreign English teachers are really just looking for a white face (the students won't believe you are really a native speaker of English). On the plus side, you're less likely to get ripped-off at the markets.
Enjoy your experience!
Thanks for your help, most useful!