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Where are the best places for teaching English in China?
- If you are thinking about joining the tens of thousands of people already working as ESL teachers in China, one of the first decisions to make is which location in this vast country would suit you best. Although it is possible to find jobs off the beaten track, the vast majority of positions are located in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. However, as there are more than 150 other cities with a population of over one million people, there are plenty of options for you to consider.
- With a population of over 20 million, the vast city of Shanghai offers countless opportunities for ESL teachers, particularly in the field of business English. As it has such a large job market and offers very competitive salaries, Shanghai is one of the most popular destinations in the whole of Asia. Its popularity with foreign visitors can be seen in the cosmopolitan makeup of the city?s residents, and the variety of cuisine and other entertainment on offer both day and night. For many teachers the hustle and bustle of a major world city can be exciting and full of opportunity, while for others it can be totally overwhelming. Love it or hate it, Shanghai is hard to ignore.
- Almost as vast in size as Shanghai, the capital city Beijing is another major international city that has endless potential for foreign teachers. Newly qualified teachers with no previous experience will find plenty of options among the city's countless number of language schools, while those with experience will find a variety of well paid jobs in schools, universities, and private businesses. As the city is home to Standard Mandarin which is the official national language it is the perfect location for learning Chinese, and many employers even offer lessons as part of a teacher's package. There are also plenty of fascinating sites to explore, from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall.
- In less than twenty years Shenzhen has grown from a small market town into a huge city with a population in excess of 10 million. Its great location in the south of the country, just a short ferry ride from the bright lights of Hong Kong, makes it a very popular destination for ESL teachers. With a subtropical climate and plenty of bars, restaurants, and world-class shopping, you will never be short of things to do in your free time. The local job market is equally favorable, with a wide variety of potential employers including language academies, kindergartens, and international schools that offer very competitive salaries.
- As the capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu is home to a spicy cuisine that is famous throughout the world. However, it is not just the delicious local food that draws a large number of teachers here every year. Although it has a population of around 10 million, Chengdu enjoys a more relaxed and slower pace of life than Shanghai and Beijing. The cost of living is also considerably less than the east coast cities which increases the potential to save a significant portion of your salary every month. With 80% of the world's remaining giant pandas located in the Sichuan region, animal lovers are sure to enjoy their stay in Chengdu.
- Known as one of the four ancient capitals of China, the city of Nanjing is an important center for Chinese culture that is famous for its historic buildings and monuments. Located just to the north of Shanghai, the city is relatively small in comparison with its neighbor and home to a wide variety of beautiful parks and gardens, scenic lakes, and rugged mountains. Although there are fewer jobs available than in the bigger cities, demand is still strong enough to virtually guarantee quick employment. Once again, the cost of living is much less than in the mega-cities so your salary will go that much further.
- Also located within a short trip of Shanghai, Hangzhou is a modern prosperous city that is famous for its stunning natural beauty. Boasting a huge number of historic, cultural, and scenic features, West Lake is the city's best known attraction. This UNESCO World Heritage Site provides the perfect location for exploring China?s unique identity, or for simply relaxing during your time away from the classroom. Teaching jobs are generally well paid and easy to find in this pleasant and picturesque city.
- If you are a fan of the great outdoors and enjoy hiking, biking, or simply relaxing surrounded by a beautifully scenic environment, then the city of Guilin might be the perfect location for you. The city enjoys a subtropical climate and good transport links which makes it a great base for exploring this fascinating region at any time of the year. As it is relatively small by Chinese standards, Guilin doesn't have the huge job market that is common in bigger cities, however, the market is still healthy and competition for jobs is much lower than elsewhere.
- Tucked away in the far northeastern corner of the country, the city of Harbin is a truly unique destination for teaching English in China. Known as the "Ice City" due to its freezing cold winters, Harbin offers a variety of jobs and a small yet welcoming expat community that consists of teachers from all over the world. If you don?t mind the chill, the annual ice and snow sculpture festival has become internationally renowned and is well worth a visit.
Known as the "Spring City" due to its year-round pleasant climate, Kunming is an important regional hub and a popular tourist destination in its own right. The surrounding area has plenty of stunning scenery to enjoy in your free time, while within the city you will find a great mix of cultural attractions and modern entertainment. Many teachers are drawn to Kunming as it offers a far more authentic Chinese experience than is typically found in more popular cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.