TEACH ENGLISH ABROAD: Read up On My amazing adventures as an ESL Teacher in South Korea & China For Over 5 Years!
Thinking of teaching English in China but aren't sure about which city is the right place for you to live and work in? Well, check out my list of the 15 most popular cities to teach English in while in China.
Ever take a look at the picturesque natural scenery etched onto the back of a 20RMB note? Well, that's Guilin for ya'. Lush green karsts hills, long stretches of beautiful rivers, and rich culture brimming from an ethnic minority. Guilin is the place to be if you absolutely love nature and want to stay away from the city life as much as possible.
Changsha is a modern Chinese city with a long and rich history. It's also best known for hosting President Mao Zedong for a few years during his youth. He adored parts of the city so much that he wrote a poem—aptly entitled "Changsha"—to praise what he saw. As one of China's most revered historical figures, no wonder there's a giant head statue dedicated to Mao Zedong in the middle of the city.
Tianjin, China's fourth largest city in terms of urban population, is located in the North and is but a 40-minute train ride from Beijing. It's a very developed city and is home to a number of different architectural styles. Even if you don't live there, the cityscape alone is worth the visit.
Chongqing is one of China's most beautiful cities. I'd like to think of it as the San Francisco of the East. Towering skyscrapers, small hills, Yangtze River, mouthwatering hotpot, night markets; you just can't go wrong!
Xi'an is home to the Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty. It's a renowned Chinese city brimming with cultural and historical relics, which means it's also one of China's most popular tourist destinations. Expect large crowds and loud noises at every turn, but hey, that's most cities in China anyway.
Changzhou is one of the most developed cities in China's Jiangsu Province, and reportedly one of the best places to do business in the country. The city also sits 1-1.5 hours away from both Shanghai and Nanjing via high-speed train. Some popular destinations to visit are Tianning Temple and Changzhou Dinosaur Park.
Wuxi is a popular cultural and historical city of Jiangsu Province. It's also equipped with a bustling downtown area that's riddled with towering skyscrapers. What's more, Wuxi is famous for its natural scenic areas that include Lake Taihu and Lingshan Mountain.
Nanjing is the prominent capital city of China's Jiangsu Province. Having served as the capital for many Chinese dynasties, it's riddled with cultural and historical sites, museums, and universities. It also boasts a handful of beautiful lakes and mountainside scenery that bring in a lot of tourism.
Suzhou is renown as the Venice of the East. Parts of the city are riddled with canals, temples, pagodas, and traditional Chinese parks, while the other consists of a blossoming commercial business district. If you're looking to stay close to Shanghai ( a 30-minute train ride) and live in a city with a good mix of rural and downtown city life, Suzhou is your best bet.
Hangzhou is the sprawling capital of Zhejiang Province that's ranked as one of China's most beautiful cities. It's most popular tourist destination, West Lake, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There have been reports that Marco Polo himself once passed through and admired the city's beauty, so take that for what it's worth.
China's paradise on Earth. Beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, lush hills, tropical weather; no wonder it's a popular location for locals to spend their honeymoon. If you want to stick to the beach and nature, Sanya is the best destination around.
Like Sanya, Xiamen is famous for its beaches, countryside, parks, and tropical weather. It's also renown for its mouthwatering seafood, colonial architecture, universities, and temples. Take all that and you've not only got one of China's most romantic cities, but also one of it's most suitable to live in.
Shenzhen is a popular Chinese city that's experiencing rapid economic growth. It's loaded with skyscrapers, theme parks, and beautiful green hills. Although it gets incredibly hot and humid during the summer, the cool part is that it's directly connected to Hong Kong, meaning that you'd have the best of both worlds right at your fingertips at anytime!
Guangzhou belongs to Guangdong, which is China's most populous province. It may have a bad rep amongst locals for its large influx of immigrants, but having personally visited Guangzhou, I'd say that it is one of China's most beautiful cities, especially the downtown area near the Pearl River and Canton Tower.
Chengdu is infamous for its pandas, spicy food, the world's largest building, Leshan’s giant sitting buddha, and proximity to Tibet. It's a very spread out city that boasts a number of fun attractions in and around the city. What's more, it's equipped with a considerably large expat community that tends to argue that the city's slower pace of life makes it one of the best Chinese cities to live in.
Everybody's heard of Beijing; after all, it's surely China's most well known city. The northern capitol city is home to China's government and political institutions, military parades, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Zhongguancun (the Silicon Valley of China), and of course, the Great Wall. It is China's second most populous city and arguably the most popular city for tourism. As a major political, cultural, socio-economical, and educational hub of China, expect stricter requirements and qualifications for teaching English in Beijing.
Shanghai is probably the most popular destination for expats to teach English. The city boasts a population of over 24 million people and definitely sets the tone as China's most international turf, which means that if you're looking to live in the country but wish to stay connected to a significantly large expat community, Shanghai is the place to be. Teacher salaries are also generally higher than in other cities in China, but so is the cost of living.
So, what do you think of my list? Are you an expat or ESL instructor in China and have any suggestions for prospective teachers? Well, let the world know in the comments. Safe & happy travels!
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About the Author: Don is from Los Angeles, CA, USA and has served as an ESL Teacher & Foreign Department Manager in both China & South Korea!
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