You might be looking to switch up your routine or you may have heard about the savings potential, either way, you are now one of many international teachers looking to relocate to China for their next big career move. Moving to China, however, is no small feat – it is a huge country with plenty on offer but it is also undeniably overwhelming to any newcomers.
Most people are familiar with Bejing and Shanghai and religiously stick to these two expat hubs when looking for jobs but what about the rest of the country?
The good news are – there is a world of opportunity out there. Plenty of businesses and international schools are hiring across China and are occasionally struggling to fill vacancies as they miss out to the more popular locations. Going to a lesser known city (not necessarily a small city or a rural city) could open the door to more varied career opportunities. It could also land qualified teachers in a top tier international school as international schools are now opening up branches in most big cities.
It is important to do your research before you go, however. There is wealth of options to pick from, so it may feel a little overwhelming at the beginning. This is why it is important to decide on a priority list, e.g. Do I want to live in a big and busy place? Am I looking for a family friendly city with a lot of greenery? Is pollution going to steer me away from certain parts in China? Is my main priority a career development opportunity?
Once you have decided on a couple of aspects you are not willing to compromise on, you are ready to start narrowing down the field. To help you, Edvectus has put together a guide on three interesting locations to consider, however, if you would like to find out more about China and opportunities there, please visit our website www.edvectus.com and register for a free (we never charge our teachers at any point), personalised advice.
Our three top picks are:
Dubbed as the Venice of China and considered one of the richest cities of the country, Suzhou is one of China's top tourist attractions, located on the Taihu Lake Plain 100 kms to the west of Shanghai and 200 kms east of Nanjing in the eastern part of the country. The city embraces a rich abundance of history and its classical gardens have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. With a very Chinese population of almost 11 million people, Suzhou is one of China's most vibrant cities and a hub for technological innovation. Residents enjoy a four season climatic cycle, comprised of monsoon influenced hot and humid summers and cool and damp winters with some snowfall; temperatures vary between 0C and 35C. Attractions include everything that is culturally Chinese but specifically the city gardens, temples and canals. There is also a range of shops, bars, restaurants and clubs for some downtime and Shanghai is only 29 minutes away by high speed train. The city is very accessible and well connected thanks to a wide variety of public transport that includes the metro, buses, taxis, pedi cabs and water transport. The city is clean, modern, spacious and green.
Nanjing is the capital city of the Jiangsu province and is located inland north west of Shanghai. It is a very beautiful city, lush and green thanks to its warm, damp climate. It is also the safest city in China and, as one of the four ancient capitals of China, the city is regarded as a cultural centre and home to some of the oldest and finest museums in China. As with most cities in Eastern China, Nanjing has modernised and grown dramatically and now has modern and efficient transport systems, skyscrapers, luxury hotels, large shopping malls, supermarkets and department stores stocking many well-known international brands. There are several further education colleges and universities in the city, developed economic zones and an ever-increasing foreign population. The night markets, restaurants and pubs that traditionally centred around Confucius’ Temple have expanded and new entertainment locations have been developed to now include late-night shopping malls and a range of other attractions such as western pubs and clubs. Nanjing also has several professional sports teams including a football club (Jiangsu Sainty) and Jiangsu Nangang Basketball Club. There is an international airport close by offering easy access to an array of other cities, countries, mini-break and holiday options throughout Asia and the world!
3. Guangzhou, China
Guangzhou is the third largest city in China, located in the central south on the Pearl River. Guangzhou serves as an important national transportation hub and trading port. It is also known as Canton, where the Chinese dialect of Cantonese stems from, and is adjacent to Hong Kong allowing for a quick journey of a couple of hours by train, coach or ferry to go back and forth. Historically, Guangzhou has been a central city for China due to it being a port, thus allowing foreigners’ access to China both in wartime and peace, including the outbreak of the first Opium War in the 1800’s. Today Guangzhou, due to how industrial the city has become, has a special Export Processing Zone with a Free Trade Zone area. Guangzhou is considered one of the most prosperous cities in China and is the main manufacturing hub of the Pearl River Delta. Guangzhou is a large, vast city, with a lot to offer in terms of history, and modern day activities. It is easy to get around by public transportation, and a great jumping off place for travel around China and Asia.
If you are interested in teaching in China, you may also like our article about lifestyle in China and types of international schools: https://www.edvectus.com/pages/teach-in-the-far-east
Written by Anda Banks, Recruitment Consultant for Edvectus (specialist in China schools)