Now, let’s take a look why these four cities are the most popular for teachers moving to China.
Number of Opportunities
One of the main reasons why the big four cities are the most popular for teachers is quite obvious: there’s more teaching opportunities there! Being the largest cities, with the biggest populations, means they have the greatest demand for teachers. Whether in International Schools, Private Schools, Kindergartens or Training Centres, there are typically more teaching opportunities within the big four than other cities in China. This is hugely beneficial for teachers because the likelihood of finding a school that matches their preferences (salary, benefits, work environment etc) is much higher. In addition to this, it means that should a teacher decide they want to change schools upon completing their contract, they’ll easily be able to find their next opportunity without having to move to a new location and start over again!
Amount of Expats
Not only is there a larger demand for teachers within the big four, but there’s also a demand for many other professions. As mentioned, Shanghai and Shenzhen are the financial and tech hubs of China respectively. Due to the greater number of opportunities, it makes sense that more expats will be living throughout these cities. From a social point of view, this means that teachers moving to one of the big four are likely to interact with more expats than if they were in a smaller city. The presence of expat communities within these cities facilitates an easier and swifter process of forming friendships for teachers, leading to an enriched social life.
More Foreigner Friendly
Largely in part to the higher number of expats living there, the big four cities are all deemed to be the most ‘foreigner friendly’ in China. Teachers who move to one of the big four can expect to find it easier to navigate around the city, whether on foot or by metro, due to more signs being in English. Also, whether it’s a taxi driver or a waiter in a restaurant, it’s more common to find locals who can speak English in the big four cities than elsewhere.
Due to these cities being larger and more multicultural than others in China, teachers living there can typically find more things to do during their time off. Not only is there a great array of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, but there are more sports clubs and leisure activities for teachers to enjoy. In addition, teachers will find that home comforts such as western food and brands are much easier to come by.
China can be viewed as a very different place to the west, with a uniquely different culture and challenging language barrier. However, there are an extensive number of cities in China where teachers can find fantastic opportunities and have an exciting, enjoyable experience. For teachers who are heading to China for the first time and are nervous about what to expect, choosing either Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Shenzhen as your destination may be a wise bet. You’re likely to find it easier to meet more expats, navigate around your new surroundings, and have a larger variety of teaching opportunities to choose from. If you are someone who wants to embrace the Chinese culture and language to its fullest, and have a more unique experience within the country, then there are many opportunities in China’s other cities to explore too!