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The Best Places to Teach English in China


teach English in China


China is a mecca for teachers who want to work abroad. Keep reading to find out the best places to teach English in China.



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Over 160 cities in China are home to a million or more people. So there are endless places you could choose to start your teaching adventure. Most foreigners moving abroad are seeking a balance of cultural immersion and home comforts. Most cities in China now have international restaurants, familiar shops, and Western pharmacies thanks to the country’s rapid development. But, with so many possibilities, what are the best places to teach in China? Here are our top five destinations. 



With the renowned Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and majestic Great Wall of China all on your doorstep, Beijing reigns as one of the best places to teach English in China. Salaries in the capital are some of the highest in China and many of the most prestigious schools, both local and international, are located in Beijing. There is also a large ex-pat community and many amenities foreigners living in China find essential. With Western-style supermarkets, countless places to meet for a Friday night beer, and arguably China’s best attractions, Beijing has something for everyone. 

Population: 22 million 
Best for: History and culture, food, craft beer & imperial-era architecture  



Shanghai is the world’s biggest city and China’s most futuristic, cosmopolitan and contemporary place to teach English. While Beijing is populated by diplomats and journalists, Shanghai is where you’ll find the bankers and architects, as well as the swanky bars and restaurants they like to frequent. Shanghai’s colonial French Concession is where the majority of the ex-pat community live and play. And you’ll find its tree-lined streets populated with boutique cafes, independent stores, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. What Shanghai lacks in traditional Chinese culture, it more than makes up for with its dynamism and international atmosphere. Shanghai is truly one of the world’s great cities. 

Population: 24 million 
Best for: Shopping, cocktails, public parks & colonial architecture 



Situated in southern China’s Guanxi province, Guilin is famed it its natural beauty. The landscape is punctuated by karst mountains which soar upwards and dominate the skyline. The surrounding towns and villages boast lazy rivers and undulating rice fields which make popular weekend getaways for both locals and foreigners. The city itself is rapidly modernizing and has a good selection of bars and restaurants aimed at a foreign clientele. However, the main draw is undoubtedly the stunning scenery and the many months of excellent weather, perfect for lazing by the Li River with a cold beer. 

Population: 5 million 
Best for: Authentic China, nature, outdoor spaces 



Shenzhen is China’s tech mecca and thanks to its rapidly developing industry it is also the richest city in the country. Despite being a modern metropolis, the city also has its fair share of temples and traditional architecture. There are plenty of places to take weekend trips including the nearby Nanshan Mountains or Hong Kong which is just a metro ride away from central Shenzhen. Salaries are lower but the cost of living is also considerably cheaper than Shenzhen’s more famous counterparts, Beijing and Shanghai.

Population: 13 million 
Best for: Modern living, work-life balance & year-round warm weather 



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The capital of Sichuan province is perhaps best known for its iconic pandas. But there’s much more to the city these adorable Xióngmāo! Chengdu is a popular university city which is reflected in the city’s young vibe. Jialebi is populated by trendy bars, restaurants, nightclubs and karaoke bars. So it is perfect for those who have an affection for late-night culture. It boasts a more relaxed and care-free vibe than other Chinese cities and has become something of an ex-pat hot spot over the past few years with plenty of opportunities to meet friends at the city’s many hangouts. 

Population: 8 million 
Best for: Food, relaxed vibes & bars

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