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The Top 10 Chinese Cities to Teach English

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Did you know that China – or the People’s Republic of China – covers something like 9.6 million square kilometers of land? As it is the largest country by territory in the world, imagine the range of landscape available in such a vast area: from the highest mountains in the world to sandy beaches, from the largest desert to forests thick with trees with unique wildlife.

 If you’re considering teaching English abroad, China deserves your full consideration. This country is a very popular destination among teachers of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), with a myriad of cultures to experience and exciting places to visit. If you want to know more about TEFL, this Teach English in China Guide from The TEFL Org will certainly be useful.

With 26 provinces, each with its own cuisine, dialect, and traditions, China is the most populated land in the whole world. If you are keen to learn about different cultures, this country won’t disappoint you. In China, there are 18 cities that have over 10 million inhabitants, while the other 90 cities have inhabitants of over one million. In total, there are 660 ultra-modern Chinese cities to choose from. However, finding the best place that suits your needs can be daunting and challenging when there is so much choice.

What can help you make this choice is to pinpoint exactly what kind of environment you would like to live in? Based on that, you can then narrow down the list of cities of interest. Keep adding ‘must haves’ to cream off your options until you find the ideal one for you.

Take a look at the suggestions below to give you some ideas.

Cultural and historical locations

If you’re passionate about history and culture, cities like Xi’an and Lijiang could be for you. Being one of the oldest cities in China, Xi’an will surely take you back in time, where you can visit its UNESCO World Heritage site, the Terracotta Warriors Museum. Overall, Lijian is a modern urban center located 2,400 meters above sea level. However, its picturesque old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Off-the-beaten-track cities

While Lanzhou and Ningbo are quite different from one another, they both share their industrial identity. Ningbo is located right on the eastern coast of China, and it’s a thriving city of over 7 million people and a considerable number of international businesses, which offer great work opportunities for TEFL teachers. Lanzhou is smaller, with ‘just’ over 4 million inhabitants. It’s located on the Yellow River banks, and it’s where distinct ethnic cultures have settled, making this city an important economic center.

Tranquil and peaceful settings

Hangzhou and Nanjing are two beautiful cities with a population of under 10 million that offers a relaxed pace of life. This is possible due to their lakeside location and idyllic scenery. Nevertheless, these are large cities where TEFL teachers are in high demand.

Balanced modern-traditional urban areas

Living in cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou means that you get the best benefits of both worlds. Both cities are home to over 12 million people, but life there doesn’t feel as chaotic, nor is it as expensive, as that in other large cities, like Shanghai and Beijing.

It is perhaps their location that has such an impact on these cities’ lifestyles. Shenzhen is situated in the south of the country, not far from Hong Kong, and has the right climate if you want to avoid the colder weather, where you can enjoy warm winters and hot summers. Guangzhou is surrounded by mountains and is located on the Pearl River along the historic Silk Road.

Ultra-modern megalopolises

Last but not least, the two most famous Chinese cities – Shanghai and Beijing – are among the most populous cities in the world, home to over 20 million people each. As you can imagine, life here is very busy and fast-paced. While this could be off-putting, keep in mind that these are also very international cities, with large and well-established expat communities to make you feel right at home.

What’s the right Chinese city for you?

Do you feel comfortable in crowded areas? Or do you seek a calm environment? Are you in search of culture, or is it a beautiful landscape like the bonsai trees you’re after? Identify what your ideal environment is, do your research, and finally, follow your instinct – it won’t take you long to find your ideal city in China.

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