China is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for people looking to teach English abroad. It’s not hard to see why, with its growing economy and an increasing number of wealthy citizens, China has become a lucrative market for educators.
Many teachers are drawn by the prospect of living in major metropolitan areas like Beijing or Shanghai, but which location should you choose if you’re considering working as an ESL teacher? One of the most frequently asked questions by those looking to teach abroad is whether they should go to China’s bustling capital, Beijing, or its massive financial center and economic powerhouse, Shanghai.
Teaching English in Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest and most famous city in China, with a population of more than 24 million citizens. It is one of the fastest-growing cities for ex-pats on the mainland, primarily due to its booming economy and vibrant cultural scene.
The weather in Shanghai is often described as similar to that of Beijing, but it is warmer and less severe due to its location on the coast. This makes it a year-round destination for many English teachers.
Teaching English in Shanghai offers many benefits that aren’t available elsewhere within China; ESL teachers can expect higher salary packages (including paid housing), generous holidays, better living conditions, and access to Western amenities like international grocery stores or even patio bars!
As such, it’s no surprise that some significant language schools are based here – including EF Education First, New Horizons International School, and ABC Foreign Language Training School. Not only do these companies offer quality training programs, but they also provide fantastic job opportunities for both short-term contracts well as long-term career prospects after your contract expires.
Teach in Beijing
Beijing is the capital of China and its second-largest city, with a population of approximately 21 million people. Located along the northern side of China, it’s often referred to as the country’s political, cultural, and educational center. Beijing is home to some of the most prestigious universities in Asia. This city offers a very different experience from Shanghai – but still boasts many benefits as an ESL teaching destination.
Beijing’s climate is colder than Shanghai’s, with low temperatures averaging around -9 degrees Celsius in the winter. However, the city is also much more polluted, so those with asthma or other respiratory problems should take caution before making the move.
On the plus side, Beijing offers a unique opportunity to live and work in one of China’s most historical and traditional cities. As the political center of China, it is home to many famous landmarks and historic buildings. The city also has hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, theaters, shops – making it a truly unique place for an ESL teacher!
One of its biggest draws is that fewer foreign ESL teachers work in Beijing than in Shanghai. As a result, job competition is lower, and schools are often willing to offer better contract terms (including airfare reimbursement) to secure qualified applicants. The city also has a more traditional feel, with ancient hutongs (alleyways) juxtaposed against towering skyscrapers. This unique mix of old and new makes Beijing an exciting place to live and work.
Teaching English in China: Shanghai vs. Beijing
Selecting which city to teach in China can be a daunting task. Ultimately, the choice depends on many different factors. These factors may include:
- The age group of students you want to teach.
- Your qualifications and experience.
- Your lifestyle preferences.
- Your budget.
So, which city is right for you? Shanghai may be the better choice if you’re looking for a more cosmopolitan experience with better job prospects. However, if you’re interested in living in an ancient city with lower competition for jobs, Beijing may be a better fit. Whichever city you choose, teaching English in China is sure to be a rewarding and enriching experience.
Beijing will be the better choice if you’re looking to teach young students. The city is home to a large number of international schools that cater to students aged 12-18. On the other hand, Shanghai has a smaller number of these types of schools and tends to attract older students (ages 18+) looking for professional or vocational training.
If you only have a few years of teaching experience and/or a TEFL certification, Beijing may be a better fit for you. This is because schools in Beijing are typically more willing to hire teachers with little prior experience. However, it’s important to note that Shanghai is quickly catching up with regard to hiring new graduates and experienced teachers alike.
Teachers who are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle will generally be happier in Beijing. While the two cities share many of the same amenities, they still have some distinct differences that give one city an edge over another when it comes to things to do and see. For example, Beijing is more naturally beautiful, with several mountains and parks located in the city center; it’s also home to historical sites like The Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square. However, Shanghai isn’t lacking when it comes to beauty either. Its skyline-lined waterfront is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, while residents also enjoy its parks and gardens.
If you’re looking for long-term career prospects after your contract expires, then teaching in Shanghai would be the better choice. This city attracts many international companies who are eager to hire native English speakers with experience teaching overseas.
Deciding between teaching in Shanghai and Beijing can be a difficult task. Ultimately, the choice depends on many different factors, including your qualifications, experience, lifestyle preferences, and budget. However, both cities have much to offer ESL teachers – making it an enriching experience no matter which one you choose!
While there’s no perfect answer that fits every teacher, it is essential to consider these factors before making your decision; because once you’ve started working, changing locations can be a daunting task.
Every ESL teacher has different priorities when deciding where to teach in China. Whether you want an urban lifestyle, with better job prospects and more international schools, or a rural life of less competition for jobs and traditional hutongs, Beijing and Shanghai will each offer something special just for you!