Partner schools are spread all over the country, and you are free to request ANY Chinese city/region at all, and we will try our best to get you placed there! Over the years however, we have learned that applicants tend to enjoy themselves, on the whole, a little bit more, when placed nearby other applicants. As a result, we tend to ‘cluster’ our applicants together, in groups of about 8-15, in each of about 4-5 different cities, each year. The cities we most often use are:
Beijing is the capital city of China. There are about 20 million people living there. The seasons in Beijing are very pronounced (ie summers are hot, winters are cold, autumn & spring are half way between the 2). Beijing is a very true China (city) experience. Unlike megacity Shanghai (which is very ”modern China”), Beijing is quite ”traditional China”. But of course, being the capital city, it has all the modern stuff as well. The overall vibe however is not as international as somewhere like Shanghai. It has a far more authentic Chinese feel. It’s a really cool city to spend a year in. Opportunity around every corner.
Note too that our China partners are actually based in Beijing, and tend to help out our Beijing applicants quite a bit with things like hospital visits, sim cards, day trips to the great wall, free teacher training sessions, beers and dinners etc. So if you like the idea of having an additional level of support while out in China, then Beijing may be for you. PS – all applicants get lots of support no matter where they are placed! Beijing just get that tiny bit more!
Below, China 2018 applicant Tom (placed in Beijing) shares his thoughts on this ‘additional level of support’:
As well as Shanghai having it’s own slightly separate option (see Shanghai Pacican option tab), Shanghai is also part of the standard option. Shanghai is a blinging, modern, mega city. There is very little Shanghai does not have. And there will never be a dull moment in this dreamland. It’s a very easy city to live in, because you can so easily find your home comforts here. The centre of Shanghai looks very western (H&M, Starbucks, Maccies, HSBC etc everywhere you look). Nightlife is off the charts, and there are heaps of non-Chinese people living there. The total population of Shanghai is about 25 million. Shanghai is a city however, do remember. This means there are no mountains, lakes or forests etc. It is has big buildings, lots of people, and it gets crazy busy at rush hour. For somebody a little bit scared to take the plunge and move to China, Shanghai is probably the safest bet, because of how similar to home it can actually feel. Shanghai suburbs (60-90 mins outside of Shanghai) is of course very different to Shanghai downtown. There you would find a slower pace of life, half price living costs, and more space and nature such as parks etc.
GUANGDONG PROVINCE – FOSHAN (佛山) & GUANGZHOU (广州市)
Guangdong Province is a stones throw from Hong Kong, and boasts a business orientated, western vibe. It is relatively affluent, organised, and clean. It has a lot of industry, and quite a high percentage of the world’s electronics have been produced in this region. In Guangdong you can expect to wear shorts and a t-shirt for 6 months of the year! About 90% of our Guangdong placements are in and around Foshan. Foshan is a 40 minute subway ride from Guangzhou.
We tend to use 1 semi-rural city each year (‘semi’ because they still have populations of a couple million people). It could be Guiyang, Jiujiang, or somewhere similar. The key point to note is that it will not be a megacity. It won’t be like Shanghai or Beijing. It is for those who don’t want the big city life, but want a smaller, local feel for their placement. Those going for this option tend to ‘struggle’ a little bit more throughout the year, but perhaps gain the most in the long run. Semi-rural China is a lot of fun. It is a little bit like the wild wild west! Anything goes! If you like the outdoors, reading, cooking, doing sports, the idea of learning mandarin, etc, then this option is perhaps best for you. You will have lots of space and free time to do all that. There are of course some bars and stuff to keep you entertained, but the nightlife is nowhere near the same level as the likes of Beijing or Shanghai. That is to say, it won’t be bling bling night clubs on the top of sky scraper buildings. It will be a smaller version of events. On this option, you are likely to be walking, cycling, & taking local buses etc, quite a contrast to the standard 45 minute subway rides (in Shanghai Beijing etc).