Secondary tier cities in China refer to the cities between 500,000 to 3 million inhabitants, however these cities are often unknown outside of their national or regional context. These cities include: Nanjing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Jinan, Xi’an, Shenyang, Chongqing and Zhuhai, etc and are hidden gems you can only experience by living there.
While Teaching English in these kind of cities you can live comfortably and live amongst the true local Chinese culture. Many expats won't know a thing about many tier 2 cities in China unless they've visited. Generally, larger cities have plenty of information online and are well-known by the expat community. These cities are: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
The life style differences between large cities and secondary cities in China
Tier 1 cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have the fastest growing economy, modern lifestyle and offer many of teaching jobs. Without a doubt, these four cities have a very fast pace of life comparable to that of New York: people hurry around everywhere and the population is enormous; the traffic is crowded although the public transportation system is one of the most modern, advanced and efficient systems in the world.
Life in secondary tier cities is not as fast compared to the larger cities, the cost of living is far lower as well. Teaching in secondary tier cities in China is a comfortable and easy life, you'll have plenty of disposable income even on a salary of (10,000RMB or less /month) and you won’t find yourself hurrying around to do everything. The air quality is also far better. There are far less people as well, for those who prefer to live an enjoyable and easy life in China, we recommend you choose secondary tier cities to live in.
Teaching in secondary cities in China is often a poorly disregarded decision for some expats, because the salary is always lower than larger cities. In fact, the salary is not so low compared to the local living cost. For example, if you work in Shanghai in a training center; you earn 15000RMB per month, your apartment cost would be around 3000RMB per month plus your daily expenditures, 5000-8000RMB /month. Don’t ignore the cost of living in Shanghai. If you work in Wuxi for example, which is very near Shanghai, one hour via high speed rail. Teaching in Wuxi city can earn you around 10000RMB per month and the living cost is lower, 1000-1500RMB /month apartment will be very comfortable and fully furnished.
Teaching in tier 1 cities in China require higher qualifications and at least 2 years post graduate working experience. A 120 hour TEFL or TESOL is also generally required. While teaching in secondary tier cities, a college diploma is acceptable, experience in teaching is not important. The requirements usually are not so high and strict when schools hire a teacher. For expats who love teaching in China but don’t have any experience, we recommend you teach in secondary tier cities when you first come to China. Teaching in secondary tier cities is easier to begin youreaching career.
Tier 1 cities in China attract thousands of hundreds of domestic and abroad people for work. So tier 1 cities have a developed multi-cultural environment. Secondary tier cities are different, the people there are often locals. These local places are a great way to experience true Chinese culture and experience the true local ethnic customs.
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