Teach English in the Venice of the East
The paradisiac, awe-inpiring city of Suzhou is an excellent place for anyone who loves lush greenery. Founded in 514BC, the city has managed to maintain its unique features in spite of the industrialism that has taken place all around it. Suzhou is located in East China in the Jiangsu Province. It is surrounded by Shanghai to the East, Zheijang to the South, Wuxi city to the West and the Yangtze River to the North. With more than 2500 years of history to its name, the city serves as a tourist attraction with its classical gardens, beautiful and calm lakes, long canals, stone bridges and pagodas. This is definitely a refreshing place to visit and also to teach.
With a population of 10.5 million, Suzhou is the second largest city in its province and has a rish long history. It is the oldest town in the Yangtze Basin and is the cradle of the Wu culture. The city is now one of the fastest growing cities in the world having become one of China’s foremost destinations for foreign investments. This is mainly attributed to its proximity to Shanghai and relatively low operating costs. Life in this town is not expensive as compared to other towns.
In Suzhou, not many people are familiar with the English language. However, they are a friendly and wonderful people.
Teach English in Suzhou
The medium-sized city is developing at a fast rate and this development has created a demand for the English language. The demand among the Chinese to acquire or improve their English language has lead many in quest of the skill. This means that qualified teachers are continually sought after. Schools want to ensure that they have good teachers and for this reason will offer competitive salaries. Good interpersonal and communication skills would be essential in interacting with the students.
Salaries for English teachers are much higher than the average Chinese salary and, as a result, many local Chinese view foreigners living in China as rich. Salary rates for teaching English will depend on a variety of factors including qualifications and experience as well as the type of school. For a native speaker without experience the starting salaries can range from 4,500 yuan ($US 750) to 9,000 yuan ($US 1,500) plus numerous benefits (see below). More experienced teachers can command 10,000 yuan ($US 1,565) to 15,000 yuan ($US 2,350) or more.
Students in Suzhou
Suzhou’s primary and secondary education ranks among the best in China. Considering the highly
industrialized and growing economy of China, natives of Suzhou have taken a keen interest in learning English. Teaching opportunities can be found in kindergartens, public and private international schools, universities, large institutions and international baccalaureate schools. Children as young as 3 years old are enrolled in English language schools. Parents believe that English gives their children a competitive advantage in the country which is becoming a force to contend with economically.
The adult population is also seeking for that which will set them apart in the competitive job market and what better way to do this through learning English. The English classes are maintained in small sizes to ensure their manageability. A teacher should expect to teach during the evening during weekdays and during weekends. Classes can be offered during the day but these are offered after school is over.
Requirements for teaching English in Suzhou
- Be at least 24-55 years old
- Have a Bachelor’s degree
- Have a TEFL certificate (120+hr TEFL)
- A full-time teaching experience of 12 months
- Posses a work visa
- Have formal teaching experience of two years
It is important to note that for anyone who seeks to work in China, a work “Z” visa is required. Schools generally obtain these visa for their teachers that need them.
Suzhou Business and Industry
Suzhou was ranked 5th in terms of GDP among China’s major cities. Suzhou is adjacent to vibrant Shanghai, enabled Suzhou to benefit from its seaport facilities and other resources.
Suzhou’s economy is based on the large manufacturing sector mainly steel, IT and electronic equipment and textile products. The tourism industry is also a great contributor to Suzhou’s economy. This means that the service industry of this city is well developed. Suzhou is also famous for its high quality silk and this serves as an important income generator for the city.
Two Industrial Parks have been developed within the city. The Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) founded in 1994 and the Suzhou New District (SND) founded in 1992 are home to a vast array of industries.SND is a specially designated regions for technological and industrial development in China.
The lush greenery and scenic beauty of Suzhou is what attracts many tourists to the area. The gardens of Suzhou are a main attraction to most tourists. Some of gardens frequented by tourists are the Canglang Pavilion, Lion Grove Garden, Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Lingering Garden. The freshwater Lake Tai is also a main attraction.
The Tiger Hill which looks like a crouching tiger is also a prominent stop-over for most tourists. On this hill, the Yunyan Pagoda was built.
The Pinjiang Road and the Shantang Streets which are characterized by elegant bridges, flowing water and unique architecture are two of China’s National Historic and Cultural Streets.
Famous museums in the area include Suzhou’s Silk Museum and Suzhou Museum of Opera and Theater.
In Suzhou, one can get around the city’s fine public transportation system, using trains, buses, taxis or bicycles. Suzhou is the first non-capital city in China to get a metro, which opened in 2011. Suzhou lies in the Shanghai-Nanjing corridor that is served by three parallel railways. You can use Suzhou railway station or Suzhou North Railway Station.
The city is also served by expressways such as Nanjing-Shanghai Expressway that connects Suzhou with Shanghai, the Riverine Expressway and the Suzhou-Jiaxing-Hanghzou Expressway. The China National Highway 312 also passes through Suzhou. The Suzhou Rail Transit is a metro that serves the city. Taxis are also available and are an easy way to get around the city. Smartphone apps are used to reserve taxis or one can use the city’s official hotline for taxi dispatch. Bicycles are also a popular service.
Natives of Suzhou speak the Suzhou dialect which is a branch of Wu Chinese. Mandarin (Putonghua) the official language is also spoken.
Suzhou has a subtropical four season climate. One rainy period comes in March with a second named Plum Rains, arriving in late June to July.
The people in Suzhou are friendly and great friendships can be formed that will be important for your stay in the city. The night life is quieter and leisurely compared to the main cities. Most expats live in the Suzhou Industrial Park area or Suzhou New District featuring a plethora of services and shopping.
There are Western-themed bars around Ligongdi and old town Suzhou that can curb the homesickness. The city normally has events in which expatriates may participate.
The cost of living in Suzhou is inexpensive, allowing for affordable living with disposable income for leisure activities and travel.
There are many expat clubs and organizations in Suzhou making socialization easy. Expatriate Association of Suzhou.
Suzhou is a paradise for gourmets. The region is famous for its vegetable and fish dishes. Suzhou cuisine’s unique dishes are the result of delicate preparations and quality ingredients. If you have a sweet tooth, Suzhou’s sweet food delicacies are sure to please.
Cantonese tea houses are plentiful. Like Western cafes, people gather at tea houses to chat, socialize, and enjoy tea. These tea houses also serve dim sum – modest portions of a variety of foods such as small dumplings, won tons, egg rolls, and other foods.
Looking to live and teach in scenic gardens away from the concrete jungle of the city? Look no further! Teach ESL in Suzhou and experience this alluring city. Apply now!