Shenzhen City Guide
It’s almost impossible to imagine that the vibrant metropolis of Shenzhen was just a sleepy little village merely four decades ago. Today, it is one of the most exciting and rewarding TEFL destinations in all of China, a city that offers all the pros of a Tier 1 city (including high wages and excellent amenities) yet with the added bonus of a more relaxing lifestyle, great air-quality and amazing location. Built on the bay that separates Hong Kong from mainland China, Shenzhen benefits from its coastal location in a number of ways. And so will you, if you’re planning to teach English here!
Revered for its inexpensive shopping, mild climate, variety of attractions both for weekend retreats and longer trips, Shenzhen ticks the boxes of all those who want to experience living in China but prefer to not do so in Beijing or Shanghai. If you’re a travel-addict who loves a warm and sunny climate and wants to experience life in China’s richest city (hello, Special Economic Zone!) then Shenzhen will have you packing your bag and applying for that Z Visa in an instant.
Shenzhen as a TEFL destination – What’s life like for an expat?
An easy breezy expat life is what Shenzhen does best, given the sheer number of expats and non-locals living in the city. An abundance of green spaces, great public transport, a host of activities and nearby attractions combine to offer a rather enviable lifestyle. Enjoy the quieter life in the outer suburbs or get stuck into the dynamic life of the city centre.
In Shenzhen, the choice is all yours.
Climate in Shenzhen
When it comes to teaching English in China, life doesn’t much better than in Shenzhen. With mild winters, hot summers and an impressive air-quality, the city suits outdoor lovers to a tee. Humidity can hit 90% in summer and you will have some scorchers, yet the lack of great smog and cool sea breeze mitigates conditions here, especially when compared to nearby Hong Kong.
Cost of living in Shenzhen
It may be the richest and one of the fastest-growing cities in China, yet the cost of living here hasn’t increased at the same rate as Beijing or Shanghai. Coupled with a great demand for TEFL teachers, it means that Shenzhen can offer a very profitable English-teaching lifestyle to boot, as long as you’re a clever expat. Only marginally more expensive than Guangzhou but offering arguably a much nicer setting, Shenzhen is that ‘compromise’ destination that suits travel-junkies to a T. Add to that the proximity of Hong Kong (one of the cheapest Asian travel hubs of all) and all that extra saving can really be put to good use. Just be mindful that Western goods here (including meals) are priced higher than in Beijing/Shanghai because competition is not as fierce. Live like a Westerner in Shenzhen and you’ll quickly see your good wages disappear.
It can be hard to fight the urge for home comforts (what we call Western luxuries here) but if you put your mindfully only indulge in the first month or so (to alleviate homesickness) and then try to go local as much as possible, you’ll see your yuan go much further.
Shenzhen is a migrant haven and you’ll find people here to be open-minded, communicative and well-educated. Need something? Approach a young local and they will be much more likely to speak (at least some) English.