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Anyone ever taught in Beijing? What's it like?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by anneke123, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Hi, I have just been offered an opportunity to teach in a school in Beijing, but not quite sure what to expect as I have never been. What is a reasonable living cost that I should expect and are there any "I wish someone told me that before I came here" stories you could provide. Good, bad and funny all appreciated!

  2. cityfree

    cityfree New commenter


    I've been in Beijing since August and love it. The only bad thing I can really think of is the pollution, which I've been told has been much worse this year than previously. There is a really good social scene day to day. The range of different events and interesting things happening is amazing. Have a look at 'The Hutong', Chinese Culture Centre, NCPA and thebeijinger. This will give you an idea.

    The cost of living is pretty cheap. If you go to, for example, Xue Bar, you may be paying 'London Prices' but that is an expensive bar here. Some items of food can be pretty pricy but that is mainly import foods. You can eat pretty well by buying from markets and the fruit and veg also tend to be better at the markets than those found in our favourite ex-pat supermarket.

    I was pretty busy during the first term getting settled into work but still managed to do some exploring. I'm looking forward to spring and getting out more. I'm currently exploring different areas and working out where I want to look for a flat next year.

    It really does depend on the package your school is offering you but I would say the likelihood is that you will be able to afford to have a good lifestyle and be able to save. If you wanted to PM me a few more details I may be able to give a better judgement on that.
  3. momentofclarity

    momentofclarity New commenter

    I came in at the same time as cityfree, different schools though I think (maybe not, our staff is huge and I haven't met half!). Beijing is what you expect, HUGE, sprawling, busy and very polluted. Coming in with any other expectation may lead to frustration, but it is what I thought it would be and I have loved it. The pollution is by far the worst I have experienced and as mentioned it is worse this year than for quite some time. I came in from the Middle East and in comparison the opportunities for culture, events and activities is immeasurable. Cost of living is what you make it to be here. You can live VERY well and not save anything, or scrimp and save and have your mortgage paid off in a matter of a couple of years. My wife and I live comfortably, have a part time Ayi (cleaners) a regular driver and go to restaurants (expat and local) a couple times a week and still manage to send home one whole salary each month.

    If you have any specific questions feel free to PM me. I highly recommend Beijing, but others won't and lots of people are leaving this year simply because they have had enough of the pollution.

  4. cityfree

    cityfree New commenter

    MoC, maybe you are one of the many senior teachers downstairs. I have yet to meet half of them also, although lots of time is spent wandering down the music corridor...

    I would add that if you are realistic about what you expect then you will love it here. Everyone I know loves Beijing as a city. Come and see for yourself.

    MoC: I really think you may be in my school...
  5. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Actually you are at different schools (or so a little bird tells me [​IMG])
    I think Beijing can be a great place to live. It certainly has it's quirks and downside but then everywhere has something. Based on reading a variety of sources, I came here expecting the pollution, spitting, traffic, crowds etc to be major negative factors, but have been pleasantly surprised. The pollution ebbs and flows and can't be avoided, but it's something you just accept and live with as best you can.
  6. cityfree

    cityfree New commenter

    The dome is fantastic. The coffee shop upstairs is good, expect when the students are going in and out of the dome. The doors are very noisy. Which sport? Our teams tend to do quite well. :D

    One thing that hasn't yet been mentioned is ball season. Anyone going to the Irish Ball? We have 5 'very' full tables. Of course, for something more sedate, there is the Bookwork Literary Festival coming up as well. Some fantastic books and authors featured.

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