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Most of us, including those considering teaching English in China, will associate certain well-known cities with China; Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing – with a few of the more well-informed among us having newer city names like  Shenzhen or Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) on our radar too. However, there are a wealth of lesser-known, amazing cities waiting to be discovered – and what better way to do it than to pack your bags and go and teach in one of them?!
Located in Jiangsu province, Suzhou is an ancient city with 2,500 years of history, renowned for its gardens, canals and the historical industries of silk and embroidery. It is a great mix of old and new as much of what has shaped its past is still evident in present-day Suzhou.
East Meets West in Suzhou
Teaching in Suzhou offers the opportunity to soak up its old-world charm, whilst benefiting from the proximity of nearby cities Shanghai and Nanjing. Finish your teaching duties for the week on a Friday afternoon and you can hop on a bullet train in Suzhou and be in Shanghai just 27 minutes later – to be precise! Plenty of time to enjoy a different city for the weekend!
Lest you think you will be stranded teaching in small-town China (if there is such a thing!), Suzhou has a population of 8 million people. With over 20,000 foreign nationals living in Suzhou Industrial Park (where some of our schools are based) alone, you won’t be stuck for English-speaking friends, the comfort of Western food (when needed) or entertainment with the many bars, restaurants and cinemas available, either. Every teacher needs their down-time too!
How to get around
Teachers come to China to travel and experience the culture and this is made easy for you in Suzhou by the excellent transport network. Buses will take you anywhere you need to go and are always running and taxis are fairly cheap too. There’s no fear of being lost on the modern subway system as the two new subway lines are signed in both Chinese and English and are easy to use. For the more energetic teacher among you, city bicycles are free and readily available, so there’s no excuse for piling on the pounds after too much Chinese cuisine!
Teaching in Suzhou
Suzhou Industrial Park, where both the government-run public schools and university-affiliated high schools are situated, is the most modern part of Suzhou, bringing both an international flavour and expertise to this historic city. Teaching in a public school will mean you can enjoy the benefits of a regular Monday-Friday working schedule and on-going teacher training, while the larger class sizes are offset by the benefit of having a Chinese assistant teacher with you. Our teachers in Suzhou have all commented on the friendliness of their Chinese colleagues and willingness to help them out; a great bonus when you’re new to China and possibly to teaching too! The high schools, which incorporate the US curriculum and are in partnership with two American high schools, also present a great opportunity for subject teachers seeking to develop their teaching careers.
Many of our teachers in Suzhou have remarked that their teaching experience there has been both rewarding and fun; with the combination of students and staff making teaching in Suzhou “a thoroughly enjoyable experience”.  And perhaps one of the best selling-points for Suzhou comes from our teacher who found it to be a good location to start off in in China to ease yourself into the Chinese lifestyle – “it has a great combination of Western food and culture, mixed with Chinese food and way of living – I would highly recommend Suzhou”.
For information on our public school jobs in Suzhou, check out our jobs page at: www.teachersforasia.com/jobs

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