Suzhou ranks highly among China’s most liveable cities, largely because of its wealth and beauty, and was voted the best ‘tourist city’ in 2011. It is certainly one of our most popular Chinese cities among our teachers, and for good reason. We have placed many teachers of all levels into this popular city over the past 5 years, ranging from beginner ESL teachers up to those teachers with professional teacher qualifications and years of experience teaching in their specialist subjects. We work with Private Academies, Public Schools and International Schools in Suzhou so do check out our Jobs page for more details on what is currently on offer and get in touch to set up a skype call with one of our friendly placement specialists so we can get things moving for you!
Suzhou is world famous now for its historic gardens and canals, as well as its place in Chinese art history. The legendary explorer Marco Polo travelled through Suzhou centuries ago and famously described it as ‘the Venice of the East’. Many of our teachers with a specific interest in history particularly love this location.
Of course, like all cities, Suzhou has not gone untouched by modern developments. The Lonely Planet might try to sell you an ancient paradise, and indeed Suzhou has its peaceful parks and old architecture, but it has developed and grown along with the rest of the country. Its high-tech industrial parks are the envy of the world, and produce more laptop computers than any other place on earth. It seems that the old and new are always vying for attention.
Still, for teachers living in Suzhou, there is plenty to do. The main attraction is the Classical Garden, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are dozens of other relatively well known gardens, too. The canals are also a big draw for tourists and teachers alike, as are the stunning temples and beautiful pagodas that are littered about the city. Fans of Chinese opera will be delighted to known that Suzhou has a huge Opera Museum that is extremely popular on weekends.
Suzhou also has a vibrant foreigner community, with plenty of information to be found online for the newcomer. There are several Western restaurants and foreigner bars in the city, and it is easy to meet up and join in activities with local expats.
Getting around is relatively simple too, although the city’s notoriously narrow sidewalks can be crowded and chaotic. It is possible, however, to walk around most of the tourist attractions as they are largely found within the downtown area. Taxis are cheaper than in Shanghai, but more expensive than in neighbouring provinces. As usual, make sure your destination is written in Chinese (ask one of your students or Chinese colleagues; they’re used to this) or else you won’t get far.
Suzhou is an easy city to visit. It doesn’t have an airport, but it lies halfway between Shanghai and Nanjing, and is served by numerous fast and slow train services. It is also close to Wuxi, which has a small airport. Its proximity to these great cities means that even once you have exhausted all the sights of Suzhou, you are never more than a few hours from another wonderful tourist attraction.
For many of the foreign English teachers in Suzhou, a weekend trip to Shanghai is a common event. Go on the ‘bullet train’ travelling at speeds of over 350km/h, you will get into Shanghai main train station within 25 minutes. It’s a world-class system, very impressive indeed. And this only costs approximately $US5, so it’s extremely good value. Living and teaching in Suzhou gives you the best of both worlds; cheaper cost of living and more relaxed surroundings during the week with the option of visiting Shanghai for fun and games at the weekends.
Many of our teachers have chosen Suzhou as their top choice to start their teaching career in China since back in 2010 when we first placed teachers in this location. TFA are always hiring for a wide variety of teaching positions in Suzhou including Public Schools, Private Academies and International Schools. Check out our Jobs board to learn more about what positions are on offer. If you are new to teaching you can look at our many opportunities for English Language teaching and if you are coming from a more experienced teacher background, check out our International School Jobs board with a wide selection of highly sought after positions teaching in your specialist subject.

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