Teach English in Guangzhou: The Complete Guide

Learn about the open and wealthy megapolis in China and what to expect teaching here

Guangzhou at a Glance

Guangzhou, pronounced [gwahng-joh] (IPA: /'ɡwɑ:ŋ'dʒəu/), also called in China “Sui”, is the capital city of Guangdong province, lying at the south of China.

Guangzhou is a famous historical and cultural city. Legend has it that in ancient times, five immortals, respectively wearing five-color clothes and riding five-color sheep with ears of rice in their mouths, came here. They gave ears of rice to the local people and wished this place free from famine. Since then, Guangzhou has been known as “Yangcheng” and “Suicheng” (Literally "the City of Sheep"). “Five sheep” also has become a symbol of Guangzhou.

According to historical records, as early as 214 BC, the city wall was built, which means that Guangzhou has a history of more than 2200 years. A large number of cultural relics vividly reflect the development of Guangzhou in various historical periods.

Where Is Guangzhou

Located in the southeast of Guangdong province, on the northern edge of the Pearl River Delta, bordering on the South China Sea, Guangzhou is adjacent to Hong Kong, with a distance of 119 kilometers. Since Guangzhou is the regional central city and transportation hub in the south of China, this city is called the “South Gate” of China.

the location of Guangzhou
Distance between Guangzhou and Hong Kong

Population of Guangzhou

By the end of 2019, the population of Guangzhou has reached 15,305,900, and the density of the city is around 2,059 people per square kilometer.

Weather in Guangzhou

According to Weather Spark, generally speaking, the climate in Guangzhou is described as warm and humid, as it belongs to the subtropical marine monsoon climate. The hot season in Guangzhou nearly lasts for five months, from May to October, while the cool season lasts for about three months, from December to March. During the whole year, the temperature in Guangzhou usually varies from 51°F to 91°F.

As for air quality, in 2019, Guangzhou has 293 days with good or excellent air quality, accounting for 80.3% of the whole year. Overall, the air quality in Guangzhou is quite good.

How to Get to Guangzhou

By Air

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is one of the busiest airports in China, with more than 75 airlines and over 210 destinations. The airport is about 34 kilometers away from the city center. You can   arrive at downtown in 60 minutes by taking Metro Line 3 and transfer to Metro Line 2 at Jiahewanggang Station. Or you can choose to take Airport Express Line 5, which takes 90 minutes.

By Train

Guangzhou Railway Station is the oldest station in Guangzhou. Many high-speed expresses between Shenzhen and Guangzhou stop at this station. You can get to the city center in 25 minutes by Metro Line 2.

Guangzhou East Railway Station 's train lines connects more cities in Guangdong province. You can get to the city center in 25 minutes by Metro Line 1 and then transferring to Line 6 at Dongshankou Station.

Guangzhou South Railway Station provides the high-speed nonstop and less-stop trains from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc. It takes you more time (about 50 minutes) to arrive at the city center by Metro Line 2 because the station is a little far from it.

Teach English in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province

As a first-tier city, Guangzhou is constantly improving its education quality, hence this city has a great demand for teaching jobs. Generally speaking, with an increasing number of international schools, bilingual kindergartens, and training centers, Guangzhou has a great market for English teaching jobs.

International School Jobs in Guangzhou

According to 'Guangzhou City & Salary 2020 Research Report', there are 71 international schools. The largest proportion of teaching job vacancies in the international schools in Guangzhou tend to to ESL teachers and subject teachers (science & engineering).

Here we take ESL teachers as an example to illustrate teacher's responsibilities. Guangzhou's international schools basically require ESL teachers to design teaching materials, follow teaching plans, and develop course work. Besides, teachers need to assess students’ performance and progress, and accurately and completely write down teaching records as well as reflect on their teaching styles. Moreover, teachers are responsible to undertake different activities to motivate students’ English learning.

Click and check more information about these top international schools with TTJ:

Kindergarten Jobs in Guangzhou

According to 'Guangzhou City & Salary 2020 Research Report', there are 11 kindergartens, such as Guangzhou Trinity International Kindergarten and Guangzhou Foreign Language Kindergarten Attached to Sun Yat-Sen University that demands foreign teachers. Kindergartens usually recruit ESL teachers and kindergartners.

Again, we take ESL teachers as an example to illustrate teacher's responsibilities. ESL teachers in kindergarten, who is responsible for children aged from 3 to 6 year old, are required to prepare materials based on the provided curriculum, plan various lesson activities, and create an English immersion environment. In addition, teachers need to evaluate kids' performance, receive feedbacks and adjust their teaching methods accordingly. Also, teaching in kindergarten requires job applicants to cooperate with administrators and parents, resolving students' problems.

Click and check more information about these top kindergartens with TTJ:

Training Center Jobs in Guangzhou

According to 'Guangzhou City & Salary 2020 Research Report', training centers, such as Charlotte International Education, Guangzhou New Oriental English Training School, and Monkey Tree English Learning Center, mainly recruit ESL teachers.

ESL teachers in training centers are required to prepare lessons and activities, and teach a range of English classes, such as creative writing,  reading comprehension, spelling and grammar, and so on. Besides, teachers need to clearly explain assignments to students and parents of young students. Moreover, teachers have opportunities to participate in training courses conducted by the training center so that they can constantly improve their teaching ability.

How Much Do You Get Paid to Teach in Guangzhou?

Type of SchoolMonthly Basic Salary
Training Center¥13,818 ($1,970) to ¥20,035 ($2,857)
International School¥17,197 ($2,452) to ¥24,582 ($3,505)
Kindergarten¥15,378 ($2,193) to ¥21,550 ($3,073)

According to 'Guangzhou City & Salary 2020 Research Report', the average monthly basic salary of an ESL teacher is ¥16,926 ($2,414) in the training center, ¥20,890 ($2,979) in the international school, and ¥18,464 ($2,633) in the kindergarten. 

Guangzhou ESL Jobs Requirements

'Guangzhou City & Salary 2020 Research Report' tells us that the prerequisite for becoming an ESL teacher in any type of school in Guangzhou is holding a bachelor's degree. Secondly, applicants are expected to have one to two years' working experience. Some international schools have higher requirements. For example, Nord Anglia School Guangzhou requires more than five years of working experience. Thirdly, no matter what type of school, TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, or equivalent teaching certificates are needed. Some international schools, such as Fettes College Guangzhou, require PGCE or QTS. In addition, English positions in international schools require native English speakers, while training centers and kindergartens can accept both native English speakers and non-native English speakers with a good accent.

Living in Guangzhou, China

For one thing, Guangzhou has a long history, which allows you to experience a culture of classical Chinese style. For another, Guangzhou, as a frontier city of reform and opening up, has achieved rapid economic progress and modernization, which has promoted the continuous improvement of Guangzhou’s urban appearance and living conditions.

Things to Do in Guangzhou

Living in Guangzhou, you can do lots of things. For example, you can have cultural tours, visiting Kaiping Diaolou Heritage and Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, or taking part in Pearl River Night Cruise. Also, you can have a good time in Chimelong Safari Park or Chimelong Paradise.

In addition, dim sum in Guangzhou is well worth eating. If you desire to eat traditional dim sum, Tao Tao Ju Restaurant, a time-honored brand, is a wonderful choice. You can taste shrimp dumplings, Cantonese egg tart, rice roll, steamed BBQ pork bun, and so on.

dim sum
Guangzhou Dim Sum

(Photo from Life of Guangzhou

Cost of Living in Guangzhou

In Guangzhou, the cost of living for an ex-pat is about ¥9,877 ($1,408) per month. According to Numbeo, it will cost you ¥4,382 ($625) per month for renting an apartment for one bedroom in the city center. Having a meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs about ¥20 ($3). As for transportation, a one-way ticket costs ¥2 ($0.3). You can also purchase a monthly pass of ¥150 ($21) to cover your public transport fee for the month. When it comes to food, 0.5L beer costs ¥8 ($1.1); one loaf of fresh white bread (500g) costs ¥10 ($1.4). Overall, as shown in the report of Expatistan, the cost of living index in Guangzhou is 21% lower than that in Shanghai.

Where to Live in Guangzhou

Zhujiang New Town, a developing business area in Guangzhou, is filled with office buildings, restaurants, and markets specialized in imported products.

Zhujiang New Town
Guangzhou City
(Photo by Su Zhiwei, from Trip.com Group)

Yuexiu District, located in the city center, is one of the most popular areas among ex-pats. There are quantities of heritage buildings, pretty cafes, and attractive restaurants. 

Liwan District is an ideal area for people who long to experience Cantonese culture. Hengbao Plaza and Shanghai shopping street make living convenient.

Panyu District, situated in the south of the city, is good for those who want to live in a quiet and cheap place. Besides, this area has a good transportation connection with the city center.     

Guangzhou Subway Map

Guangzhou Metro now has 14 lines in operation with 297 stations and a total length of 478 kilometers. Detailed information on Guangzhou Metro is shown in the figure below. 

Guangzhou subway map
Guangzhou Metro
(Photo from Guangzhou Metro)

Guangzhou City&Salary Report

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