Teach English in Suzhou: The Complete Guide

Learn about the paradise-like city in Jiangsu Province and what to expect teaching here

Suzhou at a Glance

Suzhou is also called Soochow, pronounced [ sy-joh ] or / ˈsüˈdʒoʊ /. Suzhou city was built in 514 BC with a history of more than 2500 years. A Chinese saying goes, "Just as there is a paradise in heaven, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth." Suzhou is one of the first batches of 24 Chinese national historical and cultural cities, and it is also a national key tourist city in China. Besides, Suzhou is also one of the important central cities in the Yangtze River Delta.

Suzhou is an important birthplace of Wu Culture, and Soochow Dialect (a kind of Wu dialect) is famous for its elegance. Wu Chinese is one of the earliest dialects in China and has a history of more than three thousand years.

Suzhou is the hometown of Kun Opera and Su Opera. Kun Opera is the first world intangible cultural heritage in China, which originated from Kunshan City and Taicang City in Suzhou in the late Yuan and early Ming Dynasties.

This photo is about Kun Opera which originated from Kunshan City and Taicang City in Suzhou in the late Yuan and early Ming Dynasties.
Photo from Baidu

Where Is Suzhou

Suzhou is at longitude 119.55 degrees east to 121.2degrees east, latitude 30.47 degrees north to 32.02 degrees north. It is located in the middle of the Yangtze River Delta and southeast of Jiangsu province, and located quite near to Shanghai.

This photo is a map of Suzhou’s geographical location and the distance from Suzhou to Shanghai.

Population of Suzhou

Suzhou covers an area of about 8657.32 square kilometers. There are 10,749,900 people live in Suzhou by 2019 and the population density is about 1,241.7 people per square kilometer.

Weather in Suzhou

Suzhou has a subtropical monsoon maritime climate, with a mild climate and plenty of rain, and has four distinct seasons. The annual average temperature of the city is 17 degrees, and the average temperature reaches its peak in July at 29 degrees. The temperature is at its lowest in January, around 5 degrees. The days with the good or excellent air quality of 2019 in Suzhou is about 288 days.

How to Get to Suzhou

There are 4 rail transit lines with 135 stations in operation in Suzhou by July 2020. Suzhou is very close to Shanghai. It only takes about one hour from Suzhou Railway Station to Shanghai Railway Station. The total driving distance from Suzhou to Shanghai is 76 miles  and the total straight line flight distance from Suzhou to Shanghai is 53 miles.

There is no civil airport in Suzhou but there are many other airports near Suzhou, such as Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao Airport. In particular, Hongqiao Airport is only 50 kilometers away from Suzhou city.

Teach English in Suzhou, Jiangsu

According to Suzhou Statistical Bulletin of 2019 on National Economy and Social Development, in recent years, the quality of education has been constantly improved and more and more schools have begun to attach importance to English teaching. By 2019, there are 1,682 schools at all levels in Suzhou, so there are many opportunities for English teaching in Suzhou.

The salary of teaching English in Suzhou is not as high as that in  big cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen or Beijing, but if you place a higher value on the quality of life and living environment than the number of money, it is wise to choose an English teaching job in Suzhou. Suzhou has beautiful sceneries and good air quality, with which you will enjoy a pleasing working environment.

International School Jobs in Suzhou

In recent years, with the rapid development of Suzhou's economy, more and more parents in Suzhou are shifting their focus of education to international education. Because of the influence of education demand and the rapid economic development, the international schools in Suzhou have been developing very rapidly in recent years, and there are more than 50 international schools in Suzhou. Moreover, in recent years, more and more public schools have opened international education programs, such as Suzhou Middle School and Suzhou No. 3 Middle School.

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

Kindergarten Jobs in Suzhou

Kindergarten teaching can not only teach children English language knowledge or to make children understand the western etiquette and values, but also contribute to improving children's self-confidence, independent thinking ability and communication skills by approaching western culture.

The Suzhou government pays their attention to the development of preschool education and constantly increases the number of high-quality kindergartens. The proportion of provincial and municipal high-quality kindergartens in Suzhou accounted for 72.42% in 2018, which can better meet the needs of preschool education. In recent years, the teaching research of kindergartens in Suzhou has been improved, and the professional ability of teachers and the school running level of kindergartens have also been improved constantly.

Suzhou government focuses on promoting the construction of gamification of kindergarten curriculum, strengthening the curriculum reform of preschool education and improving modern education level. Teachers are required to pay attention to children's ideas, be patient enough for children's progress, and to promote children's development in appropriate methods.

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

Training Centre Jobs in Suzhou

Most training centers in Suzhou need ESL teachers to help students improve their oral English. Besides, some training centers need teachers to participate in marketing activities that are held outside of the school. There are many training centers in Suzhou, such as:

  • Kunshan Sesame Street English School
  • English First Suzhou, E-Blocks Suzhou
  • Lang EN Kid's International School

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

How Much Do You Get Paid to Teach in Suzhou?

Generally speaking, the salary range depends on education attained, years of experience teaching, teaching level demonstrated skills, additional certifications, etc.

According to 'Suzhou City & Salary 2020 Research Report', the average salary of international schools in Suzhou is ¥23,444 ($3,343) a month, and the pay range is ¥20,806 ($2,967) -¥26,083 ($3,719) a month.

The average salary of kindergartens in Suzhou is ¥18,833($2,686) a month, and the pay range is ¥16,111($2,297) -¥21,556 ($3,074) a month.

The average salary of training centers in Suzhou is ¥19,646 ($2,802), and the pay range is ¥16,417 ($2,341) -¥22,875 ($3,262) month.

From the above data of Suzhou's salary, we can find that the salary of international schools in Suzhou is higher than the salaries of kindergartens and training centers.

Suzhou ESL jobs requirements

According to 'Suzhou City & Salary 2020 Research Report', the international schools need candidates to have a bachelor's degree or above, and the requirement of teaching experience must be at least 2 years.

The kindergartens need ESL teachers who have a bachelor's degree or above, at least 2 years of relevant teaching experience and native English speakers (in principle from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa).

Training centers will choose candidates who have a bachelor's degree or above, and most training centers will accept candidates with less than one year's teaching experience.

Living in Suzhou, China

Suzhou is crowned as “the Oriental Venice” because of the vertical and horizontal rivers in Suzhou City. In recent years, Suzhou has made great achievements in its economic development, and its wage level is higher than other new tier 1 cities. Living in Suzhou you can feel the modern life and the ancient lifestyle at the same time, and it seems like you are living in two completely different cities. The old city of Suzhou is well preserved and there are no modern buildings in the old city, which makes you completely immersed in the atmosphere of the Old Gusu Area.

Things to Do in Suzhou

There are many famous spots in Suzhou, such as Tiger Hill, the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, Suzhou Museum, Zhouzhuang Town, Humble Administrator's Garden, Pingjiang Road, Jinji Lake, etc. By the end of 2019, there are 6 national 5A tourist attractions (11 spots) and 35 national 4A tourist attractions, and 73 well-preserved classical gardens in Suzhou.

This photo is about a tourist attraction in Suzhou which is called “Suzhou Museum”.
Photo from Unsplash

Suzhou is one of the centers of food culture in eastern China, and it is a place where the Su-style food culture is developed. It is famous for cuisines such as the Squirrel-shaped Mandarin Fish, Yangcheng Lake hairy crab and Braised Soy sauce Pork, etc.

This photo is a famous food in Suzhou which is called “Squirrel-shaped Mandarin Fish”.
Photo from 699pic

Cost of Living in Suzhou

According to NUMBEO,

  • Four-person family monthly costs: ¥14,919 ($2,127) without rent.
  • A single person monthly costs: ¥4,017 ($573) without rent
  • Cost of living index in Suzhou is 9.70% lower than in Shanghai.
  • Rent in Suzhou is, on average, 58.35% lower than in Shanghai.
  • Suzhou has a cost of living index of 44.73.


  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport): ¥2 ($0.29)
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price): ¥80 ($11)                                            
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff): ¥12 ($1.71)
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff): ¥3 ($0.43)
  • Gasoline (1 liter): ¥7($1)
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car): ¥150,000 ($21,390)
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car): ¥158,200 ($22,559)

Where to Live in Suzhou

Most foreigners live in the industrial parks where the infrastructure is better developed and there are less traffic and less crowding, such as Tianyu Garden, Suzhou Center Tower 8, Suyue International Apartment, etc.

Rent per Month:

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: 3,367 ($480)

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: 2,172($310)

Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre: 6,611($943)

Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre: 4,438 ($633)

Suzhou Subway Map

Based on TravelChinaGuide,

Operating Metro Lines:

 Line 1: Mudu – Zhongnan Street

 Line 2: Qihe – Sangtiandao

 Line 4: Longdaobang – Tongli; Hongzhuang – Muli

This photo is a map of Suzhou metro.
Photo from TravelChinaGuide

Suzhou City&Salary Report

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