Teach English in Ürümqi: The Complete Guide

Learn about the capital city in Xinjiang and what to expect teaching here

Ürümqi at a Glance

Ürümqi (Chinese: 乌鲁木齐), pronounced as [y-rym-chee] or /ˈüˈrümˈtʃi/, is the capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It was one of the main cities on the Silk Road in ancient times, and is viewed as a significant gateway to the opening of China's western region today.

Where Is Ürümqi

Ürümqi is located in northwest China, and is proven to be the center of Eurasia. More specifically, Ürümqi is in the middle of Xinjiang province. It is situated at the northern foothill of the middle Tianshan Mountains, and on the southern margin of the Dzungarian Basin.

You can see the picture below to directly get an idea of where is Ürümqi.

Location of Ürümqi, China

Population of Ürümqi

According to Ürümqi statistical bulletin of 2019 on national economy and social development, Ürümqi has a population of about 3.552 million at the end of 2019. According to 2019 Ürümqi statistical yearbook, Ürümqi is a multiethnic city. Various ethnic minorities such as Uygur, Kazak and Hui live there, but in general, the Han nationality takes the highest proportion, which is around 71.21%.

Weather in Ürümqi

The climate of Ürümqi belongs to the mid-temperate semiarid continental climate, with a large temperature difference between day and night, summer and winter. There is an interesting saying to describe this climate characteristic, that is 'Wear padded jacket in the morning and change it to chiffon at noon, eat watermelon around the stove'.

In Ürümqi, there is little rain, the average annualprecipitation of Ürümqi is only 236 mm. Besides, Ürümqi's air quality is not bad, its number of days with good / excellent air quality of 2019 is 277.

How to Get to Ürümqi

Ürümqi is a typical inland city, and is far away from the tier 1 cities (i.e. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen). For example, although Beijing is the closest tier 1 city to Ürümqi, the distance between them is about 2,412 kilometers (1499 miles). However, there are still lots of transportation choices to get to Ürümqi.

Ürümqi has one airport, called Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport, as well as several train stations such as Ürümqi South Station and ÜrümqiHigh-Speed Station. With the help of these transportations, it is convenient for people to get to Ürümqi from either Chinese cities or foreign cities.

Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport
(Photo from NACO)

Teach English in Ürümqi, Xinjiang

Even though Ürümqi does not have as many teaching job opportunities as the tier 1 cities do, people in Ürümqi pay much attention to English, and foreign teachers are not rare. Like other cities, foreigners can find teaching jobs mainly among three industries: international schools, kindergartens and training centers.

However, because of the data limitation, the analysis here may become biased to some extent, and further research is needed.

International School Jobs in Ürümqi

Probably due to the special Ürümqi's ethnic composition, there is only a limited number of international schools in Ürümqi. Some ethnic minority schools do not require students to learn English, instead, students learn Mandarin as their second language. But teaching English as a second language is still the mainstream of schools in Ürümqi.

An ESL teacher in an international school usually needs to be responsible for different teaching tasks including lesson preparation, curriculum development and student evaluations, etc.

Kindergarten Jobs in Ürümqi

With the development of the internationalization of education, some kindergartens in Ürümqi now also hire expats to teach their students English.

Training Centre Jobs in Ürümqi

Training centers take a big part of the education market of Ürümqi, and is likely to have most teaching jobs for expats. Famous training center brands such as Education First (EF)and American Baby International Education (ABIE) have established campuses in Ürümqi.

Jobs in training centers often require teachers to teach English to students from a wide age range, between 3 years-old kids to 15 years-old teenagers, or even 18 years-old adults.

How Much Do You Get Paid to Teach in Ürümqi

Type of SchoolMonthly Basic Salary 
Training Center¥11,286 ($1,618) - ¥14,800 ($2,122) 
International School¥10,000 ($1,434) - ¥18,000 ($2,581)
Kindergarten¥17,500 ($2,510) - ¥24,000 ($3,442)

From TTJ's Ürümqi City & Salary 2020 Research Report, it could be found that among all the three industries discussed above, training centers usually pay a relatively low salary. But it should be noticed that apart from monthly basic salary, some training centers give flight allowance and other bonus as benefits.

Ürümqi ESL Job Requirements

According to Ürümqi City & Salary 2020 Research Report created by TTJ:

Getting a bachelor's degree is a must for jobs in international schools, kindergartens and training centers. A small part of training centers, nearly 30%, will only consider English-native speakers as their qualified candidates, and over 70% of training centers accept freshman who does not have any teaching experience. Kindergartens and international schools, overall, have higher requirements for previous experience, and candidates should have at least two years of teaching experience before.

Living in Ürümqi, China

Ürümqi is a diverse city and living here really can be one of the most wonderful and special experiences in one's life.

On the one hand, Ürümqi is distant from big cities that the majority of them are located in the southeastern part of China. It is surrounded by mountains, having a kind of natural beauty and a sense of mystery. On the other hand, Ürümqi is never a bleak place. It is rapidly developing, and is now both the economic and cultural center of Xinjiang province as well as a central city of West China.

Things to Do in Ürümqi

Ürümqi, in the Mongolian language, means 'beautiful pasture'. As this name implies, Ürümqi is a city full of excellent landscapes. It was named as Excellent Tourism City of China in 2002 and National Garden City in 2013, and you can easily find quite a few attractions to visit.

Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar:

In the Uighur language, 'bazaar' means 'market'. In this world's largest bazaar which combines culture, commerce, catering and entertainment, you can directly feel the unique national and regional characteristics of Xinjiang, and have lots of fun.

Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar
(Photo from Baidu)

Tianshan Tanchi Lake:

Also known as Heavenly Lake, Tianshan Tanchi Lake is famous for its incredible slights. It is rated as AAAAA level tourist attraction by China National Tourism Administration. Some people love it so much and praise is as a reflection of what heaven is like.

Tianshan Tanchi Lake
(Photo from Baidu)

Xinjiang Regional Museum:

This museum is a perfect place for someone who wants to have a good understanding of Xinjiang. The exhibitions held by the museum provide visitors great opportunities to comprehensively learn the culture and history of Xinjiang.

Xinjiang Regional Museum
(Photo from Tuniu)

You can visit websites such as Tripadvisor and TravelChinaGuide for more information.

Cost of Living in Ürümqi

According to Nomadlist and NUMBEO, generally speaking, the cost of living in Ürümqi is not high.

Including the rent of an apartment in the city center, the living expenses of an expat in Ürümqi are around ¥6,932 ($992) / month, which are only 27% of the living expenses of an expat in New York City. Renting an apartment that contains one bedroom in the center of Ürümqi normally costs ¥1,800 ($258) per month. And you can have a meal in McDonald's with ¥30 ($4) and have a Coke / 0.33L with ¥2.83 ($0.4).

Where to Live in Ürümqi

Located at the southeast part of Ürümqi, Tianshan District is one of the city centers in Ürümqi. For short-term accommodation, Xinjiang Frontier Hotel in this district may be suitable for expats.

Ürümqi Subway Map

At present, Ürümqi Metro Line 1 is the only operating line, which contains 21 stations in total. Meanwhile, other three lines Line 2, Line 3 and Line 4 are still under construction, and they are expected to begin operations in the near future.

See the following map for detail.

Living in Ürümqi: Metro system map
(Map from Baike)

Ürümqi City&Salary Report

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