Teach in Shenzhen: The Complete Guide

Learn about the modern and open city near Hong Kong and what to expect teaching here

Shenzhen at a Glance:

Where Is Shenzhen?

Shenzhen (Pronounced: "Shen-Jen") is part of the Guangdong province. It is a coastal city lying in southeastern part of China, right next to Hong Kong.

While it is not a direct administrative district the way Beijing or Shanghai is, it has much more political, economic, and social autonomy than the rest of Chinese cities. Shenzhen has cultural make-up much more cosmopolitan and modern than the rest of the region.

Shenzhen is located south of the northern regression line, between longitude 113°43′ and 114°38′ E and latitude 22°24′ and 22°52′ N, the southern part of Guangdong Province. It is on the east bank of the Pearl River Estuary, bordered by Daya Bay and Dapeng Bay to the east; bordered by the Pearl River Estuary and Lingdingyang to the west; bordered by the Shenzhen River and Hong Kong to the south; bordered by Dongguan and Huizhou to the north. The total area of the city is about 2000 square kilometers.

Location of Shenzhen, China

Forty years ago, Shenzhen was still a small fishing village on the mainland Chinese side near Hong Kong. Both China and Hong Kong (belonging to the UK at that time) had to build high walls to separate desperately poor Shenzhen from wealthy, cosmopolitan, and politically liberal Hong Kong. However, after economic reforms from 1979, Shenzhen developed itself into one of the first localities to modernize, and quickly grew very wealthy due to rapid developments in real estate, technology, finance, and foreign trade.

Shenzhen is considered one of the most modern cities in China. The population concerns itself more with trading and money making than political authority (as in Beijing) or unique cultural traditions (as in Shanghai).

Languages Spoken in Shenzhen

In name, Shenzhen is part of Guangdong province. Same as other cities in Guangdong, Mandarin (Putonghua) is taught in schools and is the official and working language on all official documents.

However, Guangdong province has a unique Cantonese culture all along. People speak the Cantonese dialect, eat Cantonese food, and are mildly different from people from other part of China culturally. The cultural similarities prove advantageous to trade with Hong Kong, as most people from the Guangdong province and Hong Kong can understand each other's language well. Citizens in both Shenzhen and Hong Kong are relatively modern and open in thought. The two cities put great focus on commerce and trading, share cultural similarities, and are in many ways neighbors.

The Population of Shenzhen:

At the end of 2019, Shenzhen's resident population was 13.4 million, with four hundred thousand more than the previous year. As a city of migrants, Shenzhen had a population of 1.09 million ethnic minorities in 2013, surpassing Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou, making it the most diverse city in China.

In 2015, the number of temporary resident foreigners in Shenzhen was 1.24 million, an increase of 17.4 percent over 2014; the number of permanent resident foreigners was 26,579, an increase of 7.2 percent over 2014. Among the resident aliens, in terms of nationality: Japanese, Koreans, United States citizens, Indians, and Canadians are among the top five countries (out of 127) in the world.

Anyone who lives and works and Shenzhen can feel diversity and openness.

Weather in Shenzhen:

Shenzhen has a subtropical monsoon climate. The summer season is characterized by a southeasterly wind with low monsoon pressure, tropical cyclones, and high temperatures and rain; the rest of the season is characterized by a northeasterly monsoon with relatively dry and mild weather, with an average annual temperature of 22.4°C. It is affected by tropical cyclones (typhoons), on average, 4-5 times a year.

In spring, the weather is variable with warm and cold weather. Summer is the rainiest season, where precipitation varies significantly from region to region, prone to localized flooding and short-term thunderstorms and windy weather.

Shenzhen's less rainy and dry period is in autumn, with high temperatures and sunny weather. Winter is the coldest season in Shenzhen, often under the control of dry cold currents, with the lowest temperatures of the year and sparse precipitation.

In short, Shenzhen is much wetter and humid than northern cities like Beijing. Winters are much milder, and the city seldom suffers from air pollution, which impress many people who have to tolerate the winter smog in North China.

How Far Is Shenzhen from Hong Kong?

The most straightforward answer is "just next to it."

Recently a high-speed rail line has been constructed from Shenzhen's Futian/Shenzhen North Station to Hong Kong's West Kowloon station. Trains run continuously from 6 am to 11 pm daily. A second-class standing ticket costs the equivalent of 10 USD, and business class seats cost up to 30 USD. Within twenty minutes, a person can travel from a central part of Shenzhen to a central part of Hong Kong.

But notice that a traveler would need to have their passport, the appropriate visa to enter both Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and there may be lines at either side for immigration, etc. it is possible to travel from the center of one city and be in the center of another city within an hour.

Thousands of people live in one country commute to the other for work, and return home every night. Well-maintained, reliable, high-speed trains enable more and more Chinese to work like this.

If a person wants to take a flight from the Hong Kong Airport, public buses and other means of transpotation are there to take them on a ferry in Shenzhen, and go directly into the Hong Kong airport by water. If a person wants a more conventional route, there are many buses, vans, etc. departing daily from one place and going into the other.

Teaching in Shenzhen, China

Since the development of Shenzhen only lasts for several decades, most public schools are rather mediocre in terms of school ranking and education quality. However, international schools, international programs (claiming international school status), and a tremendous number of language centers and supplemental tutoring services greatly flourish here in Shenzhen.

Of all top cities, jobs in Shenzhen tend to pay slightly better, and the cost of living is generally lower. Shenzhen often makes it to the top of pay scales on average, while rent and cost of living are slightly less expensive than other expensive cities like Shanghai. Numerous factories in Guangdong provide cheap products for every path of life. Besides, people in Shenzhen can purchase duty-free imported products, high-end clothing, suits, electronics, jewelry, etc. that are otherwise expensive in mainland China in nearby Hong Kong, thus reducing the living cost of Shenzhen.

Shenzhen is one of the better cities for newcomers to China due to its high quality of life, recent economic development, and location near to Hong Kong, which features a Westernized way of traditional Chinese life. However, given that Shenzhen was a relatively new city and not as strictly managed by the central government in Beijing, people may feel that development and political hierarchies are haphazard rather than well-planned. When it comes to education systems, people may find many schools in Shenzhen are considered a work in progress, more than developed school systems like that in Beijing and Shanghai.

Though privately-owned companies offer better salaries than those in other parts of China, job types are similar: university teaching jobs, teaching in international schools, international Programs, public schools, kindergartens, and training centers.  

(Photo from 699pic)

Shenzhen International School Jobs

Many international schools hire expats to teach their students, such as:

  • Maple Leaf International Academy—Shenzhen
  • The Affiliated High School of Peking University (Weiming School)—Shenzhen, Nanshan
  • Basis International School Shenzhen

Some international departments of public schools also need to hire expats as their teachers, such as:

  • The No.Three Senior High School of Shenzhen International Department
  • Shenzhen Zhanhua Experimental School International Department

In addition, there are international schools that only deal exclusively with foreign in Shenzhen, such as:

  • Merchiston International School, Shenzhen
  • Quality Schools International of Shenzhen

These international schools or international departments of public schools provide international curriculums like Advance Placement and General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (A-level), and use English as one of their languages of instruction.

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

Shenzhen Kindergarten Jobs

From the official information shown in Shenzhen Statistical Bulletin of 2019 on National Economy and Social Development, that by the end of 2019, there have been 1836 kindergartens in Shenzhen. Among them, many are international kindergartens or bilingual kindergartens, and some of them may need to hire expats.

As a teacher in the kindergartens in Shenzhen, you need to prepare and carry out teaching activities, and in most cases, you need to play with students.

Shenzhen Training Centre Jobs

There are ample training centres in Shenzhen, and it is not difficult for an expat to find a job in this industry. To teach in training centres, usually you will need to have around 35 - 40 working hours. Sometimes you may be asked to teach students from a wide age range.

Click and check more information about these top training centres with TTJ:

What Is the Salary of a Teacher in Shenzhen?

The avarage salary for teaching in Shenzhen is ¥17,103 ($2,463) - ¥22,336 ($3,216) per month. You can see the table below for more information.  

Type of schoolMonthly Basic Salary 
International School¥17,771 ($2,559) - ¥23,292 ($3,354)
Kindergarten¥16,334 ($2,342) - ¥21,720 ($3,115)
Training center ¥17,204 ($2,467) - ¥21,995 ($3,154)

(Table data from 'Shenzhen City & Salary 2020 Research Report',created by Summer Zheng, on 2020-07-20)

Teaching Requirements

Types of Schools                          Requirements
                     International SchoolsBachelor's degree or above in relevant subject (Degree needs to be authenticated by your local PRC Embassy);

Native English Speakers (In principle from UK, U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa) (Sometimes preferred);

At least two years relevant teaching experience.Non-criminal record.

Bachelor' s degree or above (Degree needs to be authenticated by your local PRC Embassy);

Native English Speakers (In principle from UK, U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa) (Sometimes preferred);

One to two years experience in teaching childrenOutgoing and caring personality, passion for childrenNon-criminal record.

Training Centers
For English Language Teaching Position:

Native English Speakers (In principle from UK, U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa);

Bachelor degree or above (Degree needs to be authenticated by your local PRC Embassy);

One to two years teaching experienceTEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate (Sometimes preferred)Non-criminal record.

For Other Subject Teaching Position:

Bachelor degree or above in relevant subject (Degree needs to be authenticated by your local PRC Embassy);

At least two years relevant teaching experience;

Non-criminal record.

Shenzhen City&Salary Report

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