Perhaps one of the most well-known cities in China, Beijing is considered the center of politics, culture, economy and communications. Known to tourists and travelers as the home of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven and the Beijing zoo, and also home to unparalleled opportunities for English teachers who are thinking of living in Beijing.

Teaching English in Beijing is a great way to earn a living and gain access to one of the most transformed (and still transforming) cities China has to offer.

Thanks to being the host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the city has been recently upgraded and has an increased English fluency rate compared to other Chinese cities. Those living in Beijing are understandably proud of being from the capital of the People’s Republic of China. Beijing residents are typically more concerned with losing face than other regions of China. They are also more interested in discussing current events and politics than many other cities.

Why Should Someone Teach English in Beijing?

With over 70,000 other expats throughout Beijing, it’s clear people from all over the world see the allure of living in Beijing. Here are some of the most common reasons foreigners, including English teachers, love living in Beijing:

A Truly Modern City. Even though it is one of the ancient cities of China, Beijing has been constantly updated and has become the epitome of a modern city in China. With dozens of high speed trains connecting it to other provinces, a comprehensive public transit system and ATMs everywhere – it’s a perfect city for a new teacher. Living and working in Beijing will certainly be a life changing experience.

Constant Entertainment. There is no shortage of nightlife and entertainment all over Beijing. With hundreds of nightclubs, bars, art events and restaurants to choose from, you’ll only be bored if you choose to be! There’s plenty of tourist attractions that will keep a new expat busy and falling in love with Beijing. Teaching English in Beijing provides the opportunity to explore all the different types of entertainment found throughout this capital city.

No Need to Learn Mandarin. Enough of the native population of Beijing speaks English so that you won’t have to learn Mandarin to get around. After hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing was left with hundreds of thousands of newly trained English teachers. This has made living here even easier than before! Don’t be fooled, however. You can certainly learn the native tongue if you desire!

Want to start enjoying life in Beijing? Let us know through this form and we’ll find you a job!

What Does it Cost to Live in Beijing?

Generally speaking, the cost of living in China is substantially lower than life in the Western world. You will be working minimal hours and generally will be earning 2 times more than an average local. You can eat out regularly, drink in the evenings and get in the best shape of your life with affordable gyms and health food.

Your school will more than likely provide you with free accommodation. This means that the biggest expense you experience (rent) is completely alleviated. You might spend 300 RMB (~45 USD) per month on your phone. Except for a few unique circumstances, English teachers in China have almost no financial responsibilities – unless they brought them from home.

This means you can pay off old debts or save up money for future adventures while you live and work in Beijing. The below chart will help you understand the cost of living in China. Exchange rates are as of August 2013 according to XE.com. Please double check the rates for accuracy.


Cost of Living in China
Expense RMB USD Euro
Local lunch 15 2.4 1.8
Local dinner 20 3.2 2.4
One Liter of Water 3 0.48 0.36
Instant Noodles 6 0.96 0.72
One Liter of Milk 4 0.64 0.48
Local beer 4 0.64 0.48
Chicken 15 2.4 1.8
Bus 2 0.32 0.24
Subway (in major cities) 3-6 0.48-96 0.36-0.72
Taxi 10-15 1.6-2.4 1.2-1.8
Bike 250-1000 40-160 30-120
Bullet train to Shanghai 600 96 72
Flight to Shanghai 1000 160 120
Movie ticket 70 11.2 8.4
Hour Massage 40 6.4 4.8
Gym membership 150 24 18
Theme park ticket 50 8 6
Haircut 30 4.8 3.6

Getting to Beijing: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Are you ready to visit this growing city? There’s several ways to arrive. Which one is best for you?

By plane. Easily the most common way to arrive, the Beijing Capital International Airport has three terminals suited to service both domestic and international flights. Any new arrivals will be able to find several ATMs and currency exchange booths. There is a train, called Airport Express, which connects the Beijing airport to various districts throughout the city. Nanyuan Airport also exists to service cheap domestic flights.

By train. There is presently a total of six train stations connecting Beijing to various regions throughout China. Make sure to thoroughly research your trip to navigate the different stations and create your itinerary. Scheduling your trip ahead of time can help you save money on ticket prices. This not only makes arriving from different regions of China a breeze, it also means you can explore the rest of the country when you take a break from teaching!

By car. Starting with the 2008 Olympics, foreigners have been able to rent vehicles in China. This means that those wishing to take road trips around the country can do exactly that. Much like the trains, there are expressways heading in every direction. There are also 11 national highways that are connected to Beijing.

By bus. There are six separate bus terminals throughout Beijing. Each terminal services different regions and routes. You can reach as far as Harbin or Xi’an with a single bus ride. Bus rides typically stop at every town along the way. Many of the buses designed for overnight trips even have bunk beds. It’s considered a good way to see how the less-than-wealthy Chinese travel around the country.

Is Beijing a Good Fit for You?

What do you envision when you think about living in China? Do you imagine a fast paced big city? Do you dream about all different types of nightlife? Would you appreciate being able to easily speak to the natives? If so, you might be a great fit for Beijing! Let us know through this form and we’ll find you a job!

(Photo credit Flickr – Thomas Fischler)

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