Weifang, China is located in the center of Shandong province in between Jinan, to the West, and Qingdao, to the East.
Weifang is known as the “Kite Capital of the World”, Weifang and its fresh winds are well known throughout the province.
Besides kites, Weifang, like many other Chinese cities, is forever under the constructor’s crane with new buildings popping up seemingly overnight. Modern and new, but still retaining its old-school charm, Weifang is a unique place to witness the “real China” where the future is being woven into the past.
Weifang has a certain characteristic in its exceptionally wide and straight boulevards that make out a chess pattern for many kilometers, resembling some American cities. However, the boulevards are much too wide for its number of vehicles so they very rarely get too crowded. Traffic jams are uncommon and, taxi prices are cheap. And due to the city’s flatness, it’s easy to travel everywhere you need to go by bike.
Foreigners can be a rare sight. With less than 200 expats living in the downtown area, prepare to be stared at and given some friendly attention.
However because there are so few foreigners around, the expat community is quite close and friendships come easily. Teaching English in Weifang is a great way to earn a living while getting to know what China is really about.
Why Should Someone Teach English in Weifang?
Weifang is located smack dab in the middle of the Shandong peninsula making it a major hub between the larger cities of Qingdao, Jinan and Yantai. It’s also not far from the nation’s capital, Beijing.
It has a large population (over 9 million, that’s more than NYC!) but feels like a small city. It’s easy to get around, as the city has been laid out like a grid. There are two rivers running through the downtown area, which makes for some beautiful scenery.
Weifang is a place where you can run into friends at the grocery store, but still meet someone new every day.
Weifang’s claim to fame is its kites and a visit to Weifang should include some exposure to the kite culture here.
Each year Weifang hosts an international kite festival on or around April 20th. Kiters from around the globe come to hoist their prized possession skyward in differing competitions ranging from largest kite to synchronized flying, team competitions and also general kite displaying and flying.
Weifang has numerous historical relics and other tourist sites, there’s definitely plenty to do and see, but when you get bored, Qingdao makes for a quick weekend getaway.
And if you want to get out of China, Weifang is just under two hours from Qingdao International Airport.
How is Weifang sounding right about now? Ready to book your flight and call it home? Not so fast, let us find you a job here first!
What Does it Cost to Live in Weifang?
Depending on how you decide to live, you will be spending far less living in Weifang than in your home in the Western world. There are still endless opportunities to waste money, but your core expenses will be very minimal in comparison.
Depending on your school, you’ll likely have free accommodation. I’ll say that again – free rent. Your only expense will be your food and phone. Most English teachers in China have almost no financial responsibility (unless they imported them from home *cough* student loans and credit card debt *cough*).
The great thing is, you’ll be able to make significant strides towards paying off this debt since you won’t have overwhelming monthly bills.
You will certainly have enough extra to go out regularly, join a gym and pursue other interests. Now down to the numbers, how much does it actually cost to live in Weifang?
(The below chart is using exchange rates as of 2/26/2014, check XE.com for up to date rates.)
|One Liter of Water||3||0.48||0.36|
|One Liter of Milk||4||0.64||0.48|
|Theme park ticket||50||8||6|
Getting to Weifang:
You could fly into Qingdao or Beijing, whichever is cheaper for you.
From Beijing you would take the CRH, China Rail Highspeed (Bullet). It takes about 4 hours to get to Weifang. Once in Weifang there are plenty of taxi’s waiting at the train station to take you to your destination.
From the Qingdao airport you would take the minibus from the airport directly to Weifang. The cost is 60 RMB and it’s easier and cheaper than taking a taxi to the train station (which is over 30 minutes from the airport). The minibus stops at the Fuhua hotel in Weifang. It’s easy to get taxi’s from there to wherever you need to go.
Is Weifang A Good Fit For You?
Are you looking forward to meeting new people whom you can build lifelong friendships with? Do you hope to learn Chinese (Weifang University is only 6,000 per semester) while teaching adorable children? Are you looking for a laid-back lifestyle, in an ever-growing and changing country?
Do you want to get to know Chinese culture in a real way, by being immersed in a city that isn’t overran with foreigners? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then Weifang is for you.
(photo credit Flickr CC: sarahhsia)
This is a guest post from Leah at Best Learning Weifang.