Living in China’s bigger cities is still much less expensive than living in cities in the West. Our teachers find that they are able to live a very comfortable lifestyle and while there are many options to spend their earnings on, most find saving to be quite easy. As with all locations, the more you adapt to the local culture, the more affordable you will find things. Local food is a fraction of the cost of foreign food. Transportation is very reasonable, and there is so much to do, that you will not feel bored. Of course, there are many options for the times you want to spend a little more to have a night out on the town.
China is an amazing mix of modern shopping malls with all the famous name brands, to smaller local shops with great deals on products, to markets with a variety of options, often at very reasonable costs. You can get almost anything you need and lots of things you never knew you needed! Getting out and exploring the vast array of options is an experience you will never forget. While most prices are set, there some markets where you can test you haggling skills to get the best price. Chinese cities have it all, and usually at very affordable prices.
You will be pleasantly surprised with the housing options by our schools. While they may not be as big as Western homes, they are more than comfortable. Most of the teachers live near to each other and often near other foreigners. Because the cost of housing will be minimal with the China contracts, you will be able to live comfortably, and even upgrade with little cost. Most of our teachers chose to live on their own, but some prefer to share. Regardless, the costs you will pay into housing will be very small in comparison to what you will be earning.
Furniture and Major Appliances
Most apartments come with some furniture and appliances. If you want to get more, there are plenty of affordable options. Most apartments have air conditioning for the summer and heating for the winter. Some teachers choose to get their own washing machines, other simply make use of the many Laundromats available.
Chinese food is one of the most famous cuisines in the world and it is for a very good reason. Be aware that the “Chinese food” from your local take out, will probably be very different from real Chinese food, but the real deal is varied enough to please almost any palate. Local food can be very cheap, a simple bowl of noodles or fried rice will cost between RMB8 and RMB15. A steamed but filled with meat can be as low as RMB1. Of course, you can spend lots more if you want to. In general eating Western food Is more expensive than local food, a meal at MacDonald’s is RMB25 to RMB30, Pizza Hut will set you back RMB50 to RMB70, and TGI Fridays will be about RMB100 to RMB150.
Vegetarian options are all over with all price ranges. Similarly, getting Halal food is not difficult.
All the cities where our schools are located have metro systems that are fast, inexpensive and convenient. Buses are also very affordable, and taxis are only a fraction of the cost they are in the West. You can often take a taxi for less than you would pay for a metro in many Western countries. A typical short taxi ride will run you RMB10 to RMB20.
Some teachers prefer to ride bicycles to get around and they are very common and affordable. Of course, you can get a fancier bike if you plan on doing serious biking.
Chinese cities have it all. Hollywood movies, cafes, bars, bookshops, museums, outdoor activities. It is really a matter of what do you want to do. Movie tickets are about RMB16. Going out for coffee at Starbucks will cost you about the same as back home, maybe even more. A tall late will cost about RMB27.
Going out for a few drinks can be cheap if done at a local place, but going to a night is an easy way to spend all your savings as they do tend to be expensive. KTV (karaoke) is a popular pastime is China. Going out with your local friends usually has some singing in a KTV at some point of the night. This usually will cost you between RMB100 and 500 per person for a few hours.
Intercity travel is very affordable, with the bullet train being the fastest option. Getting to one of the many other cities in China is simple and depending on how far you want to go, it can be done easily. A bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing cost about RMB550 and will only take you a bit over 5 hours to complete the 1,318 km (819 miles) journey. Buses and regular trains are even cheaper, but do take longer.
Flying is also an option to see more of China, or to visit other countries. A roundtrip flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong will run from RMB1,000 to RMB2,000. Similar for flights to Taipei. Flights to Seoul are RMB2,000 to RMB3,000.