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Types of Cities

Choosing your city type and location can be challenging and if you've never been to Korea or China, you might gravitate towards the safety of metropolitan cities, such as Seoul or Shenzhen. While these cities are fun and exciting, there are also some challenges associated with navigating through their hustle and bustle. Here, we want to show you why you should consider other types of cities, from small to large and introduce you to some of our favourites. 

Seoul & Shenzhen

  • Seoul and Shenzhen offer excellent public transportation, an intricate subway system, city and intercity bus system as well as taxis, Uber and other modes of transportation.You will need to take advantage of your options to navigate these extensive cities and their suburbs.

  • Exciting nightlife and any social distraction you may seek will be easy to find, as well as access to western food options and entertainment.

  • Since many expats (not just ESL teachers) gravitate and find opportunities in these metropolitan cities, you will find the foreign network to be more diverse. 

  • The cost of living in Seoul and Shenzhen can be much higher than small and medium cities. Real estate is scarce and the demand much higher, so you can expect to spend more of your monthly income on accommodations. While the majority of Korean schools offer a free apartment, teachers heading to Shenzhen can expect to pay more. Chinese schools are aware of this and offer their apartment allowance in accordance to the cost. It is not easy or feasible for most teachers to rent their own apartment in Seoul, due to the need for key money (approx. $5,000-7,000) to be deposited in additional to monthly rent. 

  • Shenzhen is located across the bay from Hong Kong, which is a popular weekend and holiday destination for teachers. It is also close to Guangzhou (another major city) and Macau. Public school teachers in Shenzhen who can get up to 3 months holidays, can easily and frequently travel home or to other countries.

  • Seoul is connected to other major Korean cities by the KTX express train and express bus system, which makes it easy to explore the country.

"Shenzhen is incredibly modern and seems to have something new being built or opening every day. The city is huge and there are so many things to do here!"

— Courtney G.

My city, Daejeon had the best transportation system. It is called the 'transportation hub' because it is (in terms of transportation) in the middle of the country, so all major bus and train routes run through there. It is so easy and so cheap to get around.

— Coralie B.

Major Metropolitan Cities

KOREA - the BIG three: Daegu, Gwangju & Daejon
  • These are the main cities our teachers get placed in and are very similar in what they offer. Located within 1-2 hours of ​Seoul on the KTX train or 2-4 hours by express bus. Transportation within these cities is also excellent and very easy to navigate.

  • Easy access to mountains and green space, as well as smaller nearby town and cities. Teachers in these cities love road trips to explore the countryside. 

  • While you won't find the same super clubs and K-pop concerts as you would in Seoul, these cities offer a great nightlife as well as access to western food and entertainment options. The foreign community is tightly knit and supportive, with anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 foreign teacher in each of these cities. Regular events are put on to bring teachers together and weekend trips are organized for groups. 

  • The cost of living can be considerably less in these cities, compared to Seoul. While your apartment will be provided regardless, the cost of eating out and going for drinks will be significantly less. Transportation cost will also be reduced as most teachers live within walking distance of their school. 

  • Cultural opportunities such as Korean lessons, concerts and art are readily available and many teachers get involved in the local drama or music opportunities. 

  • Other cities to consider are the satellite cities of Seoul, located in Gyeonggi province: Bucheon Gimpo, Suwon, etc., as well as Mokpo, Pohang, and Jeonju.  

CHINA - Hangzhou, Qingdao, Chengdu, Nanjing, Tianjin, etc.
  • These cities are known as Tier 2 cities and have populations ranging from 5,000 - 10,000 million people.

  • Transportation in these cities is very modern and you'll have easy access to a subway, bus and train system.

  • Cost of living will be less, though in China, schools adjust the housing allowance to reflect this.


Gwangju, Jeollanamdo

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