The Many Joys Of Living in an Emerging Chinese City

At times it feels as if the big cities get all the attention. Shanghai and Beijing and Shenzhen are sexy, sure. But have you ever thought about working in one of the smaller big cities in China? Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuhan, Xi’an, Shenyang, Chengdu and Chongqing are generally considered to be Tier Two cities.

Here are five reasons why you should consider this option:



The mega-cities are crowded. You may have seen pictures of Hong Qiao railway station during any holiday – if not, google it and be prepared to be stunned.

So. Many. People.

Anyone taking public transport at any peak time during the week can also attest to the enormity of the crowds.

On the other hand, life in one of the tier two cities can seem positively bucolic.

A seat in the subway, no queue at your favourite restaurant, a quick coffee at Starbucks when your class is about to start? No problem in Suzhou or Hangzhou.



People in the big city are busy. They are also intensely aware of the competition involved in jostling for limited resources. So, do not expect to find any smiles in the big city.

The smaller cities, on the contrary, are a joy. The people are genuinely happy to see and meet foreigners. Sometimes – shock! horror! – shop assistants and waiters actually smile at you.



It has been proven: people in smaller cities actually walk slower. In the big cities, they are always rushing, on their way to meetings, on their way to work, on their way to pick up their kids. Even mealtimes are abbreviated to make room for the next wave of eaters, to get home before the metro shuts down.

In the smaller cities, people take time. Working hours are shorter. Meals are more leisurely. Nights are quieter. And weekends seem longer.



Life in the big city is exciting, sure. But in the smaller city you may actually find time to spend on your hobby; write that book, take those photographs, even work on your relationship, or study some Chinese. Because in the big city? We just have no time for that.



EF is a company with many opportunities for career development. Starting in a small city – or moving to a smaller city from a big one – can be an excellent choice for career development.

Seriously consider one of these lovely cities for your next EF job. Whether you are joining us or thinking about a change of scenery – a tier two city is a great option.

Do it!




Find out for yourself, what life in tier two city is like

Teach English in China, travel and work abroad with EF English First




Post by Gerhard, EF English First Adults Center Shanghai.

GerhardGerhard has worked in Shanghai for four years. He has also taught in Shenzhen, Wuxi, Ningbo, Suzhou and Tianjin; he transfered to Kunshan in March 2018.