Chengdu Vs Guangzhou

I am currently applying for ESL positions in China and I have heard back from many schools. 2 locations that have caught my attention are Chengdu and Guangzhou. For someone who has never been to China and does not speak Mandarin/Cantonese, what are some of the pros and cons of both cities and which would you recommend?

Yeah. This is a commonly asked question. It always goes something like this...

"I am thinking about moving to America. Can you please me the pros and cons, the costs of living comparisons, and tell me about the differences between Chicago and New York city?"

Firstly [1] , it's a rare person who have lived in both Chicago and New York city. Secondly [2] , that is a lot of information that you are asking. After all your question barely qualifies for a paragraph, yet the information you request could fill volumes.

I do not mean to be rude, but if you want some serious responses to your queries, then you have the responsibility to provide some details and meat into your question. For instance, where are you? What is your age? How long have your been getting ready for wok in China? What is the status of your university diploma, and your ESL certification?

There are those of us, who would write detailed answers to this question only to find the person asking it has fallen off the face of the planet. Or even worse, given us a "thanks that's nice".

It depends what you are looking for. It depends on your career ambitions. It depends on your nationality. It depends on your gender. It depends on your ESL certification's. It depends on your age and what you look like. It depends on what kind of ESL teaching that you wish to pursue.

You need to tell us when you anticipated arrival date will be and how you plan to enter. Will you be one of those "backpackers" who plans of teaching for four months or so as a way of financing their way around China?  (Bad move, you will last only as long as your first job) Or, are you serious in making a career out of  this?

What are your intentions?

So please detail out your hobbies and your career ambitions. Tell us what research you have done on the two cities, and why you feel that one is better than the other, and we can respond in detail either agreeing or contradicting you. Tell us about the schools that you contacted and what you like or what you are afraid of.

I apologize the vagueness of my question. I am a 26 year old American from the upper Midwest  currently interviewing for ESL positions in both cities. I have a bachelors degree as well as my TEFL certification. I am passionate about sports and the outdoors (hockey and mountain climbing specifically). I am looking to try and experience new things and put myself out there. I believe pursuing an ESL job will help my personal and professional development. Career ambition wise, I am not sure. I imagine that I would not know if I would want to pursue an international career until I have some international experience. I am planning on spending a year abroad teaching and going from there. In my time abroad, I’d like to experience other areas of China apart from where I would be living and travel SE Asia. I have some international travel experience, but nothing too significant. I am aware of the differences you can find with a simple online search (weather, food, etc). I was hoping to find some information on differences one might not find online and and from someone who knows from personal experience. What are the outdoor activity options or both cities? What is the nightlife like? Which is an easier city to travel from? If you are outside of the city center, which area has more to offer? I the questions may seem standard. I am hoping someone can give me some information that I have not came across yet.

OK. So you are a white American male from the Chicago area. You probably won't have any problem finding work or adapting to a teaching position.

Chengdu is a nice city. It is very Chinese, and the food is nice and delicious (hot!). It is near some absolutely amazing scenery. The mountain scenes from Avidar were filmed around there. The people are pretty laid back. It's really pretty nice. There are large areas where people play Ma Jong and have their ears cleaned out by these long rods. The cost of living is not as expensive as Guangzhou.  It's a great place if you want full immersion.

Guangzhou is much larger and quite international. It has a very nice and extensive subway system. You will make more money there, but you will also have more in the way of expenses there. It won't be so much as a culture shock as there is a sizable expat community there. No, you won't be able to find a Chicago Pizza there, but you can get reasonable pizzas that will be almost as good.

If you are a Hooser, you might find the people and the pace of life better in Chengdu. They are really nice like a basic person from Indiana.

If you like the city life, then Guangzhou would be more your pace.

Some advice. Do not come to China and start working unless you are ready to fully complete your working contract. If you break your contract, you run the risk of losing your Z-visa and being black listed from China for ten years. Be careful and make sure that you are willing to make the deep dive.

I say this because most Americans have a hard time cutting it in China cold-turkey. Most cannot survive past three months.

Best Regards.

Well, I am not sure about Guangzhou. But if you want to find a job in Chengdu, my school can offer a part time position. Ps: My phone number is ***

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I don't know what idea you have of China but trust me, nobody speaks English here. Young people can probably read and write it with varying levels (since they have no oral exam) but don't expect to get very far without Chinese, especially somewhere like Chengdu. If you have only have English then you'd be better off somewhere like Beijing or (much) better still, Hong Kong.

I lived in Chengdu for two years and the worst thing about it is the food. They like spicy food but seem to have never heard of chillies, they just use the strange red oil that is normally solid at room temperature. It's impossible to even wash off of anything so I can't imagine what happens if you ingest it. Almost anything you order seems to have this strange red oil in it. The food is much better in the north. I lived in Tianjin before and purely from the perspective of food, that was the best.

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