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Teach English in Qingdao, China

Qingdao, a coastal city in China's eastern Shandong province, is a harmonious blend of rich history, modern skyscrapers, and a stunning seaside landscape. With its German colonial past, Qingdao offers a unique cultural blend that's evident in its architecture, food, and local lifestyle. The city, often referred to as the "Pearl of the Yellow Sea", boasts well-preserved historical landmarks alongside its growing urban districts. Famed for its beaches, beer (thanks to the internationally renowned Tsingtao Brewery), and its annual beer festival, Qingdao has a distinctive charm that beckons teachers from around the globe.

Reasons to Teach English in Qingdao

  1. Cultural Blend: Experience the unique blend of Chinese and German cultures. From sipping beer at a local beer garden to wandering through the old town with its red-roofed Bavarian-style buildings, Qingdao offers a cultural experience unlike any other Chinese city.

  2. Scenic Beauty: Qingdao's coastal location means you're never too far from a beach. The city's beautiful shoreline, Laoshan Mountain, and numerous parks offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities.

  3. Booming Demand: As Qingdao continues to develop and open up to the world, the demand for English education has seen a significant rise. Schools and institutions are constantly on the lookout for qualified English teachers.

  4. Affordable Living: While Qingdao offers all the amenities of a modern city, the cost of living is considerably lower than in metropolises like Shanghai or Beijing. This allows teachers to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while saving money.

  5. Rich History: Teaching in Qingdao isn’t just about work. Dive deep into the city’s history, explore its colonial architecture, visit the Tsingtao Brewery, and learn about the city's role in global affairs over the past century.

  6. Friendly Locals: The people of Qingdao are known for their warmth and hospitality. As a teacher, you'll have numerous opportunities to engage with locals, learn Mandarin, and immerse yourself in the daily life of the city.

  7. Gateway to Exploration: Qingdao's strategic location makes it an ideal base for exploring other parts of China and Asia. With its international airport and well-connected transportation network, weekend getaways and short trips are easy to plan.

Understanding Qingdao's Education Landscape

Qingdao's dedication to educational development is evident in its diverse range of institutions, from public schools and private language centers to international schools and universities. The city values English education as a crucial component for its younger generation, ensuring they are equipped to participate in an increasingly globalized world. This emphasis on English education has led to a boom in teaching opportunities, particularly for native speakers. As Qingdao's economy continues to grow, so does its expatriate community, leading to a rising demand for international schools that offer curriculums in English.

Public Schools

Public schools in Qingdao range from primary to high schools. English is a mandatory subject in these schools, starting from a young age. While most of these schools have local English teachers, there is a growing trend to hire native English speakers to improve pronunciation and conversational skills.

Private Language Centers

These centers cater to a wide range of students, from young children to working professionals. The demand for English here is immense, as parents seek to give their children an edge, and professionals aim to improve their job prospects.

International Schools

With a growing expatriate community and local families looking for a Western-style education for their children, international schools are flourishing in Qingdao. These schools often follow the curriculum of countries such as the US, UK, or the International Baccalaureate program.


Several universities in Qingdao offer English-taught programs and employ native English speakers for their language departments.

Eligibility and Requirements to Teach English in Qingdao

The requirements to teach English in Qingdao will be similar to the standard requirements for teaching English in China, however, here are the specific requirements for Qingdao:

  • Bachelor's Degree: A degree from an accredited university is essential, regardless of the subject.

  • TEFL/TESOL Certification: A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate is often required. Some institutions may demand a minimum of 120 hours of training.

  • Native English Speaker: Teachers should be native speakers and hold passports from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or South Africa. Non native English speakers can still work in China as a subject teacher, or teaching assistant/manager.

  • Clean Criminal Record: A background check is a standard procedure to ensure the safety of students.

  • Medical Examination: To secure a work visa (Z visa), candidates may need to undergo a medical examination.

Experience is always a plus, but many institutions in Qingdao are willing to hire first-time teachers and provide them with training.

Salary and Benefits for Teaching English in Qingdao

In Qingdao, the salary for English teachers varies based on qualifications, experience, and the type of institution. On average:

  • Public Schools: Monthly salaries range from 10,000 to 15,000 RMB.

  • Private Language Centers: Monthly salaries can range from 12,000 to 18,000 RMB, depending on the hours worked and bonuses. These centers often offer performance-based bonuses and may have weekend classes.

  • International Schools: These tend to offer the highest salaries, ranging from 18,000 to 30,000 RMB per month, based on qualifications and experience.


  • Accommodation: Many schools and institutions provide free or subsidized housing for teachers. If housing is not provided, a housing allowance is typically part of the package.

  • Insurance: Health insurance is generally provided.

  • Paid Vacations: Public holidays and paid vacation days are typically included in teaching contracts.

  • Contract Bonuses: Many institutions offer bonuses upon completion of the contract.

Living costs in Qingdao are lower than in major cities like Beijing or Shanghai, allowing teachers to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and save a significant portion of their salary.

Living in Qingdao

Nestled on China's eastern coastline, Qingdao is known not only for its teaching opportunities but also for its rich history, stunning beaches, and the world-renowned Tsingtao Brewery. A blend of modern architecture and preserved German colonial buildings, the city exudes a unique charm that captures the hearts of both locals and expatriates alike. Let's delve deeper into the vibrant life that awaits in Qingdao:

A Picturesque Coastal City

Qingdao's beaches are among its most famous attractions. The golden sands of No. 1 and No. 2 beaches provide a relaxing escape, while Laoshan, a sacred Taoist mountain, offers breathtaking views of the sea and the city below.

A Taste of Germany in China

The German influence in Qingdao is unmistakable. From the red-roofed German colonial buildings to the Tsingtao Brewery, founded by Germans in 1903, the city's past as a German colony is evident. The annual Qingdao International Beer Festival, often compared to Oktoberfest, is a testament to this lasting influence.

Gastronomic Delights

Being a coastal city, Qingdao offers a delectable range of seafood. From street stalls to high-end restaurants, there's an array of dishes to savor, including clams, prawns, and the local specialty, sea cucumber. Pair this with a glass of fresh Tsingtao beer for a truly local experience.

Mild Climate

The city experiences a temperate monsoon climate, which means mild winters and cool summers. This is particularly attractive to those who might find the extreme temperatures of China's northern or southern regions challenging.

Culturally Rich

Qingdao's blend of cultures has resulted in a rich tapestry of traditions. Festivals, both local and international, are celebrated with zest, and the city's museums, such as the Qingdao Municipal Museum, offer insights into its storied past.

Expat-friendly Environment

Owing to its history and rapid development, Qingdao has a growing expatriate community. International schools, foreign restaurants, and English-speaking medical facilities make the transition easier for newcomers. Moreover, there are various expat groups and clubs where one can socialize and network.

Cost of Living

Living in Qingdao is relatively affordable compared to mega-cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Housing, transportation, and food are all reasonably priced, allowing teachers and other expatriates to enjoy a good standard of living while saving a portion of their income.

Teacher Stories

Alyssa from the USA:
"When I told my friends and family I was moving to Qingdao, the first question was always, 'Where?' But from the moment I arrived, I felt at home. The mix of German architecture, the soft beaches, and of course, the refreshing Tsingtao beer made me fall in love. My students were enthusiastic and the local community was incredibly welcoming. The experience has been nothing short of transformative."

Ian from the UK:
"I've taught in several cities in China, but Qingdao, with its sea breeze and rich history, has a unique charm. The blend of Eastern and Western influences makes it a fascinating place to live and teach. My favorite memory? Climbing Laoshan with my students and looking out over the sprawling city below."

Sasha from South Africa:
"As a lover of seafood, Qingdao was a culinary dream come true. More than that, the bond I formed with my students and colleagues made it a truly special experience. We often visited the local markets together, and they introduced me to dishes I'd never even heard of!"

Declan from Ireland:
"The Qingdao International Beer Festival was a highlight of my time there. I never imagined I'd be sipping German-style beer in China! The city's blend of cultures creates a vibrant, dynamic atmosphere that's perfect for exploring and teaching."

Ella from New Zealand:
"I was initially drawn to Qingdao because of its coastal location. However, what kept me there for three years was the sense of community. Whether it was local families inviting me for dinners or the support from fellow expat teachers, Qingdao felt like home."

Moving Towards Teaching English In Qingdao

Teaching English in Qingdao offers more than just a job; it's an immersion into a city where the East meets West, where tradition blends with modernity.

From its pristine beaches to its bustling markets, from the echoes of its colonial past to its promising future, Qingdao stands as a testament to China's multifaceted identity. As an English teacher, you have the unique opportunity to play a part in this narrative, to engage with eager students and to contribute to their global perspectives.

Moreover, Qingdao offers an attractive package for teachers – not just in terms of salary and benefits, but also in terms of quality of life. Whether you're a first-time teacher looking for an adventure or a seasoned educator seeking a fresh perspective, Qingdao awaits with open arms.

As the world grows more connected, the demand for English education in cities like Qingdao continues to soar. If you're on the fence about where to embark on your teaching journey, consider Qingdao – a city where every day promises new stories, new friendships, and new discoveries.