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Questions about living and working in Shenzhen.  Questions about activities and nightlife in Shenzhen. 

Shenzhen and Lifestyle

What makes Shenzhen a good city to live in? 

By good, I think you mean “great”. It’s a fantastic city to live in! Shenzhen is continually in the top 10 for cleanest air in China. It’s a modern tier-1 city with everything one can find.

Is China safe?

China is extremely safe. You may refer to these SDE non-affiliated videos for more information:



Are the gyms where I can exercise?

Yes, there are plenty of gyms here in China. Usually a gym membership will cost around 3,000-4,000 RMB per year in central areas (or nice gyms) and around 2,000-3,000 RMB per year for non-central gyms. 

What are some outdoor activities I can do in Shenzhen?

Yes, there are many outdoor activities in Shenzhen. From surfing to hiking and rock climbing, Shenzhen has a very active outdoor scene.

How does Shenzhen compare to other international cities, what is the atmosphere like?

Shenzhen is a very young, diverse city with dynamic energy. You will not find another city in China with the passion and variety of Shenzhen.

What's the nightlife like in Shenzhen?

There is nightlife in all districts in Shenzhen. However, the most popular locations are Coco Park and Shekou. Since Shenzhen is a very young city, it attracts young people and therefore offers a great night life wherever you are in the city.

Any good coffee shop/restaurant recommendations?

Coffee shops are becoming more and more popular in China, and especially Shenzhen. You won’t have any trouble finding coffee shops and as well as restaurants. Eventually, you will find the one that fits your palate.

Is the weather/humidity bearable?

It's located in a sub-tropical climate. Expect typhoon season to come around Spring and Fall! You will definitely be sweating in the summer months! Please refer to the SDE packing list for what to bring to beat the heat!

Is it easy to find other expats to socialize with?

Yes, it is easy to find other expats to socialize with. Shenzhen has a big and active expat community. If you have an interest in something, let someone know and they will find a group of likeminded people for you. Remember, the most important social tool in China is WeChat!

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20

Questions about going to see the doctor in China, and questions about general health in China that you might have.


Is it convenient to see a doctor? Are there English speaking doctors in Shenzhen? Is it affordable?

Your Foreign Teacher Management Specialist will accompany you to the hospital if anything ever occurs. While a lot of the staff in clinics hospitals do not speak fluent English, most of the doctors will be able to speak conversational English.

What does the social and accidental insurance cover?

Social insurance, at most, can cover up to 90% of inpatient fees. The accurate rate depends on the medicine used and services covered in the visit. Accident insurance can cover up to ¥10,000 RMB in a contract period (1 year) as long as it applies to the accident insurance. For more information, please ask your Foreign Teacher Management Specialist.

Can I live a healthy lifestyle in Shenzhen? 

If you seek a healthy lifestyle, you will find it. There are plenty of fruit and vegetable stalls all around Shenzhen. The air is very clean and provides a good environment for any outdoor exercise. Additionally, there are plenty of gyms and athletic centers.

I need to bring medicine with me to China. What and how much am I allowed to bring?

Before leaving, please check with the airline you plan to take for the most up-to-date and accurate information for airline rules and regulations regarding medicines. As for crossing borders, remember to bring any prescriptions with you. For refills, trips to Hong Kong are convenient and western medicines are readily available.

I am sick and have to teach a class. What can I do?

First, let your specialist and contact teacher at the school know that you are sick. If you must take sick leave, you must let both SDE and the school know first. If you can teach class but need to keep your energy down, discuss this with a teacher at the school and see if you can find an activity for the students to do independently. For more info about keeping your health and teaching while sick, read our teacher's blog, Alex, on his website at How The Hell Do I Teach, I've Lost My Voice Again

How do I stay healthy in China?

Teachers will inevitably get sick because of changes to the new environment. For this reason, we recommend that you bring a variety of medications from your home country to combat things like the flu, diarrhea, and other general illnesses.

In addition to this, we also recommend that you keep the following advice in mind:

·         Do not drink tap water in China. Drink boiled or bottled water only.

·         Eat completely cooked food only.

·         Avoid food carts and vendors that are not there consistently.

·         Don’t swim in rivers or lakes.

Do I need any immunizations before coming to China?

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Additionally, we strongly recommend teachers to get Hepatitis A and B as well as Typhoid vaccine.

I am concerned about the pollution in China. What is that like in Shenzhen? 

Shenzhen is consistently ranked in the top 10 cities for cleanest air in China. You can refer to this SDE non-affiliated video for more information: www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_DNf40z3m0&t=1s

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20

 Here is the SDE Packing list for our incoming teachers.

Download the PDF version here

SDE New Teacher Packing ListSDE New Teacher Packing List


Depending on your body type, you may be able to find some items here, however, it is suggested you bring 4 seasons worth of options.

Summer: 100% humidity, temperatures reaching about 38-39⁰C/100-102⁰F

Fall: Typhoon season with high temperatures and humidity

Spring: Hot, humid and rainy

Winter: Cool temperatures with some rain and extreme dampness. Often feels colder than weather report.
NOTE: apartments and buildings in Shenzhen are not insulated or heated. Be prepared to layer up.



If you are under 5’6 with a smaller   build, you will probably be able to shop well here. If you are not, bring   what you think you might need for the year.


For work: most schools don’t enforce a strict dress code. Business casual at most. Best to avoid any clothing that is too revealing. Covering up tattoos is also necessary.

Be sure to bring most things you need, as it is difficult to find things in a bigger make here. If you are over 5’10   with a larger build, you may find it hard to shop here, but not impossible!


For work: most schools don’t enforce a strict dress code. Business casual at most.

Polo’s and collared shirts are great. Best to avoid any clothing that is too revealing. Covering up tattoos is also necessary.

T-shirts (linen and cotton are best for summer)

T-shirts (linen and cotton are best for summer)

Tank tops (linen and cotton are best for summer)

Collared shirts and polo’s

Long sleeve shirts

Long sleeve shirts


Dress shirt/tie







Dress pants

Dress pants



Capri pants

Quick dry pants

Casual and fancy dresses (you will most likely attend some fancy events at your school) so be sure to bring some options)

Bathing suit

Quick dry pants

Active wear

Bathing suit


Active wear

Waterproof rain jacket


Light winter jacket

Waterproof rain jacket

Light winter jacket




Women’s shoes are widely available in sizes up to (40 EU) (8 U.S.) Larger sizes are seldom available.

Men’s shoes are widely available in sizes up to (42/43 EU) or (9/10 U.S.) Larger sizes are seldom available.

Sandals/flip flops

Sandals/flip flops

Running shoes

Running shoes

Dress shoes

Dress shoes

Comfortable work shoes

Comfortable work shoes

Waterproof/ footwear (Crocs work well in this climate and have many styles that are acceptable for work and other activities)

Waterproof/ footwear (Crocs work well in this climate and have many styles that are acceptable for work and other activities)

Hiking shoes

Hiking shoes


Medicine (most can be found here in China)





Pepto Bismal/GasX/Tums


Cold and Flu Remedy

Cough Syrup

Antihistamine (some countries don’t allow these through customs, so double check your flight path before packing)

Anti-itch/fungal cream

Eye drops

Top up on prescriptions before you come and bring the pads with you

Birth control (although, you can get it over-the-counter in Hong Kong)


Vitamins (most can be found here in China)






Hygiene and Toiletries

Deodorant (one year supply but can also be found in select stores)


Floss (do it every day!)

Emergency pocket tissues (no paper in bathrooms here in China)


Feminine Hygiene

Tampons (not available here)

Pads (you can get them here, however, there have been issues with quality)

Diva Cup (to avoid have to bring the above two)


Bath (most can be found here in China)

Travel-size set of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and wash cloth (to get you started)

Beard trimmer (ensure you have a convertor with surge protection)

Sensitive skin products

*Many chain stores offer western brands for products such as shampoo/ conditioner, body wash, soap, face wash, cleansers, creams, etc.



Hair products for curly or ethnic hair

Hair straightener (ensure you have a convertor with surge protection)

Curling iron (ensure you have a convertor with surge protection)

Make-up: Lighter or darker skin tones are harder to match, but most products are available at Sephora and other beauty shops

*You can find make-up and specialty items


Weather Accessories

Waterproof shoes or boots and jacket

Quick dry pants


Rain cover for backpack

Sunscreen (most in China have whitening ingredients)



Laptop or tablet

External battery for phone (very important!)

An unlocked smartphone (you can get a here, but if you already have a working phone you can easily get a sim card here)

Surge protected electrical converter

USB and portable hard drive (can get them here, however it’s good to come prepared for lesson sharing, etc. during orientation)

Note: Shenzhen is a great place to find any sort of electronics. The city is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Asia.


Internet Access: VPN

China restricts access to sites such as Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, some news sources, etc. To be able to view these sites, it is recommended you download a VPN to your laptop/tablet and smartphone before you arrive. Note: Netflix may still be blocked even with a VPN.


Express and Astrill VPN is highly recommended by expats:




Work Documents **VERY IMPORTANT** (digital and physical copies)

Please refer to the visa guide and other support materials sent by your recruiter.

If you have any questions, please ask your recruiter, specialist, or visa handler. 

Other Documents (digital and physical copies)

Medical prescriptions (for lenses or   medication)

Credit/debit and insurance cards

Contact details of friends, family, SDE employees

Travel tickets and/or travel itinerary

Luggage tags

Driver’s license (not needed, but good to have)

Travelers cheques

Copy of cards you previously used or currently use




Before you leave home

Watch Orientation videos!

Ensure vaccines are up-to-date and check to see if you need any others (should have done previously)

Doctor check-up (should have done previously)

Dental check-up

Optometrist check-up

Tax information – find out what you will need to claim before it’s time to file (you may need to set money aside each month)

Set a travel alert on your bank

Take care of any online accounts such as changing passwords, taking off SMS protection, etc.  (most accounts will lock you out due to inconsistencies of login location)


Packing Tips

·         Make digital and photocopies of everything that you can

·         Take care of packing the most important things first (visa documents, other documents, prescriptions, etc.)

·         Despite the long packing list, try not to pack too many unnecessary things

·         Roll your clothes instead of folding them (saves room and no wrinkles!)

·         Prepare teaching materials in advance (download songs, videos and ppt games before coming)

·         Take a few gifts for teachers, students, recruiter and specialist!


发布时间: 2018 - 04 - 03

Whatever you want to call it, TEFL, TESOL, or whatever you might have heard, teaching English as a foreign language can be a difficult concept for people to grasp.  People often say, “How can you teach English to people if you don't already speak their language?”, but it's not as difficult as you might think, and there are many companies, with many programs designed to help you build a foundation to become a great teacher of English to speakers of other languages, regardless of what language they speak. 

New to TEFL

Click here to learn more

To meet China work visa requirements, we recommend the TFA 120 hour online course which will be reimbursed by SDE upon your arrival.

SDE partners with an organization called TFA Academy.  TFA is a  globally recognized TEFL provider, and they provide a certification that is accepted in China to qualify for your Chinese working Z visa.    

If you don't already have a TEFL, that's okay, just reflect that in your application and someone from our hiring team will tell you how we can help you to get certified, and qualify to teach in China.  After all, if we think you'll be a great teacher, we want to help you get over any obstacles that might get in your way of coming to China and being an asset to our team.  

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20

Preparing for Your School Interview, Skype Interview or Video Submission 

1. What to Wear 


Please make sure you are well presented, regardless of whether you will be there in person, online or in front of a camera. This means business casual, at least. 


2. What to Talk About 


a. Who You Are: One of the first things the school will want to know is who you are, here's a list to help you prepare: 

 i. Name 

ii. Age 

iii. Where you are from 

iv. Summary of teaching and/or education 

v. Why you want to teach in Shenzhen or this age group (or even better, in this particular school) 


b. Relevant Experience:  Consider what you have done that makes you suitable for working at this particular school. Do you have similar experience? Have you worked with kids of the same age before? Make a list. 


c. Your Interests: What interests do you have that might excite the school? Beyond just wanting to teach EFL, do you have other things to offer? Music? Drama? Art? Sports? Make a list. 


d. Consider Your Audience: All schools will have their own individual expectations, and you can always ask us if you are looking for more guidance. In the meantime, here are some general tips based on different types of school: 


Public Schools in general will want teachers who can excite their students' interest in English and become an active member of the school’s staff. With this in mind you should think about how you will engage and excite large classes of students that you only see once a week, and how you are willing to get involved with the school outside of your weekly classes. 


Kindergartens and Primary Schools will be looking for more lively teachers who can inspire their young students. How can you show this in your interview? If that's not your style, but you're still confident of teaching these ages, how can you show that? 


Middle Schools and High Schools will expect more experienced, and perhaps more “serious” teachers. Think about how you will demonstrate that during your interview. 


Make a list to prepare for your target school. 


e. Show Your Interest (Interview Only): One great way to express your interest in a school is to come prepared with a list of questions about them and how they do things. Just be careful not to ask too many overly-specific questions, as these may be difficult for school reps to answer and leave them embarrassed. Here are some suggestions: 

 i. What grades would you like me to teach? 

ii. What topics would you like me to teach? 

iii. Is there a textbook? Would you like me to follow it? 

iv. Are there any activities you would like me to help with? 

v. What are the students at your school like? 


These are good questions that show an interest in teaching, the students and helping the school. 


3. Skype Interviews and Video Submissions 


a. Environment: What's behind you? Is it distracting? Does it give a bad impression? Is it noisy where you are? Are there other people or sounds that might interrupt your interview or recording? Eliminate all these factors before you start. 


b. Dry Run: Can you do a trial run with a 1 minute video or Skype call to a friend or family member? This would be a great way to make sure your voice is clear and the video quality is good. If you identify problems through a trial run, you can avoid wasting time and potentially missing the opportunity to say more during your interview

发布时间: 2017 - 07 - 20
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