Housing in China
We get a lot of questions about housing in China for teachers and rightly so, if you are going to be spending a year or possibly longer living and teaching in China you need to know you will be comfortable and have a nice place to call home. Housing in China varies considerably and the number of new apartments being built across the country is staggering. Over 50% of the world’s tall cranes are in China.
Free housing in China provided for teachers
Nearly all schools provide their teachers with free, furnished housing for the duration of the teaching contract, shared with one other teacher. Teachers have their own bedroom and a shared living room, kitchen, bathroom and sometimes a dining room and small balcony. The housing is located near the school, usually within a 10 minute walk, if not a short bike or bus ride away. For someone arriving to teach in China for the first time having accommodation provided is a huge benefit and makes the transition a lot smoother and easier as you will not have to search for housing in China and will not be paying any rent.
Options for getting your own housing in China
Most schools will also give you the option of renting your own housing in China if you prefer not to share with another teacher. This option is usually best for couples coming to China together or those who have been living in China for at least a year and have settled in. If you opt for your own housing in China the school usually pays you an allowance of roughly half the monthly rent and you will be responsible for the remainder. It is worth noting that if you select this option you will likely have to sign a 12 month housing contract yourself and pay a one or two month deposit. The school will usually assist with finding a suitable place and act as a translator between you and the landlord but even so, it is a lot easier to take the free housing in China provided by the school.
Items included in the housing in China
Housing provided by the schools come furnished with all the essentials such as a fridge, TV, furniture, a washing machine and air conditioning. All housing in China will have a Western style sit-down toilet, the squat-style toilets are only found in public restrooms. Amenities typically provided in the apartment in China are:
- Double bed
- Western-style mattress
- Table/dressing table
- Air conditioner
- Gas hob
- Microwave oven
- Table + two chairs
- Coffee table
- Air conditioning
- Arm chair
- Adequate lighting
- Western-style toilet
- Washing machine
Rental prices in China
For those who decide to rent their own apartments in China, in a typical city, a clean apartment between 5 and 10 years old with 60 – 80 square feet of space and one bedroom with nearby shops, restaurants and a supermarket will typically cost 1,800 – 2,500 RMB (280 – 400 USD) per month. Schools will usually provide a housing allowance of between 500 – 1,000 RMB (80 – 160 USD) per month towards the cost and the teacher will pay the rest. To rent a house in Shanghai or Beijing the same apartment will likely cost between 3,000 – 4,500 RMB (480 – 700 USD) per month.
For a shared apartment with 2 or 3 bedrooms you can expect to pay about 20 – 40% less each than the prices quoted above.
Obviously prices will vary depending on the age of apartment, location, size and amenities.
Utility bills to pay per month for apartments in China
Whether you opt for the free housing provided by the school or decide to take the housing allowance to rent your own place, you will be responsible for the monthly utility bills. These don’t total much at all in China, on average between 150 – 400 RMB (20 – 60 USD) per month. Bills are a little higher in hotter cities in the summer as the air conditioner will be in use regularly. The total usually breaks down as follows:
- Internet: 100 – 150 RMB
- Cable TV: 100 RMB
- Gas: 100 RMB
- Water: 50 RMB
- Electricity: 50 RMB
Internet in China
Contrary to what a lot of people expect, the internet in China is readily available and very fast, especially in cities. You can expect a fast broadband and wireless internet connections in your house in China for roughly 100 RMB (15 USD) per month. Teachers are usually responsible for the cost and if you are moving in to an apartment with another teacher, chances are it will already be set up. If not, it is easy to set up and the school can assist with that, expect to be online within a week of arrival. Internet cafes are also very popular with the Chinese, where they generally meet for online gaming on large screens and lightening fast connections. Prices are very low indeed, you can use the computers for roughly 3 hours for 10 RMB (1.50 USD).
Hiring an maid for your house in China
It is very common in China for English teachers to have a maid who visits once a week to clean the entire house. Given the low cost of labour this option can be very cost effective way to keep your apartment nice and clean.
Things to be aware of with apartments in China
Older apartments in China often do not have elevators if the building is lower than 8 floors.
Housing in China does not come with an oven as most cooking is done on a gas stove, although it is possible to buy a small oven from the supermarket for around 400 RMB (60 USD).
Most houses in China do not have baths as people generally prefer to shower and also because bathrooms are smaller than most in the west. There are options for public baths that include steam rooms, saunas and small pools of varying temperatures at a very reasonable price.
The electricity at houses in China is 220V, 50 HZ, AC and come with two standard power sockets, as can be seen in the picture. Power adaptors can be bought at any local electrical shop in China very cheaply which will allow you to use electrical products from abroad.
Gold Star TEFL Recruitment has been assisting teachers secure the very best teaching jobs in China since 2009 and has close connections with China’s leading schools. For details on teaching jobs at major language schools have a look through our website and submit an application today.