SDE International - Shenzhen

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Summer is here, which means no teaching!

Unless, you know, you’re teaching a summer holiday camp or doing private tutoring or teaching online classes. As we all know, the options are endless when it comes to teaching in China.

Hopefully you’re getting some travel time in while the weather’s warm (or blisteringly hot if you’re in the south), but there are plenty of things to do wherever you’re living when you’re not jet setting around Asia. Take advantage of your extra free time to explore your area and have fun right where you are.

Here are some ideas for what to do during those long hot summer days in China:

1.  Go To Karaoke

If you haven’t been to karaoke (called KTV in China) yet, you’re seriously missing out.

Forget what ideas you might have about American karaoke: instead of doing your best Britney in a smoky crowded bar while a drunk man in the back tries to harmonize, you’ll be in a private room with all your friends, choosing songs off a screen and singing along into provided microphones.

You can sit down, relax, and enjoy snacks and drinks from a convenience store area in many karaoke bars. If you hate the pressure of singing in front of strangers but love jamming along with your favorite tunes, KTV is seriously the best option for you.

Grab some pals and make a night of it. You won’t be disappointed.

2.  Ride Around Town On A Mobike

These rental bikes are pretty much everywhere in China. There are a few different brands: Ofo, Mobike, Bluegogo, and more. Seriously: new shared bike brands are popping up all the time. You’ve probably ridden these bikes around before, and if you haven’t you’re seriously missing out.

A summer day is the perfect time to hop on a bike and get out of town, past where the subway goes. Ride to a park, a museum, or a lake: anywhere you can relax and just enjoy your life as the day rolls ever on.

3.  Start A Travel Blog

You’ve probably been accumulating a ton of killer pictures during your time abroad, but you can only post on Instagram so many times before you start looking like this.

Take your time off during the summer and start posting your pictures and experiences on your very own travel blog, where you can have the freedom to talk at length about the pieces of your expat experience that are most meaningful to you.

The key to starting a travel (or teaching) blog is to not be too hard on yourself: it can be as in-depth or as brief as you want, and you can post detailed rundowns of your life every day or post pictures every other week or month. Make it your own! Just give yourself an outlet to be yourself on.

4.  Take Mandarin Lessons

If you’ve been telling yourself you’ll learn Chinese for ages but keep finding reasons to delay starting, now’s the time. I’d recommend finding a tutor in your area because a real in-person tutor can help you correct your pronunciation and grammar in real-time, and you can practice conversational Mandarin with them.

And if you’re lucky, you might even become friends with your tutor! My tutor’s taught me how to cook delicious Chinese food like dumplings, hooked me up with teaching opportunities, and even invited me to go hiking with her and her friends! Your tutor can be a window not just into Chinese language but into Chinese culture. And who would say no to another friend?

If you can’t find an in-person tutor, don’t worry. There are tons of resources you can use to start studying Chinese online now. Head to your local bookshop and look for some textbooks to use, or pick up some children’s books for some good practice studying Mandarin.

You can also use online resources like The Chairman’s Bao, Memrise, and Skritter to study. The number of options is endless, and you can of course practice your speaking skills everywhere you go in China!


Even if you’re working through the summer, it’s important to take time for yourself — and not squander your time living in China. I hope you can try out some of these summer activities, or that at least this article inspires you to find an outlet that you’re passionate about.

I’d love to hear from you! Post in the comments what your summer plans are this year. Happy adventures!


SDE International - Shenzhen

New teaching jobs in China interviewing now, apply today!

About the Author:

Molly Oberstein-Allen
Molly Oberstein-Allen graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a philosophy degree and currently teaches English in Shenzhen, China. She enjoys travelling and meeting new friends.
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