Deciding to teach English in Shenzhen will introduce you to one of the great cities of the world. The bustling megacity in southern Guangdong has become massively popular with expats from across the globe thanks to its sunny climate, great outdoor space and lively nightlife. Join us as we take a look at what living in Shenzhen can offer you.
Shenzhen’s Expat Community
Shenzhen’s expat community is as sizable as you may expect given the sheer scale of the city. This is always an important aspect for foreigners to consider before they make the move to another country, as having a group of friends who speak the same language as you can make the transition so much easier.
There a wide variety of people of different nationalities living in Shenzhen. Apart from the sizable ESL teaching contingent from native speaking countries, I found that Serbia, Brazil, Ukraine and many more diverse countries are well represented.
This diverse populace has had an impact on the cultural side of Shenzhen. There are often events aimed at Westerners, such as international beer festivals, foodie events, board game nights and more. If sport is your passion you will find that Shenzhen offers its own rugby team, many football pitches. Even the Irish sport, Gaelic Football, has a team representing Shenzhen in the Asian Games!
Shenzhen’s Green Spaces
In 1979 Shenzhen was little more than a small fishing village which acted as home to just 3,000 people. Fast Forward forty years and it has become one of the largest cities in the world, with skyscrapers reaching for the sky at every turn. However, don’t think that this rapid growth means that the city is just another concrete jungle. Far from it!
When the city planners laid out their vision for the city, they were careful to incorporate green spaces across the landscape. The result is that Shenzhen is littered with parks big and small which offer a tranquil oasis of calm within the city. Futian’s Lianhuashan Park is one such example, and it provides a lovely setting for a sunny day. Meanwhile, Shenzhen Bay Park offers biking and running paths along the Bay with beautiful views of Hong Kong. The fresh air blowing across from the water is greatly appreciated in the humid summer months.
Aside from the parks, Shenzhen also benefits from having mountains within the city limits. Nanshan Mountain is close to the city center and is a popular, and relatively easy, hike for many. For the more ambitious among you, the 943 meter Wutong Mountain runs from Luohu to Yantian. This is a challenging climb, but you will be rewarded with spectacular views from the summit.
The Shenzhen nightlife is best described as vibrant and varied. Across the city you will find nightclubs frequented by expats and locals alike, and there are large spaces dedicated to allow those living in Shenzhen to let their hair down.
One of the most popular areas in Shenzhen is SeaWorld. This SeaWorld has no relation to the aquatic parks found in the West, rather it is a bustling area filled with bars, restaurants, nightclubs and even a huge boat that has been repurposed as a nightclub and restaurant!
In downtown Futian, Coco Park is a sprawling leisure facility that boasts a lively array of nightclubs and bars, while its popular “bar street” is said to have drawn inspiration from the legendary Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong. If you walk for ten minutes from this Shenzhen institution you will find many more Western bars, international restaurants, shopping malls and the huge Ping An Tower.
If you prefer a quieter evening then Overseas Chinese Town, more commonly referred to as OCT, could be for you. This a large area dedicated more to art installations, live music and niche eateries. Here you can find jazz sessions, huge varieties of IPA’s and a selection of Shenzhen’s coolest cocktail bars.