English teaching jobs are all over China and very popular among westerners that are looking to find work abroad. For teaching in China, some prefer northern China, and more prefer southern China. From what I have experienced and heard from foreigner teachers, here are some differences and the reasons for teaching in either the north or the south.
First, about English teaching jobs in the north, there are several points that make foreigners choose the northern cities. Many foreigners care more about the weather. Northern China usually has four different seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter. Each season has its feature and you will see different scenery, You don’t have to worry about the high temperature in the summer and no need to worry about severe cold in winter, since there is a heater, and you can wear more clothes. Using air-conditioner is more expensive and not always healthy. Besides this, northern China has a lower living cost than the south. Most things will be cheaper than in the south. The salary might be similar but you can live a better life or save more money. Suppose the pay is higher, northern will be more fascinating. And for the people from the north, they are more straightforward and hospitable. Their way of thinking or behaving is simpler. Maybe it’s easier to communicate with each other. As for the language local people speak, northern people can speak a more standard Chinese language. It’s easier to understand if you speak some Mandarin. Since dialect is not that strong in the north, especially in the northeast and Beijing area. A lot of foreigners that are looking for English teaching jobs in China care about the language barrier. What’s more, northern China has many places of historical interest, like Beijing summer palace, Xi’an Terra Cotta Warriors, the Dunhuang Caves, the Great Wall and etc. In the north, there are many coastal cities, like Dalian, Qinhuangdao , Qingdao, Rizhao, Yantai and etc. Therefore, north can fulfill your ideas of living close to the sea like in your home country. That’s not a problem at all.
Secondly, I would like to talk about English teaching jobs in the south. To be honest, most foreigners prefer to find an ESL teacher job in the south of China. Their reasons are as followings, south is less polluted and warmer, south has better scenery, south has a better pay and etc. It is true that southern cities are warmer and have more greenery. It rains a lot in the south especially in Sichuan, Chongqing and Guangdong area. If you like humid and hot climate, south is a better choice. However, in the south, the temperature is similar in and outside. That would be much better if there is an air conditioner. In the most south, it snows little. What you can see are mainly summer days, girls wearing dresses often, trees, flowers and birds everywhere in the countryside and all year round. Water seldom freezes, especially in Guangdong and Guangxi area, maybe they never freeze. As for the air quality in the south, most foreigners think it’s much better than the north. It’s generally better in the south, but not all. Guangxi and Fujian are regarded as the cleanest provinces, plus some cities in Guangdong. Many foreigners choose to go to Guangdong for English teaching jobs, because it’s convenient to travel to HongKong where they can extend their visa and visit interesting places, shop with friends, experience the western life in China. About the monthly pay in the south, more southern cities especially south-eastern cities do offer a higher pay than northern cities, since the living cost there is much higher. As far as I know, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong are the most expensive places. More foreigners are living, working and traveling in the south. There are more foreigners residential communities in the south. Therefore, life in the south sounds more interesting for foreigners.
In conclusion, different foreigners have different ideas about where they teach. They have their own standards and sometimes just because there are more friends working in some area, they decide to go there. My suggestion is considering all good offers in a less polluted city. If you are open to see more cities in China, you will find there are so many good job opportunities spread. All cities have their own features, advantages and disadvantages. Follow your heart and listen to some honest advice from good agents, that helps as well. They will give you a direction.