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Pandarollroll

Suzhou vs Shanghai?

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Pandarollroll

I'm not sure if I'll get any replies before I have to sign something, but I figure it's worth a try. I've been interviewing for months and I'm feeling pretty exhausted at this point.

 

So I'm having a hard time deciding between two positions, one in Shanghai and one in Suzhou. The salaries are exactly the same. The Suzhou opportunity provides an apartment [looks new from the pictures and has all the essentials] which gives me at least a 4K+ RMB advantage over Shanghai, but it's over an hour by metro (maybe about 40 minutes by taxi which seems to run around 60-70RMB one-way) away from the hub of the city, it has a curfew(back before midnight), and I need to ask to have people over to hangout! Still, by staying in the provided apartment, I could be saving a solid 48,000(+) RMB a year by living in Suzhou (compared to losing that 4k+ each month in Shanghai).

 

But at the same time, I feel like my experiences gained through the Shanghai position would allow me to tap into a group of high school students who are preparing for specific tests to go abroad, which might be very profitable for private tutoring in a large international city. If this was the case, then I could make up for the difference in living costs and I might be able to outpace my Suzhou savings and earnings from private tutoring, combined. This company also operates back in my motherland, so I could bounce back and forth in the future.

 

With all that being said, would it be challenging to get a strong tutoring network in Suzhou, especially while living a bit away from the center of the city?  Also, is there a big difference in earning potential/tutoring rates between both cities? I just keep have this image of Shanghai in my mind of there being large wealthy communities, but I also know there are significantly more expats tutoring in Shanghai, which means increased competition.

 

Thanks for any advice.

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889

No problem with Suzhou, nice in some respects to be in a smaller place near a great metropolis, but not if you're an hour away from central Suzhou.

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roddy

Suzhou's small only by comparison - it's still a city of 4 million people and will have plenty of opportunities. But you seem pretty set on developing tutoring work, and for that it's very helpful to be in the centre.

 

Curfews in China are rarely that tough - you might have to wake someone up to let you in, but you don't have to sleep on the streets. 

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889

Well, wait till you see the gruff old guy you'll have to wake up! You might prefer the streets.

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ZhangKaiRong

Suzhou is a lovely city. And I also know that it always depends on the individual's personality, but friends working as English teacher in China seem to be happier in normal-sized cities than those in metropolises. And it seems that from the financial point of view, the Suzhou offer seems more beneficial as well.

 

Our curfew at the university was more like 意思意思 than an actual strict control.

- We had an older lady as a doorman, and she was a night owl type. If you got back to the dorm before 1.30, you had a good chance to find her awake.

- If she fell asleep, well, then you had two options: 1. wake her up by knocking on the window or 2. climb the fence. I usually used the second option, as what we had as a fence was actually slightly shorter than me, and more like a climbing element you can find in the playgrounds. However, after some alcohol consumption, you could cause quite a noise, in the end applying option 1 as well :)

 

So don't take curfews too seriously in China, it won't be a big deal.

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Pandarollroll
1 hour ago, 889 said:

No problem with Suzhou, nice in some respects to be in a smaller place near a great metropolis, but not if you're an hour away from central Suzhou.

I feel like it's similar to Shunyi District in Beijing, where they stick international schools far out for more land and it takes about the same amount of time to get to the center of the city as where I would work. Do you think the distance makes it not worth it? I have no idea how many of my own students I could tutor or how things would fair locally in that district, so I probably would be making the commute several times a week. Alternatively, I could rent an apartment somewhere that is halfway between the center of Suzhou and the school, but then I would lose a couple thousand RMB every month, so I'm not sure if that would be worth it.

 

I'm just thinking I'll have to earn that rent money back in Shanghai to break even and then go above that point to reach my overall goal, which could (no idea) mean tutoring for almost twice as many hours (5 vs 10), if the rates were the same in both cities (also no idea if they will be). I want the excitement of Shanghai and mastering teaching test prep could be really useful and profitable, but a more laid-back lifestyle and a school with really nice benefits make Suzhou sound great too.

 

I'm rambling.:mrgreen:

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889

What's the point of living in China if you can't just walk outside and enjoy the street life.

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somethingfunny

How big is the Suzhou metro?  One hour from the hub of the city seems a bit much to me.  Can't you get from Suzhou to Shanghai in an hour?

 

Also, isn't Suzhou a bit weird, with different "hub's"?  I think there's a big tourist bit right in the middle, but you probably don't want to be living there.

 

How far away from the Shanghai "hub" is 4,000RMB a month going to get you an apartment?

 

Shanghai will have more high school students doing test prep for going overseas, but it will also have a very mature, very well developed and very competitive private education market.  It might take you a while to build up a reputation and I don't imagine you'll be doing much to attract the very best students.  At this point, I think the overseas people best placed to enter the private education market in a place like Shanghai and make a lot of money are people who have worked as admissions officers at Ivy League universities.  Those guys kill it.  Having said that, the rumours on rates for private tuition suggest you could make a decent amount anywhere.  Suzhou probably won't pay as much as Shanghai, but it'll probably still pay very well compared to the rest of China.

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Chris Two Times

Go for both?

 

Start smaller with Suzhou and after a couple of years head to the big smoke of Shanghai and cash in?

 

Just my two 份

 

twowheel

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Pandarollroll
8 hours ago, somethingfunny said:

How big is the Suzhou metro?  One hour from the hub of the city seems a bit much to me.  Can't you get from Suzhou to Shanghai in an hour?

 

Also, isn't Suzhou a bit weird, with different "hub's"?  I think there's a big tourist bit right in the middle, but you probably don't want to be living there.

 

How far away from the Shanghai "hub" is 4,000RMB a month going to get you an apartment?

 

Shanghai will have more high school students doing test prep for going overseas, but it will also have a very mature, very well developed and very competitive private education market.  It might take you a while to build up a reputation and I don't imagine you'll be doing much to attract the very best students.  At this point, I think the overseas people best placed to enter the private education market in a place like Shanghai and make a lot of money are people who have worked as admissions officers at Ivy League universities.  Those guys kill it.  Having said that, the rumours on rates for private tuition suggest you could make a decent amount anywhere.  Suzhou probably won't pay as much as Shanghai, but it'll probably still pay very well compared to the rest of China.

 

 

I think the Suzhou metro is well-developed now, but from the school I would need to ride the bus for a while and then get on a subway to reach the center. Or just spend more money and take a taxi for 30-40 minutes, which would probably put me back around 2,000RMB a month if I tutored several times a week.

 

In Shanghai there is a Pudong location and a Puxi location, and it seems like I would be stationed at the Pudong location. The district with the center seems to be a bit more residential with a solid amount of international schools. I'm not exactly sure where the best place to do business in Shanghai is located, but from the company's center to the areas around The Bund it would take 30 minutes by taxi and 1 hour by metro (according to my map). Strangely, if I lived closer to the metro station which is on the same road as the company's center, the map says it would reduce the public transportation time down to just 30 minutes. On a Chinese rental website, I searched areas with short walks to metro stations that allow for an easy transition from the company's neighborhood to areas like Huangpu District, The Bund, and the Pearl Tower (to get to any of these places would take between 10-20 mins by metro and less time by taxi), and I found lots of solid places with prices in 4000's.

 

Hopefully the fiercer competition in Shanghai doesn't make me stagnate and fall behind, I love a good gamble though:mrgreen:. My Chinese is already at a ‘solid' level, so with a bit of time in China, I should have that up to where I want it and that should help with networking as well.

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