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Working in Wuhan

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Joined: 09 Dec 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:10 am    Post subject: Working in Wuhan Reply with quote

Can anyone comment on their experiences working in Wuhan?

I'm interested in how the local culture is unique from other big Chinese cities as well.

Has anyone used the new subway?
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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 1151
Location: Wuhan, China

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Some of this is just cut and pasted from an older post I made)

I like living in Wuhan, am based in Wuchang. There is a big enough expat community if that's your thing, but it is also easy to do your own thing. Lots of foreign students, as there are so many universities. Very few people speak English, especially those in shops, restaurants, taxis etc. so having some rudimentary Chinese helps, but is easy to pick up the basics.

The pollution is pretty bad, and the whole city is under construction which doesn't help either. Very dusty, so expect to get sick, especially during the cold winters. Some, particularly first timers, get sick in October/November and finally get over it completely or stop getting sick all the time in March/April. The fact that we are in 'the south' and there is pretty much no central heating or insulation in buildings doesn't help in this regard. Then summers are horribly hot (I actually prefer the winters here). Spring/autumn are relatively short seasons.

I suppose you could say the city is a little crude, especially if you are looking at Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou etc. in comparison, but that is the reason many (including myself) quite like it. I think it depends quite a lot on who you are.

The people are quite noisy, speak loudly, honk car/ebike horns like crazy etc. which is one of the reasons you might get people saying they are rude. Wuhanese people also have a reputation for being a bit sneaky or clever or cunning, which is said they take as a compliment, though not sure if those who say it mean it that way (Hubei people, and Wuhanese in particular, are called 九头鸟 or nine-headed birds--look it up for more detail). Wuhanhua is also not generally considered the most beautiful of the Chinese dialects.

In terms of local culture, there is the usual temples and tourist sites. As with most places in China, food culture is great and varied, and the cooking in Wuhan is mostly influenced by Sichuanese and Hunanese food, so relatively spicy. There is a good provincial history museum, an ok art museum and increasingly more culture like classical music and pop bands that come through (both of which, in the fancy venues, are too expensive for my taste or I am not interested in the performers). There are a couple of smaller live music venues that have local and international bands I have never heard of, but at least are cheap and give you a good night out. Also clubs, which I never go to as that is not really my thing. I lived in London for 9 years before coming here so I notice a lack of cheap, offbeat culture. Perhaps if I spoke more Chinese that would not be the case, but it will not compare to cities like Beijing and Shanghai in this respect.

The new subway is great, as it makes getting from Wuchang to Hankou quick and easy. By the end of this year, when the major east/west line south of the river is set to open, it will make getting around even easier. It is pretty much like most Chinese subways I have been on--cheap, clean, efficient and, at peak times, very crowded. Of course, the latter is also true for most cities.

This expat forum will give you a general idea of what kind of things are going on:

If you have any other questions, post them here or PM me.

Edited to add: Just a little bit on work, as you did mention that. Plenty of high school, university and private teaching available. The following are the general figures for what I see/hear about the most:

Not so sure about high school, but for public university work expect relatively low pay (4,800 - 7,000RMB per month based on experience and the place) with, in my experience, most people starting around 5 - 6,000RMB. These schools usually provide free accommodation (often on-campus, so do a search on the potential pitfalls if you don't know them), flight reimbursement, long holidays (possibly paid, if so summer only if you sign on for next year) and a few more perks. Expect to be teaching anywhere from 10 - 20 periods per week (45 - 50 minutes each), typically Monday - Friday.

Private schools abound, typically pay more (10 - 15,000RMB per month) but usually do not provide accommodation and expect 25 - 30 teaching periods per week, and may be evenings/weekends.

Cost of living is still pretty low in Wuhan compared to the bigger eastern cities. The bus is around 1.5RMB with a transit card, most subway journeys less than 4RMB. Taxis start from 6 or 8RMB. Apartments can be had from 1,500 depending on size, with ones in more modern building starting a little higher than that. Food costs are generally low, and eating out can be cheap as there are lots of smaller restaurants. As always, your lifestyle choices will generally dictate how much you spend/can save. If you don't go crazy, on a university contract at 5,000 a month and a free apartment, you should be able to save at least 1 or 2,000RMB once you settle in and get to know the place. Then again, I know others earning 7,000+ who pretty much live month by month due to spending habits.
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Joined: 09 Dec 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



I've never lived in China and I'm a little anxious about moving there.

I may come up with some more questions when I get there.

very helpful
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Joined: 24 Oct 2010
Posts: 173
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also living in Wuhan. I've been here almost 3 years now (on and off), though I've never lived in other cities so it's hard for me to compare. I'd say Wuhan has less culture as it's pretty much a big, developing city. Lots of bland, concrete apartment buildings and not a whole lot else. Dean_a_jones has said pretty much everything.
I find it's an easy place to make friends as there are loads of students who speak English and lots of foreigners here too.
When do you move here? Let me know and I can show you around if I'm still here.
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Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5778
Location: Coastal Guangdong

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timer wrote:
I'd say Wuhan has less culture as it's pretty much a big, developing city. Lots of bland, concrete apartment buildings and not a whole lot else.

When people come to China they often express a desire to see "the real China." Not sure what the novice is expecting when they say this, pony tailed guys smoking opium and what not. But in order to see the real China, and Chinese culture you need to see a combination of remote and authentic villages, tacky tourist spots, and modern developing cities. That's what this country is all about today, and it's easy to find all three in close proximity to one another no matter where you are in China.
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