I come from a small town in Wales, locally known as the garden by the sea, Penarth near the Welsh capital of Cardiff. I have always been surrounded by parks, flowers, green spaces and also near to the river and the sea. I learned about English Teaching Jobs in China and when I decided to make the journey to China, for a year in public school, what did I expect to see?
Well, many TV shows show the countryside and the deserts of China, so I knew it was not all concrete blocks and buildings. I also had visited Hong Kong about 10 years before, so I hoped there would be green parks and open areas.I had read up on Shenzhen, where I was going, and saw some youtube videos. It all looked like metal and steel, it looked modern but was there just glitzy architecture and nothing else?
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Shenzhen has many open spaces and green parks where you can escape from the crowds – unless it is a particularly busy day.
The first week in Shenzhen I was in a hotel near Dongmen, while others were seeking the bars I was exploring the local area. It seemed to be all shops and buildings but I soon found some areas like the boating lake and People’s Park.
People’s Park is the park that specialises in roses, it seems many parks have a specific plant or flower that they grow and show off when in bloom.
From then on I just discovered more and more parks around the city, I really was, and still am, astonished by the number and variety.
These are just a few examples: Donghu park has a small zoo, art gallery and amusement park, Honghu Park has a wonderful lake which has lots of lotus flowers. and Lianhua Park is near the city centre and has a nice hike up to a statue of Deng Xiaoping looking out over the Civic Centre.
I will not try to name all the parks and areas of greenery, there are just too many, but let me say this, if you want to find a space in a city this large, it really is possible.
How about my living near the water? Well Shenzhen fulfills that criteria as well. It used to be a little difficult to get to the coastal path at Shenzhen Bay, but now there is a metro station that gets you straight there.There is a wonderful path along the mangrove here. You can walk for miles next to the water, taking in all the wildlife, the wading birds and fish leaping from the water. You can see the bridge to Hong Kong as you walk further along here.
I have not even mentioned the hiking routes all around the city, up and down mountains and hills. Most have steps and designated pathways. You can stretch your legs and fill up your lungs with fresh air. Yes, Shenzhen has pretty good air quality.
So if you are wary of coming to a Chinese city, thinking it will be grey concrete and sterile streets, you maybe pleasantly surprised. There are many green areas. You can walk, jog, cycle the greenways and enjoy nature. You can also go fishing and enjoy flying a kite in the park.
If you want to give Shenzhen or another city in China a go, maybe try teaching English. Contact Seadragon Education Limited for more opportunities.
Andrew William Gibbs is an English Teacher in Shenzhen, China. He’s been working as English teacher in a Public School teaching Chinese students with oral English lessons. In this article, he shared his personal experience living in Shenzhen City. Shenzhen is a coastal city located at the Southern part of China. This urban city offers various beautiful touristy spots that anyone would love to visit!