Big cities are the same the world over: fast-paced, exciting, and chock full of English speakers. While they offer the widest variety of entertainment and gastronomic opportunities, you may have to look hard to find places to develop your Chinese. Big cities can be a strain on your budget, and commutes can be lengthy, but there's always something going on: a new district to explore, a crowd of people practicing taiji, a popular new hotpot restaurant. Below are samples of some of our past placements. Please be aware that not all locations might be available for the upcoming program.
Large, but not as large as Shanghai or Beijing, Nanjing is mainly accessible via a large bus network, although there are several subway lines. All public transit closes at ten or eleven. The city is home to many historical sites, such as the city wall, the Nanjing Massacre Museum, and Sun Yat-Sen's mausoleum, alongside many karaoke joints and expat bars. Nanjing is considered one of China's furnaces: in the summer, temperatures regularly top 100 degrees. However, the weather October through April or May is quite cool. Exciting things can happen in Nanjing -- things like appearing on TV or mastering kung fu.
Located in the south of China, Changsha is close to Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The buses and taxis can get you anywhere you need to go. The city is famous for its spicy food, which rivals Sichuan food in popularity. There are some interesting sites nearby that make for nice day trips. If you want to hang out in the city, there are plenty of nightlife and international cuisine. Climate wise, the area is humid in spring and summer, while winter here is cold and dry.
Widely acknowledged to be one of China's most beautiful cities, Hangzhou is full of both natural wonders and historical sites. It is an hour away from both Nanjing and Shanghai and also quite close to Suzhou, another interesting city. There is a great bus network that you can track on your mobile phone. It is easy to get around the city without speaking Chinese. For fun, you can take a boat ride on the beautiful West Lake. There are KFCs and McDonald's if you get homesick, as well as many other types of foreign food.