As the capital of northern Shandong Province, Jinan is a large, interesting city little known to those outside of China. Despite being the capital of the region, it is often overshadowed by the coastal city of Qingdao, located in the east of the province. But that’s not to say it isn’t worth paying attention to. As a lesser known city, Jinan is home to a smaller expat population and a lack of western influence, giving you the perfect chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and way of life. Known for being home to no less than 70 natural springs and a serene lake, the city itself has plenty to see and do. But, if you’re looking to explore beyond Jinan at the weekend, you can head to one of the nation’s most famous mountains, or its sprawling capital city.


Teaching English in Jinan

teaching in jinan china

Available on our TEFL Training Programme, our state school placements in Jinan are both reliable and varied. Working for a well-established state funded school with primary, middle and high school branches, you will have the chance to work with a range of different age groups in one of many locations around the city.

Whichever branch you are based in, your classes will be formed of 30-40 students and last for around 35-45 minutes. Depending on the age of your students, you can expect to teach between 15-25 classes per week (Mon-Fri), with office hours and lesson planning time scheduled around this. Textbooks, a blackboard, computer and a projector to display your PowerPoint will be supplied, however you will need to bring any additional teaching materials you wish to use yourself.

Last minute changes are common in state schools, so you will need to be ready to adapt if your teaching schedule changes. While knowledge of Mandarin isn’t necessary it is certainly helpful, so we advise learning some basics in preparation.

Accommodation in Jinan

Our partner school in Jinan employs a number of foreign teachers, who are housed in one of two locations. Whichever branch you are teaching in, your accommodation will be located a short distance from this. This accommodation is provided to teachers in Jinan free of charge, and it includes a private room within a fully furnished apartment. You will usually be expected to share an apartment with one other teacher of the same sex.

Apartments are equipped with all the essentials, including a shower, kitchen, western toilet, fridge and freezer, and a washing machine. You will most likely be offered breakfast, lunch and dinner during the weeks, but expected to buy or cook your own food on weekends.

Depending on your contract details, you may be required to work in more than one location in the city. This will be indicted to you prior to your arrival, and both teaching sites will be within reasonable distance from your accommodation.


Though not one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, Jinan has plenty to offer by way of things to see and do both in and around the city.

Baotou Springs: undoubtedly the city’s most popular attraction, the Baotou Spring Park is located in the city centre, at the top of Quancheng Square. The beautiful scenic park contains numerous traditional temples and Chinese gardens, as well as the main attraction; the natural springs. Visitors can admire pools of natural springs surrounded by striking Chinese architecture.

Daming Lake: Located just a short distance from the Baotou Springs, Daming Lake is another must-see attraction in Jinan. Despite being in the city centre, this is a very peaceful spot that’s ideal for escaping the hustle and bustle. Enjoy a stroll around the stunning lake, or stop at the many attractions that surround it, including the Tie Xuan Temple, which offers amazing views over the 860,000 square meter area.

Thousand Buddha Mountain: Another of the city’s best-known attractions, the Thousand Buddha Mountain offers a look into the influence of Buddhism throughout the history of the region. You can explore attractions such as the Thousand Buddha Temple and the Wanfo Cave, as well as the iconic giant statue of Buddha.

Mount Tai: Located between Jinan and Tai’an, Mount Tai is one of the 5 sacred Daoist mountains in China. Reaching 1,545 meters above sea level, it takes around 4 hours to climb, or minutes to travel to the top via the cable car. Offering astonishing views across the surrounding area, it’s certainly worth a trip. If you’re feeling up for a challenge, you can climb the mountain overnight and wait at the top for the sunrise – pick a good day, and you won’t regret it!

Cost of Living

Item RMB Item RMB
City bus 1-2 Beer (shop bought) 6
Taxi (first 3km) 10 Beer (at a bar) 15+
New bike 350+ Water 2-5
New E-bike 2500+ Coke 4
Cheap meal 15 0.5kg fresh veg 7
Average meal 30 1kg chicken 20
Expensive meal 100+ Gym (per year) 2,500+


Having had one of the largest influences on Shandong, or Lu cuisine, Jinan is known for its delicious food and range of cooking styles. Some of its most popular dishes are listed below:

Tang Cu Li Yu: This sweet and sour carp might look a little strange in presentation style, but it’s a delicious must-try dish from Shandong cuisine.

Wuren Bao (Five-Stuffing Steamed Bun): this steamed bun contains five different kinds of fillings including walnut, peanut, sesame, melon seed and almond. It’s a delicious snack that’s popular among the locals.

Jinan Roast Duck: You might think that duck is a specialty of the capital Beijing, however Jinan has its own style, which plump, sweet and well worth a try!


Though Jinan is a smaller city with less of a western influence than its larger counterparts, there is still plenty to do during the evenings.

Clubs: There is many Chinese style clubs that are popular among both the Chinese and foreign crowds. No.23 Club and MBOX are two of the most highly recommended.

KTV: If you’re looking to party in true Chinese style, look no further. KTV’s, or karaoke bars, can be found all around the city and are a great place to relax and enjoy a sing-along with some friends.

Quancheng Square: the heart of the city, Quancheng square comes alive at night with people partaking in all kinds of activities from rollerblading and tai chi to dancing and relaxing. It’s a great place to wander around and chill out with friends, particularly on a spring or summers evening. If you get there before 8pm, you’ll be able to catch the great nightly fountain show.

Interested in teaching English in Jinan? Check out our State School Teaching Programme, or apply now to kickstart your career in the home to 70 natural springs.