Name of School: Changsha Aston English School
Location city: Changsha, Hunan Province
Address: The 3rd floor, HuwanShijing, the junction of east third road and wangxian east road, Changsha County, Changsha city
Changsha (simplified Chinese: 长沙; traditional Chinese: 長沙; pinyin: Chángshā; Wade–Giles: Chang-sha) is the capital city of Hunan, in south-central China, located on the lower reaches of Xiang river, a branch of the Yangtze River. Its municipality covers an area of 11,819 sq. kilometers and, according to the 2010 Census, a population of 7,044,118 inhabitants.
Three thousand years in existence, Changsha encapsulates the richness of Chinese history, while also providing many western luxuries that are often missing from some of the smaller, less developed cities in China. Changsha County, where Aston is situated, is about a thirty minute drive from the city center, a drive which captivates the senses as skyscrapers reach proudly for the clouds, trees bloom in green profusion and lakes meander their merry way alongside the highways and byways.
The school is a cheerful, inviting, colourfully painted haven - the perfect setting for expanding young minds. The Chinese staff members are friendly, warm and welcoming and one immediately feels like part of a family in their company. As a very new school, it has the most up to date equipment and resources and provides the excellent opportunity for you to enter in at the ground level, growing and expanding together with the school.
Parents waiting area with a library of books
Throughout the year Aston holds various parties at our schools, this is an opportunity to have more fun with the children and less of a focus on teaching English. We will often have fancy dress, games; sing songs, competitions and prizes. All to give the children an experience of Western culture and the festivals we most commonly celebrate. We encourage our foreign teachers to share their culture with the students and devise new and interesting ways to do so.
Every year we hold a Christmas and Halloween party, but we may hold one-off parties for Kite Flying, Thanksgiving etc. We would also love to learn about new traditions and festivals so if you have any other ideas youwant us to do we would love to work with you on them!
Here are some pictures from our activities.
The relatively new apartment block is located within walking distance to the school and the apartment itself is very modern. Situated on the 17th floor, the window seat in each of the two bedrooms is the perfect place to relax and watch fireworks or view the community gardens. Fully furnished, with an abundance of cupboard space, the rooms are all air conditioned, it is a place to walk into and immediately feel at home
The City - Changsha
Travel options between the school location and the city are - taxi, which will lighten your wallet by 35 RMB one way, or the cheaper choices – the bus or underground which will cost around 2 RMB one way. China’s fifth largest international airport is situated in Changsha and the high-speed train connects you to most of the other big cities in and around China.
Hunan province, of which Changsha is the capital, is renowned for its extra-spicy, mouthwatering cuisine. Although less spicy options are also available for the more sensitive pallet. When the craving for western food arises, you can choose between Starbucks, Costa, McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC. Carrefour, Metro and Wal-Mart have large import sections, so if Chinese food is not to your taste, rest assured that you won’t starve.
Most shopping (especially for clothes, shoes and accessories) is done on-line where the goods are cheaper, but western clothes shops include Uniqlo, H&M, Zara, Bershka and C&A.
Changsha has four very distinct seasons. Summers are very warm, at times reaching towards the forty degree mark, but the abundance of air conditioners ease the discomfort somewhat. Spring and autumn are warm and pleasant and winters can be cold, but not unbearably so.
Yuelu Mountain can be easily hiked during the day and one can join the Taoists and Buddhists as they chant and meditate at the beautiful Lushan Temple and Yunlu Palace. Attractive walkways wind their way gently through rolling green lawns on Juzi Island (or Orange Island), situated in the Xiang River and can be traversed on foot or by motorized train, as groves of orange and grapefruit trees, heavily laden with fruit, inspire ones mouth to watering. Towards the tip of the island, the magnificent, majestic rock bust of Chairman Mao Zedong attracts hundreds of tourists daily. The spectacular fireworks display presented on the island each Saturday night is a show not to be missed.
As the sun exudes her final rays of the day upon the east, her brilliant aura is replaced by multitudes of flickering, shimmering, breathtakingly beautiful lights which signal repeatedly to the night owls to come alive. Pubs open their doors and are quickly filled to capacity as musicians seduce their diverse audiences with classic western renditions as well as alluring Chinese tunes. The large expat community mingles gregariously with the locals as they make their way from pub to club, enjoying everything that the nightlife has to offer.
The exotic fusion of east meets west ensures that Changsha is the perfect city to gently ease the first time traveler into this foreign, ancient country. The abundance of exciting things to see and do means that there is never any excuse to be bored, while the luxury of the apartment and the professionalism and friendliness of the school staff ensure living and job satisfaction. Welcome to Changsha! Welcome to China!
Yuelu Mountain in winter
Tourist Attractions near Changsha
Zhangjiajie– 2.5 hours away by fast train
There are 19 national-level tourist areas in Zhangjiajie, including 2 at 5A, 9 at 4A, and 8 at 3A. Among them, Wulingyuan Scenic Area has won the name of China's first national forest park, China's first batch of world natural heritage, China's first batch of world geoparks, the country's first batch of 5A-level tourist areas, national civilized scenic spots, and "Zhangjiajie landform" named place.
Guizhou– 3.5 hours away by fast train
Guizhou is a world-renowned mountain tourism destination and mountain tourism province. The climate in Guizhou is warm and humid, belonging to the subtropical humid monsoon climate.
Fanjing Mountain in Tongren, Guizhou
Xijiang Miao village in Leishan, Guizhou
Sanya - 2.5 hours away by air
Located at the southernmost tip of Hainan Island, Sanya is the southernmost tropical coastal tourist city in China. It is the longest-lived region in China (average life expectancy of 80 years), which has the best air quality in China. Sanya City is also known as "Oriental Hawaii", is known for having the most beautiful coastal scenery in China.
Yalong Bay in Sanya
Food and Drink
Teachers have a multitude of choices when popping outside for lunch during the one hour lunch break on a Saturday, or Sunday.
Although there are too many Chinese restaurants to mention, I would like to just show you some pictures of a couple of the places near the school. You can choose western pizza, steak, salad, juice, and also traditional Chinese food, like hot pot where you can choose your own meat, seafood, vegetables and sauce.
Medical System and Health Insurance
The medical system here works very differently from those in western countries. There are no general practitioners, so if you need to see a doctor, you'll be going to the hospital. A school employee will accompany you and translate. All treatment is paid for in cash before being administered. Aston English School takes the health of its teachers very seriously. Managers who have been here for many years remember how difficult it can be to deal with sickness in a foreign country. Please observe the following suggestions in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle during your employment here.
Don't drink tap water. It's fine for cleaning things (clothes, yourself, your teeth, your dishes, etc.) but don't drink it unless it's been boiled. Bottled drinking water is cheap and readily available and you can call the front desk of your school location and order 5 liter bottles of water for delivery which will cost you 7-8RMB on delivery.
Daily multivitamins are easily purchased at any pharmacy and you can readily ask your colleagues at school to help you buy this in person or online.