Xuzhou Aston opened in May of 2006 and is our second school in Jiansu Province. The school is brand new, clean, well equipped, and beautifully furnished and decorated. The spacious interior contains 13 classrooms with high ceilings and numerous large windows to let in the sunshine. We are located in downtown Xuzhou near Yunlong Lake in a lively area of commercial shopping, upscale restaurants, and winding alleys with street vendors selling everything imaginable.
The teacher’s facilities are in line with Aston’s standards and there is a wide array of didactic resources available. We have a large and well-resourced Teachers’ Lounge with resource books, flash cards, games, internet with printer, and everything else a teacher might need. There’s even a coffee machine for those early morning weekends. Our aim is to improve the listening and speaking skills of our students and considerable effort has been invested to ensure teachers have what they need to do this. We are committed that teachers have the training and the material necessary to accomplish this task and feel comfortable in the classroom.
Currently, there are several Western teachers and a Western manager.
There are also nine Chinese teachers (both part-time and full time) and four front desk receptionists. Xuzhou Aston has a friendly staff that is very knowledgeable of the city and ESL, and is always willing to lend a hand to the Western staff. We are a medium sized school and our student numbers have been growing steadily, due in large part to great staff and the reputation we have been acquiring throughout the city.
Located in northern Jiangsu Province, Xuzhou is a classic modern Chinese city. Its history dates back over the past two millennium, and is physically evident throughout with a large number of cultural relics dating as far back as the Han Dynasty scattered about the city and local countryside.
Situated on the southern edge of the North China plain with mountains rising to the south, the weather in Xuzhou is generally mild and clear blue skies are the norm. The annual average temperature is 13 to 16 degrees Celsius with dry winters dropping below freezing at night. Summers are hot and wet with frequent thunderstorms. Spring and autumn are short, but very pleasant, sunny, and dry.
Xuzhou cuisine is delicious and is influenced predominantly by Shandong to the north. The Yangtze region to the south also leaves its mark with an abundance of seafood, sweet and sour flavors, soup dishes, and chilies. There is enormous opportunity to wander the traditional marketplaces and sample this fine food in atmospheric surroundings. Everything from enjoying dumplings and draft beer on a stool by the roadside to dining on elegant seafood in style in world-class restaurants awaits the epicurean. There are also Western fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut in case your taste buds become a bit homesick. Japanese, Korean, and Spanish Bar-B-Q restaurants are also scattered throughout the city.
Xuzhou has a well-organized and efficient bus system that can take you all over the city without having to wait at the bus stop for long periods. If public transportation is not for you, then many convenient and friendly taxis will be waiting to take you where you want to go.
Xuzhou is in a fantastic location for travel around the region. Situated on the junction of China’s two most important train lines - at the mid-point between Beijing and Shanghai, and Lianyungang to Ulumuqi line, the city has a major train station that is central to four provinces with regular departures to locations throughout Eastern China. Beijing is just under 7 hours away.
Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai are around the same distance to the south.
These places can be reached easily on clean and comfortable overnight trains having you there first thing in the morning. Lianyungang and the beautiful Jiangsu coast are about 3 hours to the east. The slower nightly local trains with comfortable sleeping berths that allow you to board in the evening, enjoy a night with the locals in the cabin, and awaken early the next morning at your destination. Xuzhou also has an airport located on the city’s edge with flights all over the country.
Currently Xuzhou Aston provides two apartments for their foreign teachers’ accommodation. The original flat is on the first floor and is spacious and modern with three bedrooms and everything a teacher needs to feel at home. The complex is quiet with outside clotheslines available and plenty of small gardens and fruit trees.
Centrally located, the apartment is just down the street from the school, only a 15 minute walk or 5 minute taxi ride away. The other flat is high up in a brand new high-rise complex and is a modern urban apartment. This one is even closer to Xuzhou Aston. The neighborhoods surrounding these are full of markets, shops, restaurants, stalls, and people of all walks of life.