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Hobbies! They provide you with new challenges and experiences, allow us to explore ourselves and talents, prevent you from wasting time, and enrich our perspectives.

And Oh, among the many benefits, they give you something to do besides fight with your relatives abroad on Facebook!

If you are going to teach in Beijing and want a new hobby but don't want to spend all the money you made teaching vocabulary, reading skills, and all other aspects of the second most commonly spoken first language to ESL students, we have some simple suggestions for you.

Presenting eight hobbies you can pick up while living in Beijing:


Photo by: Christelle

What better place to get your Chinese history studies on than Beijing! I don't mean going and taking Chinese history lessons in a classroom. You can learn so much about Chinese history by merely exploring Beijing while independently studying up at home. "Learning about the English language culture and its foundation here in China has been a fascinating learning journey. I've got the chance to meet anthropologist Isabel Crook here in Beijing, who has been a huge part of the last 70 years of China. Now, I'm reading and researching Chinese history and learning more every day." Remarks Dr. Hart, the Operations Manager at Houhai English. There's so much Chinese history to dive into. Learning all about history while being here in Beijing is an incredible experience.


Learning Chinese will serve you professionally and socially! Living in Beijing and being around Chinese speakers will make this hobby notably easier and exhilarating. There are numerous ways to take up Chinese. You can enroll in a university and begin taking lessons, hire a private tutor, or learn with Chinese friends. You can learn at your own pace and as much or little as you desire. Learning Chinese as a hobby will make your time in China infinitely more exciting and engaging.


Photo by: Shalom

Perhaps you're already a masterful chef. Or, maybe you've never cooked more than spaghetti and grilled cheese. Whichever sort of cook you are, try taking up a cooking class in Beijing! Cooking is a wonderful hobby you can even take home with you. There are numerous cooking and baking classes featuring various cuisines in Beijing. One of my personal favorites is cooking classes in the ancient Beijing hutongs. China is a huge country with many different styles of cooking from various provinces throughout the country. You can learn how to cook all kinds of Chinese cuisine, such as Sichuan, Shanxi, and Yunnan. Or, if you prefer the baking route, take up a pastry class! Cooking and baking classes will keep you busy, and your taste buds happy for months to come!


What better time to take up photography than while living in a beautiful ancient, timeless city like Beijing? You will honestly never run out of things to photograph in Beijing. The city is flooded with fantastic architecture and awesome street-life. There are many ways to take up photography as a hobby. You can buy a camera and hit the streets or join a photography class.


I know we've all heard of coffee shops, and Beijing has sure got sophisticated and trendy coffee shops! The next best thing is the incredible cake cafes in Beijing. The cake cafes are filled with mouth-watering cake creations that are more delightful than the thought of a warm spring day during winter. One of my favorite things to do is choosing a neighborhood I've never been to in Beijing and then just going out and exploring as many coffee and cake shops that I can find. This is an excellent way of exploring Beijing, too! I generally end up returning to my favorite finds numerous times.


Photo by: Nico

Perhaps you're more of an active type? Or maybe you're looking to become more active as the winter holiday season begins rolling in? Joining a sports team is a great way to get active and meet tons of new friends. There are loads of different kinds of sports to try out in Beijing. Perhaps you can try joining a badminton team, a real favorite for locals in Beijing. Of course, there are all the usual favorites such as football, baseball, table tennis, running, swimming, and tennis. You can also join a gym in Beijing, especially during the colder months. The gyms are great for beginning a regular gym schedule. Getting in shape while making friends is always a good idea, right?


Photo by: Maya

Okay, this is a big one. Many people decide to move abroad to teach because of their love for travel. Does that sound like you? If so, travel will be your soon-to-be forever hobby once you make the move. You can travel to countries near China when you get that well deserved time off. Living in China makes countries like Japan, Russia, the whole South-East Asia region, and Europe so accessible and cheap to visit! You can fly to Tokyo in about three and a half hours, now how does that sound? Living in Beijing itself feels like perpetual travel. There are so many nearby places to explore. Then there's the high-speed train, which can get to so many incredible places in China faster than ever.


Did you know that dancing can help reduce stress and increase all those feel-good serotonin chemicals in our body? It's true, science! Taking up dancing as a hobby is a fantastic way to feel better connected to our bodies and minds. There are many different kinds of dance classes to take up in Beijing. Perhaps you can try Salsa, Chinese-folk dance, or more contemporary like hip-hop or K-pop style. Or, go all out with the large group of people who dance together in large open spaces, like parks and cultural sites. The greatest thing about dance is that it transcends language. You can bond with locals without being able to speak mandarin.

Whichever hobby you decide to pick up, it's safe to say you have plenty to choose from. One of the best parts about living in a city like Beijing is that it's vibrant and expansive when it comes to the different things you can do. There is something for everyone.

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