International Teacher Recruiters, Joanne Vazquez and Juliet Wells, give us some insight into your first eight days with EF in this blog post.
If you are looking to start a new adventure, then watch the video below to learn more about living and working abroad. Make sure you subscribe to the EF's YouTube channel so that you can stay up to date with any changes, as well as learn more about living and working in China.
Welcome new teachers; this is the day you will arrive in China! You're going to want to have your visa officer's contact information on hand in case you need to contact us when you land. There will be an EF driver waiting to pick you up and drive you to the hotel. If there are other teachers arriving on the same flight/time as you, the driver will wait for them so you can check in as a group. Please have your passport and deposit ready upon arrival to the hotel. This is not a working day, instead, take the time to know the other teachers in your onboarding group, have some dinner, and take a rest!
This is orientation day. You will be meeting visa officers, trainers and potentially your recruiter if you're based in Shanghai. That said, please dress in business casual clothes – similar to what Joanne and Juliet are wearing in the video and photo above. In the morning, you'll be signing your master contract, listening to presentations about health and safety, and the company. For lunch, EF's trainers, recruiters, and some teacher ambassadors will bring you to a Dong Bei Cai restaurant to have some authentic Chinese food.
After your meal, you'll have a presentation about housing in China and how to find an apartment. This is where you can opt for the 12,000RMB cash advance if you need assistance with the housing costs. The majority of teachers will opt in for this choice.
This will be your second day coming in to the head office. Please dress professionally or business casually, as a few important things happen on this day. Depending on how big your group is, you'll head to the bank to open up your Chinese bank account. You might also go to get your medical check on this day. If so, we stress that you don't eat the morning of your medical check. Finally, this day is when you'll go to your center for the first time. You will meet your teacher team and your manager and look around the center where you'll be teaching for the next year!
Use your first full weekend in China as a time to apartment hunt. EF gives you a list of agents to help you find an apartment. You have full control of where you live and who you live with. So don't rush and don't stress that's more than enough time to look for a Chinese apartment.
Make sure you give requirements to agents when looking for apartments. For recruiter Joanne, for her first year in Beijing, she wanted:
To live on the same metro line as her center
To live in a Hutong style accommodation (old Beijing lane houses)
And location was very important to her as well; there needed to be convenience stores, restaurants, post offices, etc around her neighborhood
For recruiter Juliet in her first year in Shanghai, she wanted:
Third floor or higher accommodation
A washer/dryer hookup (very rare in China, but this was one of her requirements)
Less than 10-minute walk to the metro from her apartment complex
Both recruiters found an apartment within the first week of arriving in China, but stayed in the hotel for the entire 2 weeks to take advantage of the free breakfast!
Your onboarding and training will start on these days. You will learn about EF methodology, lesson plans, training, and will be evaluated by our trainers. We'll give you feedback on what your strengths are and what things you can work on in your center. Please wear your EF uniform this day. If you're a Kids and Teens teacher; we'll provide you with a short-sleeved navy blue polo shirt for the warmer months and a long-sleeved navy blue rugby shirt for the cooler months. You'll need to wear khaki pants and black, comfy shoes as well. If you're an Online or Adults teacher, please wear business casual clothing.
This day, you will be making your way to your school. You will meet with your manager again and the rest of your teacher team and center staff. You'll also be observing classes, co-teaching, and will have in-center trainings. The next two months are meant to prep you for success, especially if you don't have previous teaching experience!
Q: Are there dishes in the apartments?
A: This depends. Juliet signed on for a brand new apartment that nobody had previously lived in before, but still didn't come with dishes. Joanne negotiated with the agent and landlord if she could have money to buy dishes for the place. Both recruiters ended up taking a trip to IKEA and bought dishes and utensils there.
Q: How easy is it to find coffee?
A: In tier one cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Chongqing), it's very easy and accessible to find coffee. There are Starbucks and Costa shops everywhere. But it really depends on what city you're living in. If you can't readily find coffee, you can always buy it online through a food/drink delivery APP such as MeiTuan or Elema.
Q: Do most of the apartments have WiFi already setup?
A: You will find that most apartments don't have WiFi included or setup already. However, it's very easy to set up and get started. You can ask your agent to help with the process. But keep in mind, if you're setting up WiFi for the first time, you'll have to bring your passport to either China Telecom, China Mobile, or China Unicom (biggest internet providers in China) and pay for the full year in full, upfront.