Sophie Jones

You’ve just finished university, and you’re not sure what direction you want to head in life. Or maybe you’re looking for a career change, but you’re not sure what options are available to you. You know you want some excitement in your life... something different, the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures.

I have spoken to some friends in the past who have said they would love to come to China to try teaching, but they were worried that they would be limited in their options. I’m going to give you the rundown as to why a career with EF is the best of both worlds, and a great choice.

Teacher career path

Not just for those who are looking to add a years' worth of teaching experience to their CV, but also for anyone looking to stay for longer and develop a career in the global market. EF has plenty of opportunities for you to grow transferable skills, and not just in the classroom.

Sophie: Band 3 Teacher at EF Kid & Teens - since 2019
Nationality: British
City: Chongqing
Degree: BSc in Biomedical Sciences & PgDip in International Public Health

I’m a relatively new teacher here in China. August 2020 marked my 1-year anniversary in one of Chongqing’s Kids and Teens branches. While I’m now a Band 3 teacher and have learnt so much about the academic side of the company and I understand the career progression available to me within the academic departments, I wasn’t sure what other opportunities were available within the company. So, I made it my mission to find out as much as I could about the other areas of the company. I have interviewed 3 people in 3 very different positions, who all work with EF China. I discovered that there are countless options to progress and develop within EF, all while having the adventure of a lifetime living in one of the most diverse and beautiful countries in the world.

So let me introduce you to the EF team!

Tyla: Marketing Team - With EF since 2015

Education: Undergraduate in Business Management & MBA (Master’s in Business Administration)
Nationality: South African
City: Shanghai

What did you do within the CQ Regional Marketing team?
“I was the Marketing Education Coordinator; this role basically facilitated all crossover between the Marketing and Academic teams in Chongqing. A large part of my role was organizing mega events which drove new student sales, but as part of my job I also helped train Course Consultants, Progress Advisors, and teachers for Marketing events. When I arrived in Chongqing, there were only three schools, and when I left there were nine! I also helped with the opening of these new schools, and providing set-up support for the Director of Studies and Center Directors.”

Tyla explained that due to the language barrier within CQ the opportunities became limited within the marketing field, so Tyla then moved to Shanghai after 2.5 years in Chongqing to join the marketing team in EF’s Shanghai (Asia Pacific) Headquarters.

What do you do now you work in the Shanghai Marketing team?
“I spend around 55% of my time in the branding team for EF China’s National Branding, the other 45% of the time I work in content development for the online marketing team.

What drew you to EF in China?
“I have lived in 6 different countries, on 4 continents and have visited around 50 different countries. But when I visited Asia for the first time I fell in love. Usually I don’t stay in a country for more than 1 year, I can get bored. But I found China to be so unique. Everything here is so different, every day something unusual or interesting catches my eye and it makes me smile.”

Can you think of any examples of how China is so different or charming to you?

“While I was living in Chongqing, a few years ago now. The metro system wasn’t that great, so I’d often get the bus. Often, I'd be on the bus and someone would come on with some live chickens, it would always make me laugh to myself. Or how sometimes the road behind my house would just be completely closed down so all the local merchants could come out and sell their homegrown vegetables.”

I found myself nodding in agreement to what she was saying, I too found these seemingly small everyday things to be what is most charming about China. I personally feel a big sense of community in China, a feeling of strong warmth and friendliness from locals that I wasn’t expecting. Whether it be the friendly chit chat I have with the convenience store lady underneath my apartment, or the unexpected strong friendships I have built meeting people in bars and cafes. I’ve never found it easier to meet people and build connections.

You’ve been here for 5 years now, what have been some of your favorite adventures in China?

“I’ve done so much already here in China but there is still so much more I want to see. My first time seeing a Canyon was in China, at the Rainbow Mountains. I even had the opportunity to stay in a Tibetan home near Tiger leaping Gorge. The view from the window was an amazing 3000-meter high mountain which dropped straight into the gorge below.”

“Once I tried to walk to a town from where I was staying (when in the mountains up in the North West of China)...I thought it was about 4km but actually it was around 20km. It was starting to get dark and a random old couple picked me up, they must have been worried about me. They drove me to see the mineral terraces of Baishuitai (I guess they were on the way there), and then back to where I was staying. We even ending up eating Yak hot pot together that night.”

This story of kindness and hospitality from strangers resonated heavily with me. It is something I had experienced myself. During the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) a very recent friend I had made invited me to spend the holidays with her family in the rural Mountains. This was just before the virus and lockdown happened and what was supposed to be 1 week there turned into nearly 4. It was one of the forming moments for me in China, truly experiencing life through a local eye. Her family, extended family and friends all took care of me and treated me as family with no question or hesitation. And this to me is the beauty of China.

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