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.

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!

Andrew: National Coordinator (TRT Engagement) - With EF since 2018
Nationality: British
City: Shanghai
Degree: Undergraduate in Law & Master’s in International Development

Where did your journey with EF start?
“I started with EF as an accommodation assistant and residential warden while at University”

What did you do?
I was involved with international students in so many ways. From scheduling activities and city tours to helping with accommodation related grievances. Another smaller role was recruitment related; I’d help to recruit host families to house our international students. I would make calls to applicants, do house calls and get to know the people”. An experience that he explained sparked his interest in recruitment.

When did you decide to move to China?
“In April 2018 I decided to Apply for a teaching in China position, I was excited to give living in China a try. I trained and onboarded with other new teachers and learnt how the academic side of the company worked.”

But you didn’t actually go into teaching?
“No, funnily enough. I applied to be a part of the Teaching recruitment and Training Team (TRT) instead, I was a bit of an outlier in this sense, as 90% of the recruiters within EF actually started out as teachers!”

What did your role involve?
“My first role in TRT was with helping to recruit new teachers to come and work in China. Being new to China myself, I found it very easy and natural to convey my passion and excitement to the new teachers I was bringing to China.”

How has your role evolved since you joined EF?
“Well, In April this year I decided I wanted a bit of a change. I still work within the TRT team but now I work in engagement. Mostly internally with current teachers here China. We work on projects to help grow and strengthen the company community. My main job currently is working with Teacher Ambassadors. Giving trainings to new teacher ambassadors and offering support to them through webinars, Facebook groups and helping organize activities to keep them engaged, something that was really important during the Lockdown period here .”

What does your office look like?
“I work within the TRT engagement teams in EF’s Shanghai HQ, where around 60% of our team are locals, and 40% are international like me”.

Do you find language to be a difficulty with your work?
“In my role it became apparent quickly that I didn’t need to speak Chinese at all, as our team works almost exclusively with international staff. Though there are other departments within HQ that are only suitable for Chinese speakers, such as any client facing role”

As I spoke to Andrew, he told me about many different departments within EF HQ, all offering their own unique roles and opportunities. For example, Team RED (Recruitment and Development) deal largely with the development of current staff and offer 1-1 coaching and meetings to help staff on their path. Other staff he has known have gone on to work within the Welfare team, to help deal with staff grievances or general wellbeing.

What’s been one of your best memories here in China?
“That’s got to be when a group of us went to inner Mongolia and went to the grasslands, driving a few hours to get there felt like a road trip. Getting immersed into the culture and being able to attend a dinner ceremony was interesting – as was seeing all the stars in the clear sky! ….. Or maybe going to Huzhou meeting some Chinese locals in a hostel. Although they couldn’t speak any English, and I can’t speak any Chinese we had a great dinner! And went to a place to watch Live music, nothing was in English all night but it was fantastic”.

I loved this story because it reminded me of all the amazing experiences I have had already, in just 1 year here in China. Some of my greatest memories are just having fun and surrounding myself with locals, regardless of the language barrier we always had a great time....and it often lent itself to making for a funny evening finding ways we could communicate without the need for language.

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