Erica Fairchild

International Teacher Recruiters, Joanne Vazquez and Harris Green 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.

Day 1: Wednesday

Be sure to bring your documents and welcome letter. This will have been sent beforehand from your recruiter. The welcome letter will have the visa officer's information; be sure to contact him/her if anything should change with your flights. When you land, you'll go through customs, pick up your bag, and finally you'll meet your EF driver outside the arrivals gate. You might meet some of the other teachers at that point, and the EF driver will transport you to the hotel. Be sure to have your cash on hand, about 2,500RMB (about 350USD). You'll need to put in a 200-500RMB deposit for the hotel, but you'll be refunded in full at the end of your two-week stay. This is not a working day, so instead, take the time to know the other teachers in your onboarding group, have some dinner, and rest up! Finally, be sure to reach back home to your family that you arrived and you can tell your recruiter too.

Day 2: Thursday

This is orientation day. You will be meeting visa officers, trainers and potentially your recruiter if you're based in Shanghai. You'll be going through several different presentations. Be sure to take advantage of the free breakfast at the hotel. The first thing you'll do upon arrival is contract signing. You will have received the electronic version beforehand, but we will need you to sign the master print contract. Next up are the visa updates and what's to be expected. Finally, you'll have a Health and Safety as well as a housing presentation. At lunch, you'll go with some teaching ambassadors and your new colleagues to a traditional Chinese restaurant. After lunch, you'll come back to the head office where you can opt-in for the 12,000RMB cash advance to help you with housing and settle in comfortably in your new China life.

Day 3: Friday

This will be your second day coming into the head office. Depending on the city and how many people are in your onboarding group, you could start your medical check or go to the local bank to get your bank account set up. Visa officers will be there to help out this morning. Be aware the process can take a while, and you might spend most of the morning there. Recruiter Harris brought a Kindle to read on the side, while recruiter Joanne had her Spotify account to keep her entertained. There will also be lots of people there to talk to! Once finished, we'll get you set up with your Chinese SIM card (be sure to bring an unlocked smartphone). SIMs are mostly pay-as-you-go, and you can pay the bill through your phone! 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! Be sure to be dressed in business casual.

Day 4 and 5: Saturday and Sunday

Use your first full weekend in China as a time to apartment hunt. EF will give a list of bilingual agents on the first day. You can start reaching out to these agents throughout the week, and use the weekend to actually view the apartments. You have full control of where you live and who you live with. So don't rush and don't stress, as two weeks is more than enough time to look for a Chinese apartment. When you talk to your agent, be sure to give a list of requirements.

For example, recruiter Harris' three requirements were:

1. Being close to the metro and within walking distance.

2. Having lots of natural light as waking up with the sun shining in makes for a homier experience.

3. Stay in the price range!

Recruiter Joanne lived in Beijing and had 2 roommates and her requirements were:

1. Have an apartment close to the metro.

2. Live somewhere with amenities nearby; like a grocery store, post office, and bank.

3. Live in a traditional lane house (called a hutong).

Day 6 and 7: Monday and Tuesday

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.

Day 8: Wednesday

This day, you will be making your way to your school. If you're a Kids and Teens teacher, wear your uniform and adult teachers can wear business casual. 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 training. The next two months are meant to prep you for success, especially if you don't have previous teaching experience! Be sure to ask questions, take notes, be engaging and have fun during this time.

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