Hear from Our Teacher in China – Kirsty van Schalkwyk
Before Coming to China
Why did you want to teach in China?
To earn good cash and save money. Also, to explore the culture. Big things happen in China, this place plays a huge role in the economy. It’s great to be a part of the culture. Also, my partner and I got TEFL certified and we would like to practice what we have learnt from the classroom.
How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education?
Fantastic. On the Mark Education is just fantastic. They were very thorough and honest. They helped us follow up on the visa process and communicate with the school. It took a few months for visa because of our nationality but it all came through. I would recommend their service every time.
How long did your visa process take? How was the communication with the school during the visa process??
From my end (my country), rather long, South Africa is like that. But from this side (China), it was very easy. The company sorts out everything for you. You don’t have to lift a finger. And when something is required of you, they write explicitly each detail; of the requirement.
What website did you use to book your ticket to China?
The company bought the ticket for my partner and I. We flew with Emirates. It truly was a lovely flight.
Teaching Life in China
What was your first impression of China upon arrival?
Cold, VERY cold. We arrived in the heart of winter in Beijing first. We stayed there for 2 weeks and moved to Nanjing. Apparently this was the coldest winter experienced in Nanjing too.
What was the biggest culture shock about China and/or in your current city?
People spitting all the time in public. Children wear pants without underwear and the pants have slits in. Exposing their front parts, as well as back-parts. This is used for potty training. Also, people do not stand in queues, cutting in front of people is tolerated.
What’s your favorite memory to date of life in China??
Receiving my second paycheck. The first paycheck essentially goes to your landlord, because in China you have to pay 3 months rent up front. The second one was when I could start paying off debt. I’m in China for 6 months now. I’ve been to: Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, and in 2 weeks I go to Hong Kong. The opportunities are endless.
What do you like most about working for your school?
The promotion! I’ve been promoted already at my centre, I’m now the mentor.
What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
– Bring more vitamins or at home medication, for cold, flu, chest infections etc,
– Bring warm clothes. We didn’t know China could get this cold.
– You will be started at everywhere, video recorded too.
Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save?
I would say 40% of my salary could easily be saved or go toward savings, depends on how you want to live. I like to travel, shop, invest in good laptops, cameras, etc.