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English teaching job acquired!

Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.

Moderators: jamesbond, fschmidt

Postby Jackal » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:36 pm

Congratulations, Magnum, and good luck!
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Postby adann » Sat Mar 08, 2014 1:43 am

Congrats on the job.

However I need to give you a warning and some advice. Teaching in English in China without a degree is illegal and you might wind up getting treated unfairly (lower pay then expected, not getting paid, contracted being violated here and there) There are many horror stories out there.

If on the other hand it all goes over smoothly, I highly suggest enrolling in a distance or online BA program from an English speaking country. Choose the cheapest program at a legitimate school, not a diploma mill. Put in your 2/3/4 years and get a real BA otherwise you could lose your job at anytime. It will be your best future investment (career and women wise).
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Postby magnum » Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:14 pm

Well, I'm getting a little discouraged, I've been researching a little about this school, it was founded in 2009, I found a post someone made, like a horror story, I'll post it here for you guys to take a look at.

http://china.eslteachercafe.com/topic27 ... mmers.aspx[url]


Needles to say, after reading that post, I'm having second thoughts about this.


The same guy posted it on Red-it

http://www.reddit.com/r/TEFL/comments/1 ... gency_are/[url]


If read down a few posts they mention a woman named sophia yue. Guess who I've been talking to on skype?


I mean 1 post about this would make me think twice, but the fact another guy chimed in on his post, I'm almost willing to go through with it still.



I'm coming over on a business visa, they're going to change it in to a Z visa once I'm in China, but I'm starting to seriously reconsider this.



What are your opinions on this guys?

on one hand, I can get out of my situation and have a chance at my own apartment and finally making a little income, on the flip side the last thing I want to do is for this to end in disaster and have to return home defeated with a bunch of satisfied friends and family members just itching to say "I told you so" not to mention being back in the hell that is the U.S.A. [/url]
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Postby magnum » Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:58 pm

Oh and on top of all this, I'm worried that if I don't show, and share my findings with this woman who I've been speaking to over skype she'll blacklist me, As I've already signed the contract to work for them.

Not sure what my plan of action is, but if anyone has experience with this, I'd love to know.
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Postby kai1275 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:40 pm

Cautionary Tale: First Leap and ODEN Agency are SCAM SCHOOLS (self.TEFL)
submitted 6 months ago by fakie_account
Let me just admit right now that working on an F-Visa is a stupid, terrible idea. We all think we can get away with it until we're detained in a backroom at the HK/SZ border.
I'll start from the beginning; I came to China in August of 2012 to work for First Leap, an after-school type English kindergarten. FL made me pay for my first Chinese visa (a six month F visa) out of pocket, and promised that it was perfectly OK to work on that visa, and that they would cover the costs of renewing my next visa in HK when it was time to renew.
At my first orientation meeting I was made aware that I was NOT working directly for FL but for a recruiting agency named ODEN. This was news to me, but I didn't think it would matter that much in the long run.
After a two week training period, myself and a handful of FOBs are shuttled off to one of FL's chain schools (which are all located in shopping malls?) to start working. And you know? At first it seemed like it was going to be a pretty great environment. The classrooms are clean, they have modern classrooms, provided lesson plans and the kids seem to like it well enough. The TAs varied in their ability to actually speak English, which was a little problematic, but it wasn't that big of a deal
Everything was great up until we had some big company meeting that essentially announced our school was growing, so we had to cram a bunch of shit together to make room.
Foreign teachers were given an extra two UNPAID hours a week, supposadly for 'class preparation'; in reality, the company tried to cram as many of our classes into our unpaid 'prep time' as possible. When I signed my contract with FL they promised us no more than ten kids in a classroom, which was immediately bumped up to 14+ kids per class, without added TAs or pay. When we started, we were told that each teacher would handle no more than 18 classes/demos a week. At the end of my time at FL, I was teaching around 25 classes back-to-back, with absolutely no overtime pay.
But my visa situation was the worst problem of all. In Feb, ODEN sent me down to HK to get a "visa renewal stamp" at the HK/SZ border. They DID NOT get me a new visa, they gave me this sketchy border cross stamp and PROMISED me that it was just as good as another F Visa. Yes, I know, I was a complete idiot to believe their lies.
Fast forward a few months and I schedule some time off with FL to go see a friend in Hong Kong. When I tried coming back to China, I got detained in a Shenzhen backroom because surprise surprise, the "visa stamp' extension they gave me was BULLSHIT. I had a THREE MONTH overstay on my Chinese visa. I had to go back into Hong Kong stay at a hostel for a week to try and sort out any kind of visa to get me back into Mainland China. Every HK agency denied my application.
Fortunately a mutual friend who had been in a similar situation with a similar school told me to take the ferry to Macau and apply for a 7-day transit visa back to China. I paid a ton of money for overnight processing and after walking around Macau for 24 hours, I finally was able to get back into Hong Kong, go to Shenzhen and fly to Beijing.
Naturally, FL and ODEN outright refused to take responsibility for any part of my nightmarish experience. FL even had the audacity to ask me to give them 20,000 RMB to pay for an extended tourist visa so that I could keep working illegally!
I had to fly back to America or else I would face imprisonment for my overstay. When I hit US soil, FL and ODEN began ignoring all my calls, emails, texts, Skype requests, EVERYTHING, until finally one of their American workers told me flat out that they weren't going to reimburse me for the visa costs OR even give me my final salary!
I'm out about $3,000. It friggin blows, but at least I can be a cautionary tale.
DO NOT work for First Leap. DO NOT work for the ODEN agency.
OH- and I'm not the first one who got gamed by these guys, I've been in touch with two other teachers who dealt with the same bullshit from FL/ODEN as well.


Too many things missing and wrong with this guy's story. First of all look at his posted name, says alot about his character as a person (someone who hides).

1. How did he get to China on an F visa?

2. Did he have that F visa for a previous job or engagement?
http://houston.china-consulate.org/eng/vp/t1070951.htm
F    Issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities.

3. He reminds me of TheProfessor the HA poster. Trying to do something illegal but blaming others for himself being in the country illegally.

Things you need to keep in mind when talking to China Expats, especially English teachers.

A) Every English teacher will have a different experience with teaching in China, even for the exact same English Training Centers. (ie Black and Hispanic English teachers vs. White guys or Females vs Males)
B) For every jaded English teacher expat, there are probably 2 or more that had no terrible experiences.
C) Many have and are currently cheating on their visas in between teaching gigs and when foreigners get rounded up in expat hangouts and asked to present passports, they are the first to start talking shit online after they get deported.
D) Employers messing with pay is very common in China, but typically they don't mess with foreigners pay as much as they do Chinese people. It's a case by case basis, and sometimes the foreigner is to blame as well.
E) I honestly do not know many companies in China that even pay overtime wages. It's not like they have an overtime wage law in China. This isn't America.
F) If the experience is horrible or they start f***ing around with you, do what that one poster said, and get another contract from another school or the same school.
G) Sometimes you need to consider the sources of these stories as well. Some of these people are spoiled brats from the US that are always doing weasle-like shit f***ing around. Like the just got out of college, but cannot find a job because they like slacking around. They bitch about the pay, the people, etc. If you lived in LA or NYC as an upper class person, teaching in China is kinda of a bad idea if 2nd and 3rd world agitations would drive you up a wall. A poor lower-middle class fella from a farm area of the US, would hardly flinch at these minor inconveniences. Culture or Religious shock is the only hurdle they might have.


Your business visa (M)? Is fine. Check with Zboy and Everdred to make sure. If anyone here can verify that they can.

Also, 7,000 rmb is plenty money in China. PLENTY! If you know a girl that can show you the ropes around town, (ahem* maybe cook for you *ahem*) 8) You could stack 5K of that pay and spend 2K per month. Don't eat out at KFC and Mc Donalds everyday, cook your food, buy fresh vegetables etc. at the marketplaces and you will be just fine. It is cheap to live in China with that kind of pay unless you live in Beijing and Shanghai. If you lived in those places the pay would be somewhere between 12-20,000 per month, depending upon an apartment/dormitory, which in your case they are giving you that. Just play the game and get what you came there for. Don't try to be blazing saddles John Wayne trying to save a hoe (The Chinese Education System), play the game, get what you need, and then get the f**k out if you choose to do so. Don't get too serious with any woman that would not leave China with you. Besides if you get this experience on your CV/Resume you can float this anywhere else in China easy for that coveted 10K per month salary.

Remember that many everyday people in China live off much less than 5,000 rmb and that you cannot tit for tat their money against our money like that. In alot of ways, 5,000 rmb is almost kinda like living with 5,000 usd per month in the US.
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Postby kai1275 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:50 pm

Also my wife checked out some things related to that school. They been around 4 years or more. They are a training outfit, that seems to cater to the kids of rich parents. The tuition being expensive, means that perhaps you can get opportunities to do some private tutoring on the side for some extra money. :wink: Her teachers at the english training center she went to, before our K1 visa was done, did that. One teacher was being paid to just simply speak English to his student's 3 year old kid at her house! He told my wife that he made more money talking to her kid than working there at the center. He felt bad about doing that because the kid is just too young, but she was adamant about it. Some Chinese people have more money than they have common sense.

If you are really savvy, you can maybe talk business with some of those parents....
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Postby magnum » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:51 am

Kai, your the man, you put my hear at ease, I was already going to man up and take the show anyway, what could happen, nothing if I stay here in the usa.



And I'm already thinking of getting some extra teaching time in with the parents if things get rough for money, I really wish I knew Chinese though, I know it'll make or break my ability to catch the attractive ladies, but we'll see!


Thank your wife for me, you've been a lot of help!


Things get real, flight will be for the 21st if everything is Good to go with the visa!


I've been given a "invitation letter" to china, my agent said it would give me a business visa, but I'm not 100% sure on this issue, I just know I need a Z for it to be legal.


can't wait to taste steamed buns again, chowmain, and DATE attractive women.


On a side note, if I was to take my desktop pc on the flight, think it would survive being tossed around?
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Postby kai1275 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:15 pm

magnum wrote:Kai, your the man, you put my hear at ease, I was already going to man up and take the show anyway, what could happen, nothing if I stay here in the usa.



And I'm already thinking of getting some extra teaching time in with the parents if things get rough for money, I really wish I knew Chinese though, I know it'll make or break my ability to catch the attractive ladies, but we'll see!


Thank your wife for me, you've been a lot of help!


Things get real, flight will be for the 21st if everything is Good to go with the visa!


I've been given a "invitation letter" to china, my agent said it would give me a business visa, but I'm not 100% sure on this issue, I just know I need a Z for it to be legal.


can't wait to taste steamed buns again, chowmain, and DATE attractive women.


On a side note, if I was to take my desktop pc on the flight, think it would survive being tossed around?


Reach out to the other guys to make sure your visa is good to go. You can always contact the embassy as well to make sure things are in order as well. Always take a laptop when you travel. You never know what you are going to need. Besides you don't want to have to depend on using a Chinese computer in a internet cafe in an emergency. Carryons don't get trashed unless you do that yourself.

Most schools will offer Mandarin classes to their teachers. If not, ask someone around about one. Even if it costs you money, you at least want the basics down. Now is the time to start making friends with ladies from Chongqing. Check out the QQ personals, Wechat, dating sites, etc. Use QQ's friend feature and find some teenagers located there. Their english is usually awesome, much better than adults. Change your location in QQ to Chongqing to get some of them to add you as well and stay logged in on QQ. I promise you, women will fall into your lap. Make sure your AGE Location, etc is filled out on your profile when you open the app. Use QQ international. Get a decent phone and put QQ and Wechat on it. Make sure you have a plan for a phone. This will be CRUCIAL for running game and navigating in China. I cannot tell you how many times my smartphones saved my ass in China.

If anyone asks you if you are in Chongqing, don't be lame. Tell them, you are on your way there to teach English, blah blah, you will be there soon, just looking to make some new friends, etc. You aren't lying, use "I'm in a rush-cool guy game" and keep shit going. Control the pace, tone, subject, and flow of the conversation. Make them feel like everything is cool. Get on the dating sites and look through the profiles for women in Chongqing with English skills and send them a pre-made email message, repeat, repeat, rinse out. Chongqing women are a touch rare on dating sites sometimes, because some the hot ones there, have almost no need for them. Since it is hard to know which ones the current hot crop are on, hit them all. Wife material is on the site I met my wife and you can subscribe for one month (12-15 bucks) sending an email to all of them, cancel, and then they will meet you when you get there. If you really want to get savvy, memorize the surrounding large citites and the neighboring provinces, for women there and find and send them emails too.

You want to hit the ground running and beat the shit out of the ground. That is how you can make 3 months worth of progress in a 3 week trip. Momentum is everything. Since you will be there in a year, you can vet out 3 years worth of potential wives in that much time.
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Postby kai1275 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:25 pm

I forgot to say, make sure you put a picture of your face on your QQ account, so they can see you and jump your bones :D

I just rejected the 13th woman this month, that has tried to connect with me on mine. They must love my dreamy looking smile. :lol: :lol:
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Postby magnum » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:20 am

What's better, QQ or we chat? I have both, but only used QQ a hand full of times, I don't even remember my information lol
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Postby magnum » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:21 am

Oh one more thing, lets say I use the invitation letter for a VISA this company gave me, once I have the visa, they can't take it away correct? so if I was to go work for another company, they can't mess with my visa status simply because the company they "paid off" allowed me the visa to work right?


Just planning things, I like to be prepared!
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Postby ChampionKaji » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:30 am

If you are white (blonde/blue preferred), you should be OK. You can evade formalities just by being white. Now, if you are Black, even with a masters and experience, you'd have a tough time getting a job.
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Postby kai1275 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:39 pm

magnum wrote:What's better, QQ or we chat? I have both, but only used QQ a hand full of times, I don't even remember my information lol


You need both! Neither are mutually exclusive. Get your accounts set up and be sure to set up your Qzone (A kind of facebook linked with your QQ account) with a picture, etc...
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Postby kai1275 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:40 pm

magnum wrote:Oh one more thing, lets say I use the invitation letter for a VISA this company gave me, once I have the visa, they can't take it away correct? so if I was to go work for another company, they can't mess with my visa status simply because the company they "paid off" allowed me the visa to work right?


Just planning things, I like to be prepared!


Check with the others like zboy. I never did this before, my knowledge is very limited on that. I do know that you need that invitation letter and that is a good thing.
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Postby zboy1 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:40 am

magnum wrote:Oh one more thing, lets say I use the invitation letter for a VISA this company gave me, once I have the visa, they can't take it away correct? so if I was to go work for another company, they can't mess with my visa status simply because the company they "paid off" allowed me the visa to work right?


Just planning things, I like to be prepared!


Magnum, once you receive the invitation letter, you will need to get it processed at the nearest Chinese embassy where you live. You will also need a background check (China just instituted that requirement last year) and a copy of your college degree. (I know yours is forged, but don't despair: I know several foreigners with fake college degrees).

Once that's processed and you receive your temporary Visa, you arrive in China to start teaching. After about a month, you will need to apply for a Permanent stay Visa for one year. The school or your agency will take care of the paperwork, but you will need to be processed at the nearest immigration office for a few hours to get it done.

The Chinese immigration officials will take your passport along with the paperwork, and process it in about a few weeks. During that time, you will not have your passport, but they will give you a paper saying that your residency Visa is being processed--so don't worry...

Now...this is important!: once you receive your permanent residency Visa--you cannot change jobs unless you receive a Letter of Release stating that your previous employer has let you go, so you can pursue another job. It's a complicated process, so be sure to make sure that the school or training center you will be teaching at is a good place for you...

Of course, there have been many foreigners that have left their crooked agencies, schools or previous places of employment, so it's not THAT difficult to change jobs, once in China, but it is conditional on your previous employer giving you that letter of release.

If you do get a letter of release, you can easily apply to get another job wherever it is, as long as your new employer resubmits the Visa for you. Most licensed schools, training centers and legitimate places of teaching can do that for you, no problem. Beware the unlicensed places though...

Mangum: where is your school or language center located at, and are you using a 'Third-Party' agency, because if you are...I would suggest you don't use one and go get a job directly with a school or language center; using a recruiting agency is always a gamble--and almost always guaranteed to be crooked in China. (Google "China Foreign Teachers Union Blacklist" for lists of agencies to avoid! Especially avoid Helen TEFL--as that's one of the crappiest agencies to use!)
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