Interested in teaching in China, but have concerns?

Opportunity China’s Partnerships and Recruitment Manager and former English Teacher in China, Will Perrins, has been travelling up and down the country, to speak with students across the UK about living and teaching in China and will be at the USW Opportunities Fair on Thursday 9 November 2017 on Treforest Campus. 

Speaking with students from a wide and diverse range of disciplines and backgrounds has given me the opportunity to reflect on some of the concerns and queries raised by final years who are considering teaching in China.

One of the more common concerns among students I spoke with across the UK was whether they would be able to easily find friends and navigate their new surroundings without feeling isolated. This is incredibly important and was one of the major concerns I had before travelling to China myself. I could draw on my positive experience of having made very close friendships and bonds with both my fellow foreign teachers and Chinese staff at my school, with whom I was put in contact before my departure.

Addressing these concerns reminded me of how tight-knit expat communities are in China, particularly within 2nd tier cities. This can be a double-edged sword, with personality clashes sometimes being unavoidable and the intense nature of working with the same colleagues in a foreign country occasionally putting a strain on relationships. However, the resilience, patience and empathy that emerge from living and working in such an atmosphere, in addition to strong bonds and life-long friendships I acquired made it an undoubtedly positive social experience.

Teaching experience

Many students expressed a concern that, although they would love to teach English in China, their lack of classroom teaching experience would negatively impact their effectiveness as a teacher in China. This reminded me of having arrived in China with very limited teaching experience in the age bracket of my new classes.

Although I had run theatre workshops and tutored in the past, part of me still didn’t feel fully prepared for this experience. I was told before I left to be patient, find a positive in every new class I taught and was encouraged by my fellow teachers to persevere and begin each lesson with passion, zeal and enthusiasm.

teach English in China

This attitude carried me through my teaching experience in China, and alongside the support and camaraderie of my colleagues, enabled me to be elevated to the position of Foreign Teacher Manager in under 2 years.

There are countless examples among expat teachers of those with limited experience traversing this steep learning curb through a positive mindset and attitude. I find that the those who have the best experience, and who often make the best teachers exhibit these traits and motivate themselves on a daily basis by the pride they take in their development.

Language and culture

A country as different as China naturally brings with it concerns about navigating a completely foreign language and culture. When speaking with students about their concerns over these cultural differences it took me back to my arrival in China, speaking very little Mandarin and knowing even less about Chinese culture, the immersive learning experience I had was vital!

It was through my expat and Chinese friends and colleagues that I quickly learnt about core Chinese cultural concepts such as the importance of Mianzi (Face) in almost all daily interaction. Although I made my fair share of cultural faux pas throughout my first months living and working in China, I found people forgiving and willing to help.

Having the opportunity to immerse myself entirely in a different culture and language gave me the chance to learn the world’s most spoken first language in an intensive and cost-effective manner. Had I sought to gain the same standard of education at home it would have most likely cost over 100 times the amount.

teach English in China

I found my experience speaking with students about the challenges, benefits and occasional absurdities (both positive and negative), really took me back to the excitement I felt during my first few months in China.

Find out more about the Teach China Graduate Programme here.

Meet Will at the Opportunities Fair, 9th November, Treforest Campus

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5 top tips to get the most from a careers fair

Autumn is upon us.  Universities across the UK are organising their careers fair. These events are a great opportunity for you to meet with employers, recruiters and alumni. Do not miss out on the chance to ask questions and learn as much as you can. Here are our 5 top tips to help you make the most of your careers fair:

1. Plan ahead
Find a programme a few days before the event, learn about the companies who will be attending and if there will be scheduled talks or presentations. If you can’t attend all of them, ask your career advisor to help you choose which ones will best suit your needs. Decide on a priority list of the companies you wish to speak to. If you have extra time, make sure you stop at all stands; you may discover careers you had never even thought of.

ReedImage2. Research, Research and Research
Visit companies’ websites to find out what they do. You will have limited time to chat with employers so make the most of it by focusing on their experience, their duties and the kind of work graduates can expect in their company. Prepare questions beforehand on the recruitment process or on the skills needed to be successful in their organisation.

3. Smile and stand out
A careers fair is a professional networking opportunity. Like all professional relationships you need to be polite and respectful. There will be a lot of walking around so wear comfortable shoes but make sure you are still smart. When approaching a recruiter or employer be purposeful and enthusiastic; show that you did your research and ask questions while selling yourself: “I am in my final year of X and during my project I did Y. I would like to use these skills in a Z environment. From your website, I feel like I could fit well with your company. Can you tell me more about the kind of jobs you have for graduates and what technical skills I should focus on this year?”

4. Take notes and ask for the employer’s/recruiter’s card
Bring a notepad with your prepared questions and take notes on specific hiring dates and the next steps to take if you wish to apply. Take as many contact details as possible and as soon as you are home, connect with everyone on LinkedIn and follow the company pages. You will then be alerted when they are new vacancies.

5. Keep in touch after the fair
If you built a rapport with a recruiter, follow up with an email with your updated CV attached. It will show your motivation, your interest in the company and that you are a proactive person. Start by saying which part of the conversation you enjoyed. It will give them a reference point to remember you.

reedscientificReed Scientific attend many university career fairs during the year so keep an eye out for us and come and introduce yourself. If you have any questions on this article, do not hesitate to get in touch with me on aislinn.brennan@reedglobal.com

 

 

 

 

5 reasons to apply for your next role through a Recruitment Agency

reedblogIf you’re close to finishing your degree or you’re on your summer break there is a good chance you will be looking for a temporary or permanent job. When exploring your options the question may come up; is it better to apply through a recruiter or approach the company directly?

There are many unknown advantages to applying via a recruitment agency.

Here are the top 5 reasons to work with Reed Scientific:

1   Your CV is more likely to be seen by the hiring manager

An employer receives an average of 250 applications for every job advert. He or she will spend 5-7 seconds looking at a CV. When your CV matches the requirements of a role your recruiter will not only make sure your CV is seen by the employer but will also discuss your experience and skills with them, supporting your application.

2   You get the advice needed to improve your employability

Recruiters know the market. In addition to CV and application guidance your specialist consultant will provide pre-interview support, including an overview of prospective employers based on their knowledge of the company.

3   You will have access to multiple opportunities through one point of contact

Recruiters keep you updated on relevant vacancies. They provide you with information on the market and discuss the different opportunities you can access with your experience – even if it’s a career path you may not have considered.

4   You have constant support whilst you are looking for work.

Recruiters help you apply to the right roles and give you last minute advice before an interview. They chase for feedback and negotiate offers on your behalf. They will also call companies on your behalf to see if they have suitable vacancies in their teams.

5   And it is all for free!

Most recruitment agencies (including us) provide their services completely free of charge for candidates.

reedscientific
For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at aislinn.brennan@reedglobal.com or join us on  our LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3764511 for further tips and advice

Reed Scientific – Science Jobs in South Wales (Employer talk & Drop-in)
31 January, Upper Glyntaff
 

Meet us there!

 

5 Mistakes not to Make at a Careers Fair

So, we are at that time of the academic year when recruiters are on campus actively promoting their brand, engaging with students and actively trying to drive applications onto their graduate and placement schemes. One of the ways companies do this is through careers fairs. Yes you know, those huge scary rooms, full of giant stands, littered with giveaways, brochures and company representatives waiting to speak to you. The good news is that this is really your opportunity to engage with recruiters or employees from companies and build on research to find out about their opportunities. There are however some key mistakes that students make when attending  university careers fairs and I’m highlighting a few to ensure that you’re not the one to make them!

OneNot researching the organisations that you want to talk to
Nothing gets my goat more that when a student approaches my stand and says “So…what company is this and what do you do?”  The first impression I get as a recruiter is definitely not Wow, this candidate sounds great, I want them working for me!”  Researching the organisation before hand, looking through their website on what roles they offer and what qualifications are needed will let you know whether this is a company that is aligned with your own goals. You could look up their recruiter on LinkedIn and maybe even connect with them beforehand.  Try this approach instead
Hi, my name is….and I currently study BA Business Management. I have been doing some research on your organisation as I’m really interested in your 12 month placement scheme, could you please tell me some more about the application process please.”  It’s all about first impressions! When companies are at career fairs they are looking for talent, so if you approach recruiters in the right way then they will respond positively!

TwoBeing dressed like you have just got in from your student night out
Personal brand is everything when it comes to companies looking for their future leaders. If you show up looking like looking like you’ve been out all night and haven’t bothered going home before you come to the fair then you are showing no sense of personal brand. Take some pride in your appearance. Would you turn up to an interview looking like this?  First impressions count in any situation.  I’m not saying you need to come in full business dress, but remember that you want a graduate job, so give yourself the best opportunity to stand out from the crowd by dressing smart, grooming and approaching me with a smile on your face.

ThreeNot having a recent, good CV with you
OK, so you’ve created a good first impression on me, approached me smartly dressed and have done some good research on my organisation. I’m thinking this candidate has potential and I want to be able to follow up with you after the careers fair so I ask for your CV – You don’t have one!  How are you standing out from the crowd now? Take several copies of a generic CV with you (even better if you’ve tailored one before hand as part of your preparation) so that you can leave this behind. Some companies may just tell you to apply online, but encourage them to take the CV anyway or take the opportunity talk a bit about yourself and your skills for the role …show them that your are more than just a name on an application. Another important point is to be open-minded when looking at potential companies. Don’t go to your careers fair with tunnel vision. Many employers at the fair, be it national and international brands down to smaller SME’s have many opportunities that might be what you are looking for and really suit your skill set, so be open minded with the organisations you look at…you never know what gem they might have.

FourFilling up on the freebies with your mates
Yes, most organisations have freebies; it’s their way of keeping their brand visible when you get home and to make their stands look enticing to get you over. Your job is not to fill up as many bags as possible with free stuff in competition with your friends, but to interact and engage with your potential future employer and collect information. It is always good to go out on your own so that you can have some one-on-one time with a recruiter or employee from the company you want to work for, so don’t trawl around in a big pack.

FiveNot getting recruiters details and failing to follow up
The hard work has been done, the fair is over, you’ve met some great employers, left a few CV’s and come away with some great company information. How many contact details did you get? If you want to truly set yourself apart from the competition and give yourself an opportunity to work for your dream company then ensure you collect contact information and then follow up with an email or a personalised request on LinkedIn. This will look great to recruiters; you researched the company well, looked smart, gave a CV on the day; then followed up with an email saying how great it was to meet and how you’re looking forward to hearing back. If you’ve followed those 5 steps… the chances are pretty good that you will hear back!

Martyn Flynn
Martyn Flynn,Talent Acquisition Manager, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Enterprise Rent A Car

Meet Martyn at the Opportunities Fair on 10 November 2016