Delays, delays….

27th September is the Mid-Autumn Festival (zhōnɡqiūjié, 中秋节) in China. I am not sure whether I will arrive in Beijing by then (though I would hope so).

I am due to go to work at a school in the Hǎidiàn district of Beijing, called RDFZ – High School Affiliated to Renmin University. I got all the documentation required to the school by June, and they submitted my documents online to the Beijing Foreign Experts Bureau. It was then a waiting game for them to be approved and for my work permit to be issued.

I took an online TEFL course, and was supposed to attend a Summer Camp in Beijing on 15th August, until the end of the month. This would have provided the practical aspect of the TEFL, and given me some experience in teaching Chinese young people. As it was, I missed it due to the delays. I am lucky; I took a CELTA qualification (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, from the University of Cambridge), in Reading between April and July. This is an internationally-recognised qualification, which includes theoretical and practical elements, as well as four written assignments. I did this whilst I was working full time, going to Reading on a Tuesday night for input sessions and Thursday nights for teaching sessions. I had to teach over two different levels – pre-intermediate, and upper intermediate. I spent about a month doing each.

So I go to China with some experience of teaching (six hours in total), at two different levels. Still, I was looking forward to practicing teaching Chinese students as all my CELTA students were adults and it was a multi-lingual class.

We are now at the start of September and there is still no definite news. The last estimate I got was arrival would be the week of 15-20th September.

One problem, as it seems is common anywhere, is that there are different departments who do different things and all need to work together to get things done. The work permit is issued by Foreign Experts Bureau, but I then need an invitation letter, issued by a foreign affairs department of the Beijing authorities. When that has been issued, then both the permit and letter can be sent to me, and I can get my visa, book my flights and go. But when that will actually be, remains to be seen….

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