Travelling to a new country to teach is hard, even when the world is not in the midst of a pandemic.
Many teachers have returned home and have slotted back into their lives prior to their overseas adventure.
There are those teachers however who still feel the pull of a career overseas and are making their way out of Australia and into a new life abroad.
One of our candidates, Donata shared this advice with us to help other teachers who may be wondering if such a move is even possible. This was written on Day 10 of her quarantine in China.
I left Australia in July to take up a teaching position in China. The entire process prior to departure was lengthy, but the Chinese regulations were very clear and the communication with the consulate was very effective. There are mandatory requirements for the visa application like the authentication of various documents by the Chinese consulate. The authentication itself is an online process, any documents that need to be authenticated though must be first verified by the DoFA (Passport Office) and then emailed to the consulate in your city. The reply is usually prompt, I didn’t have to wait long at all. Another mandatory aspect is the Covid test 48 hours prior to departure, which can be only conducted at designated Covid testing sites for air travel purposes. For China, it is a requirement to get a nucleic acid test and a blood test. It is necessary to register for the test online and print out the test form.
If the test is conducted early in the morning, the results will be emailed in the late afternoon on the same day. Then they need to be emailed to the Chinese consulate (again, a special link will be provided from the consulate), to get the green code in a digital form. Without the green code, it is impossible to check in.
I made two significant mistakes when leaving Australia: – I didn’t exchange my money as I intended to do at the airport on arrival. – I didn’t enable global roaming on my mobile as again, I intended to get a SIM card with a Chinese number at the airport.
Arriving in China
On arrival at the airport, there is no time and no opportunity to go anywhere as all passengers go through the process of screening passports, tests, visas, etc. It is very well supervised, and nobody can go anywhere at all. Once everything has been completed, passengers are guided to buses, which take the new arrivals to quarantine hotels. There is no opportunity whatsoever to get anything at the airport. In the hotel, the room needs to be paid for in advance. Meals will be included in some hotels, not all. My problem was that not having a valid Chinese number or a Chinese account so I couldn’t order any meals through the apps available here. Lucky for me – the hotel meals were really good.
I would strongly recommend having a global roaming function to be able to complete all the required registration forms via QR codes. There is always a verification number that needs to be sent to the mobile number, without the global roaming function it is very difficult. The Chinese are extremely helpful and will try to do their best to resolve any issues. Language is often a barrier, using the online translator app, with an audio function, is strongly recommended. The WeChat app is the most popular way for communication here, and it has this fabulous function of translating messages – I write in English, get an answer in Chinese, press on the message, click translate and have the answer in English. It is a lifesaver if you don’t speak Chinese.
Another point to consider is, that people follow the rules of wearing masks and using disinfectants here very strictly, and having a mask is always a must.
Overall, it is an exciting experience.
At the time of writing, this information was correct however these rules change quickly and your new school HR department may be the best source of information to help you leave Australia!
We too have had trouble organising local bank accounts whilst completing 4 weeks quarantine, and haven’t been able to order local food easily. But we have been very well supported by our school that we are teaching at. They had local SIM cards waiting at our quarantine hotel. Quite an experience moving in the middle of a pandemic but having support and contacts here, as well as lots of research and preparation before we left have made it relatively smooth.
Read about the experience of an expat adapting to life
in France and see how it differs from living in Australia during the pandemic.