So a few weeks before your departure flight you will be added to a wechat group (download wechat on your phone!). In the group will be the other people you are going with as well as your trainer, some EF internationals already there and…"
"Hey Catherine! I'm super excited for the move, but a little nervous. I've been watching other English teachers on YouTube and taking down tips from them along with teaching myself mandarin basics to make the transition easier. For…"
So a few weeks before your departure flight you will be added to a wechat group (download wechat on your phone!). In the group will be the other people you are going with as well as your trainer, some EF internationals already there and most importantly your visa officer :) The visa officer will arrange your pick up at the airport and will monitor your flight times in case you're delayed (The flight itself is booked by your recruiter if it states free flights) The person picking you up will hold an EF sign up with your name. He/she will take you to your hotel (all your other new colleagues will stay in the same hotel). You dont have to pay anything for the pick up so just relax! When you get there you just let the visa officer know you arrived and then take a break haha. Many hotels require a deposit to check in of 500RMB and you need to have that on you.
As for the apartment, EF gives you 2 weeks at the hotel so you have up to 14 days to find a place. Around 2-3 days after you arrive you will go to a presentation at EF about finding an apartment. They will give you really useful contacts that have helped previous employees! (The contact EF gave me actually was the one that found me my place!) You have loads of options and the agent will work with you to find what you want. But major tip: Have back-up funds as your loan may not arrive until day 10 and some land-lords want it sooner. Save up money and you'll be fine!
To give you a good idea: 9 people arrived in Shenzhen in August. By day 7 atleast 6 people had found a place. By the loan date (day 10) everyone had found a place :D
Please don't worry about it EF will help you all the way. EF will add experienced international teachers to your wechat group so you can message for more help.
A few weeks before your departure you will also be sent a PDF welcome manual with everything that is going to happen and all the useful tips and apps to download (wechat!)
Sorry really long post but hope it helps. I am now doing my teacher training so if you have any more questions feel free to post back!