EF Education First Teachers

Hello EF Teachers,

If any one has any questions about the on-boarding process, what to expect, or just generalized questions feel free to ask on this post. I have been in Shanghai for about three weeks and I work in the Kids Online department of EF. Currently, we are based at the Shanghai HQ , but will be moving to our new office space in the Pudong area. I know a lot of you have questions or maybe you feel like your situation is different than everyone else. Please feel free to ask, I know when I was going through the process no one could give me a straight answer about being married and moving your family abroad as   I am 30 and a lot of the new teachers are much younger. I am happy to help any way I can. 


Keith Downing

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Comment by Kierra Gosier on May 17, 2018 at 5:03pm

Thank you so much! I’ll be in Beijing in August, I’m so excited lol

Comment by Keith Downing on May 17, 2018 at 3:44pm

Hi Kierra,

These are some great questions and I'm happy to answer them.

Lets start with luggage, I would first check to see pricing and luggage limits with the airline you plan to travel on. I used United and was able to get one carryon and one checked bag free. I then paid for one additional checked bag. If you will arrive in the summer make sure to pack things you can wear in a humid environment it was 106 with the heat index and 100% humidity here in Shanghai yesterday. I wouldn't worry to much about bringing big jackets for winter you can have something specific made or pick something up at the mall when winter is closer.

For schedules you will have a better idea after being here for a week or two. I think mine changed every week for the first month, but then settled into a better rhythm, I work Friday through Tuesday from 1230pm-900pm. You probably won't have the same schedule, but if you work in a center you may have a 9-6 with one hour lunch. I think it mostly depends on where you will be located.

National Hollidays are usually off days for us, I think we even received an additional day off because my off day fell on a National Holliday. Again it all depends on where you work and what your job is.  

Hope this help and let me know if you think of anything else!

Keith Downing 

Comment by Kierra Gosier on May 17, 2018 at 1:51am

Hi Keith!

     My question would be what to pack for the year? How many bags are allowed to be brought? Have you received your schedule yet and what's it like? Annnnndddd lol sorry I know its a lot of questions, but the national holidays, do EF teachers work or no?

Comment by Janine Nxumalo on May 14, 2018 at 7:46pm
Hi Keith,
Thank you sooo much for the above info, it really helps a whole lot:)

Keep well!

Comment by Keith Downing on May 14, 2018 at 7:32pm

Hi Janine,

So VPN's are an interesting topic because everyone has a different opinion. I personally use Express VPN and it cost about 100 USD for one year of service. I allows me to have 3 devices connected at a time so my phone, laptop and my wife's phone can all be on the VPN at the same time. You can have more items linked, but they can't all be on at the same time. There are other services that cost less and maybe they work, but I can't really give an unbiased opinion as I have only used Express VPN.

I know of another called Viper that is popular and about half the cost of Express, my boss who has been here for 4 years is currently using viper and seems to not have any complaints.

Its a personal preference in the end. Do you want 24 hour support for any issues? Do you want just a single device to be connected ? These are things to consider when choosing a VPN. 

I know that you MUST download and set up the VPN before you enter China. You will not be able to download one once you arrive because China does not have an open internet policy.  

Do some research on the Top VPN's for China and try to make a decision that fits your needs and your wallet!

Hope this helps!

Keith Downing 

Comment by Janine Nxumalo on May 14, 2018 at 3:40pm
Hey Keith, hope you are settling in well. Could you please tell us more about the VPN... like which VPN you would recommend, payment process and do you and your spouse use the same VPN or do you have separate ones?

Comment by Keith Downing on May 12, 2018 at 1:09pm

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you for reaching out with your question. There are around 20 teaching centers in Shanghai alone and more than 100 in China. About a week before you leave you should receive a welcome email from your on boarding team that will give you a better idea where you are located. You can also contact your recruiter and they can give you the exact center name. Your first week will be spent at the Shanghai HQ at the Jing An Temple stop on line 2. You will notice when you arrive that your on boarding will be split between different centers and cities. When they add you to a we chat group there will be teacher ambassadors from your center so if you can't get an answer from your recruiter the ambassadors might be able to give you a better idea of your location. Don't worry though you will find out the location again when you do your regional induction (first week) and they give you a list of agents to help you find a place and usually some one from your center will reach out in the first few days.

I hope this helps and good luck on your journey to China!!!

Kind regards,

Keith Downing 

Comment by Stephanie Pender on May 12, 2018 at 7:37am

Hi Keith,

First I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. 

My question to you is, I will be arriving in Shanghai in 10 days time. I'm quite familiar with Shanghai,  Nantong and Ningbo as I have visited these cities this past year. I will be working in Shanghai but I was curious as to how many centers are there in Shanghai? Which center are new teachers usually placed in Shanghai? Just trying get a heads up so that I can start looking for an apartment ahead of time. 



Comment by Keith Downing on May 10, 2018 at 5:06pm

Hi Desiree,

This is a great question! It can be helpful to have another email account for personal emails, I am a gmail person so I worried about not having access. To solve the issue I went with a VPN and I am able check my gmail daily without any hassle. I also set up an AOL account which works fine without a VPN. I believe you can have all your gmail emails forwarded to your aol account to eliminate the need for a VPN in this situation. 

I hope this helps and as always let me know if you have any other questions!!!


Keith Downing

Comment by Desiree Mogorosi on May 10, 2018 at 3:12pm

Hi Keith,

Thank you. I have another question, because Google is blocked in China and I am using my gmail, should I have another email account apart from Google?




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