Could it be that our services are 100% free? Maybe.
Could it be that New Life ESL was created by teachers for teachers? Probably.
What sets us apart from other agencies is that we’ve been in your shoes. We can offer some pretty valuable insight on what to expect when coming to China as an expat that most recruiting companies can’t. Being such an awesome company, our staff has naturally grown and we figured it’d be a good idea to introduce ourselves.
Drum roll please….
Meet Kimmie. Our Senior Recruiter.
First off, tell us your name and where you’re from?
I’m Kimmie and I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona (it’s a dry heat). The founders of New Life ESL and me go waaayyyy back. I’ve seen New Life grow from a group of friends startup to eventually using their services myself when I first came to China. After a couple years teaching and living in China, I became their first employee and now i’m their Senior Recruiter.
What’s your job at New Life ESL?
I hand pick and manage our awesome staff that truly know the in’s and out’s of China. We all share our experiences on our Social Media, Newsletter, and Blog where we try to be as transparent as possible to give teachers a good guide on what to expect when moving to China. Plus, let’s be real. The Middle Kingdom is HUGE. It’s my job to get to know the teacher, suggest cities I think would be a good fit, and guide them through the interviewing process. Not only that, but we give some serious insight on life in China because all of us at New Life ESL have been through this process personally.
Where are your current stomping grounds?
Currently, I live in the southwest of China in Kunming, Yunnan, although I’m writing this from an airport which seems to be my second home. I spend a good amount of time in the States with my family, but I’m mainly in the Spring City with my dog, Vera.
What is your experience with living and teaching in China?
In early 2015, New Life found me an awesome job in the capital of Hainan Island teaching kindergarten. When I completed my contract, I spent time working in a training center in Beijing and eventually made my way to public schools in Kunming. To this day, I occasionally teach Summer or Winter camps, but my main focus is helping teachers find awesome positions of their own in China.
What’s your favorite Chinese food?
Yunnan food, hands down. When I first came to Yunnan to hike The Tiger Leaping Gorge, I fell in love with the spicy food and all the diverse flavors from the different ethnic groups from around Yunnan Province. Yunnan has an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables that are dirt cheap year round.
Second choice, noodles from Xinjiang. Seriously sooooo good.
What’s the most challenging part of living in China?
The visa. If this extensive z-visa process didn’t constantly change or exist in general, life would be so much easier. Luckily for us, our partners at Career China have some serious guanxi (connections) with an awesome visa service. They have offices in the UK, US, and soon in Canada to make the visa process as smooth as possible. Regulations still change frequently, but our visa team is the bomb.
What’s your favorite places to travel to in China?
Oooh, hard question. The Tiger Leaping Gorge was the most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on and I have no idea how I hiked it solo and hungover. Suzhou is the Venice of China and had some SERIOUS gardens that left me feeling all kinds of zen. Yangshuo is totally worth the hype and of course the must-see, Great Wall of China. I just suggest using Beijing Hikers to get off the tourist trail and on to some of the unrestored sections of the.wall.
Full disclosure: China isn’t the easiest place to travel, but i’ve found that the more difficult the place, the more rewarding it can be.
Traveling, scuba diving, fostering dogs and dabbling in some photography. I have an amazing Mandarin teacher I study with (who is unbelievably patient) and I also coordinate events in Kunming for the expat scene. China is an awesome place to develop new skills and adopt new hobbies. The cost of living is low, but the salaries are more than fair so it provides expats with the time to actually live for themselves and not grind away for a paycheck.
What is the most “laowai” experience you have had in China?
In my first couple of months in China, I would use the phrase “Dà Biàn” to direct taxis which I thought meant “Over There”. A couple of months later, I learned the correct phrase was “Nà Bian”. I was literally telling the drivers “Big Relief” (aka poop) when navigating and their reactions made so much sense once my kindergarten students pointed it out to me. I’m sure I’ve had more embarrassing translation errors that I have no idea about, but at least someone got a good laugh.. even if it’s at my expense.
Best piece of advice you’d give an expat about to move to China?
Stop comparing China to your home country and accept that things are done differently. Some things are seriously annoying and I PROMISE it isn’t just YOUR bank that takes forever or YOUR school that sometimes changes things at the last minute. There’s a different mentality here and complaining and comparing is just going to strip you of your experience.
Expats have a phrase: This is China. Let this be your new mantra.
YES! I’m constantly trying to spread the word to people about helping animals in China. We’ve recently put together a guide on how to become a flight volunteer! If you’re interested, let us know! It’s no cost to you and you help change the lives of doggos that truly need it.
Nice to meet y’all! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!