Chinese Embassy in the U.K. Starts Accepting Visa Applications

Chinese embassies in other countries may have similar notices in the near future, so read and know the requirements in advance, prepare for the application.

To facilitate gradually resuming personnel exchanges between China and foreign countries, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates-General in the U.K. are ready to accept visa applications through the Chinese Visa Application Service Centres in London, Manchester and Edinburgh as of Aug 18th 2020 from applicants who intend to travel to China for any of the following purposes.

1. British citizen and applicant from any of the 35 other European countries who is holding a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit of China for work, private matters or family reunion, and needs to go to China for the same visiting purpose as shown on the Residence Permit;

2. Applicant (including accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) who does not hold a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit of China for work, private matters or family reunion, but has an “Invitation Letter (PU/TE)” or “Verification Confirmation of Invitation” issued by the Foreign Affairs Office of the provincial government or the provincial department of commerce of the intended place of visit to visit China for economic, trade, scientific, technological, culture or sport purposes;

3. Applicant (including accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) who does not hold a valid Foreigner’s Residence Permit of China for work, private matters or family reunion, but has obtained “Notification Letter of Foreigners Work Permit” as well as “Invitation Letter (PU/TE)” or “Verification Confirmation of Invitation” to work in China;

4. Applicant who intends to visit China for the following humanitarian reasons:

A. Applicant intending to visit an immediate family member in China (including parents, spouse, children, grandparents, grandchildren) who is in critical medical condition and in need of care, or arrange funeral matters of an immediate family member in China;

Photocopies of a medical certificate or death certificate, proof of relationships (including birth certificate, marriage certificate, Chinese household registration, certificate letters from the local police bureau in China, notarial certificate of kinship, etc.), and an invitation letter from relatives in China are required.

B. Applicant who is spouse or child under the age of 18 of a Chinese citizen or who holds a valid Chinese Foreign Permanent Resident ID Card, and intends to visit China for family reunion;

An invitation letter and photocopies of the Chinese Identity Card or the Chinese Foreign Permanent Resident ID Card, and proof of relationships are required.

C. Applicant (including accompanying spouse and children under the age of 18) intending to visit China to take care of or support his/her Chinese parents;

An invitation letter from the Chinese parent and photocopies of his/her Chinese Identity Card, and proof of relationships are required.

5. Applicant who qualifies for a crew (C) visa.

Applicants are required to fill in the online application form and make an appointment with the nearest Chinese Visa Application Centre before submitting applications in person on the date of appointment. Minor children under the age of 14 are not required to go to the Visa Centre for biometric information collection.

Visa applications for other visiting purposes which are not included above can not be accepted at the moment.

Please be advised that the above are temporary arrangements and subject to further change. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

35 other European countries

Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands

Source: Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Kingdom of Great Britain  and Northern Ireland

5 Core Skills From an ESL Job

You’ve seen the acronym advertising ESL Jobs, and you’ve done a bit of research. For the curious, ESL stands for English as a Second Language. The Brits know it as TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language. But what will you get out of an ESL job? The simple answer is a lot, but here are the skills that you can develop or use in an ESL career.

1. Problem Solving

Imagine, you’ve planned a class, you know the students and everything is going to be great. During the class, no one’s getting it. The enthusiastic students are tired and everyone’s getting restless. As the teacher, everyone looks to you and you need to rescue the class. You develop an instinct in the class- you think fast and try new things. If that doesn’t work, you keep your cool and find something that works. This is a skill seen time and time again in the classroom, and the ability to stay cool under pressure and think quickly remain invaluable.

2. Communication Skills

Listed time and time again on job descriptions: the applicant must have excellent communication skills. But what does that even mean? The term “communication skills” could be open to interpretation and difficult to prove that you have. But as an ESL teacher, this is a core skill. Imagine setting a task, or giving instructions to classes from 5 to 25, and there’s a catch. English isn’t their first language. Sound difficult? It is at first, but in time the ESL teacher becomes a master at setting tasks, getting results with minimum speech, and body language.

3. Public Speaking

Public speaking is a common fear. The thought of standing up in front of a group of strangers can be a terrifying experience. New ESL teachers also find this a test of nerve. But over time, the ESL teacher overcomes this fear. Standing up in front of a group of eager eyes becomes second nature.

4. Time Management

ESL schedules can be hectic, especially during summer courses and peak months. Time management in class is a skill that teachers develop. ESL teachers learn to focus on what’s important to the learner, moving through the teaching material to meet their needs.

5. Sales Skills

Good sales people are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate. They tailor the product to your needs and at the end of the sales pitch, you’re sold, you want the product! Who was your favourite teacher at school? They were knowledgeable, passionate and at the end of the class you wanted to learn more. The similarities are close. A good teacher helps the student use the language (the product). The teacher’s enthusiasm also makes the student more enthusiastic about the language. After class, these students want to learn more by themselves. This is when the real learning starts.

How to combat loneliness as a teacher abroad during the pandemic

Loneliness during COVID-19 2020

Feeling lonely is an inevitable side effect of self-isolating. Here are some tips for teachers living abroad on how to combat loneliness. As much as possible and maintain a healthy emotional and mental outlook: 

  • Stay connected. 
  • Reconnect with old friends.
  • Communicate with colleagues.
  • Reach out to those in need.
  • Accept help and support. 
  • Keep up with your self-care.

Stay connected.

The best way to tackle feelings of loneliness is. Make an effort to stay connected with friends and family both at home and in your host country. 

Use technology to your advantage to help keep in touch, especially with friends and relatives living alone. 

Try to arrange a phone or video call whenever you can. Keeping track on a calendar of dates and times when you are free to do so. 

Staying indoors for a long time can also mean that, when you connect with family and friends, you find yourself with little to talk about. 

You could also try playing games together. There are many great apps out there that allow you to have fun virtual hangouts. Such as virtual online quizzes or even video calling apps such as Zoom and HouseParty.

Reconnect with old friends.

As a teacher living abroad, you may have lost touch with several of your friends back home. 

Whether you’re navigating a new job in a new country or having lived abroad for years. Now is the perfect time to rekindle those friendships with individuals you never thought you’d lose touch with. 

With schools in countries such as Italy and Spain planning on staying closed until at least September. You may find yourself with lots of free time to do so.

It is important to not feel pressured to reach out to people. However, friends should understand that living through a pandemic is no easy challenge since we are all in this together. 

If you find yourself being distant from others, remember to not feel guilty about this. But instead do what is best for your mental health.

Communicate with colleagues.

Missing out on talking with colleagues regularly throughout the day can intensify feelings of loneliness. 

Whereas before you could simply chat with a fellow teacher about work or what you saw on TV the night before. This essential social interaction has now been dramatically minimized as teachers work remotely.

Communication is easy to achieve throughout the working day by video. Calling coworkers to discuss your current teaching plans and ideas for the future. 

Talk about something other than work, arrange a call during your breaks or in the evening to help stay connected and maintain a work-life balance. 

If you’re a teacher in a country where lockdown rules are being eased slightly. You may now be allowed to meet up with a select number of individuals in an outdoor space. 

Use this opportunity to catch up with some colleagues or friends while also keeping your distance. 

Reach out to those in need.

If you think your family and friends are struggling, assure them that you’ll be there to speak to them and provide advice when they’re feeling overwhelmed and lonely. 

However, as a teacher abroad, your family members may be hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away. Helping someone else’s family in times of need is a great way to fit in some much needed social contact and help others combat their own struggles of loneliness.

As you venture out for your weekly grocery run, reach out to neighbors or colleagues who are quarantined and ask if they need a few essentials. 

As long as you remember to keep your distance, you shouldn’t be putting your health at risk. 

Completing a good deed for others will help boost morale and lift a weight off the shoulders of those who are in need.

Helping out is also a great way to make new relationships while in quarantine. 

If you’ve never spoken to your neighbors before, try leaving a friendly note and offering some encouragement. 

If you’re a teacher living in an apartment building, this can be a great way to get to know a large group of people and share resources.

Accept help.

If you’re seriously worried about your mental health, it is vital to reach out to those who can help. 

If you feel uncomfortable talking to a friend or family member about this, there are trained professionals who can help by listening and guide you to means of navigating and managing your emotions during this uncertain time. 

Making sure you have easy access to your host country’s healthcare system and services is extremely important during this time. 

For example, in some countries, you’ll need to have some kind of health insurance plan in place so you won’t incur any out of pocket fees when accessing local health services or facilities. Whether it’s for physical or mental health purposes. 

Virtual health services are also available on specific international healthcare plans, allowing you to seek medical advice from inside your own home. 

Keep up with your self-care.

Finally, don’t forget to give yourself some love and support too. 

Self-care can be anything from exercising to dancing around in your apartment to good tunes or starting a daily journal. 

The idea is to do something nice for yourself every day. This might be hard at first, but it’s so worth it.

It doesn’t have to be big either. But regularly taking care of yourself will boost your happiness and strengthen your relationship with yourself at the same time.

So go ahead and try to do more things that make you feel better and whole. 

Draw, write, dance, meditate, exercise or eat a nutritious meal. Commit to at least one act of self-care a day.

Stay strong and keep at it!

Making the first step to reaching out for help can be a difficult one. But it is important to not suffer in silence from mental health issues that may arise, or be heightened as a result of self-isolation.

Remember that you are not alone and there are plenty of teachers abroad who have also had their experience change in the blink of an eye. 

Just take it day by day. 

You’ll come out of this more resilient and adaptable than you ever thought possible. 

Best of luck to all the teachers abroad right now. 

Hang in there! ?

By Erika Raso