Friday, July 3, 2015

Might As Well

Do I need to explain? 
I haven't replied.
My last message to them was on the 19th...

I never thought I'd be threatened for disliking my experience at Yudefang, ZUFE, YCC Shanghai or whatever other name they'd like to go by. -_-

Friday, June 26, 2015

Who Is YCC Shanghai anyway?

It has come to my attention that this is a family run business.

Nicole seems to be the boss.
I don't know what the man does, but he must be her husband.
Jessica is the younger sister.
The woman has not been around since.
The receptionist that worked there when I started has quit. She's not related to them.

Be very careful out there. As I said before, it's common practice to pay to link another business/school's name with one's own business.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Enough Laughing Time to Get Serious

   At this point I only have 75 days of my six month visa left. YCC has decided to stop my classes. Hmmmmm that's not an extra month's worth of FREE classes. Whatever. I have quite a few more interviews lined up. From their end, not one is related to hotel or conventions as we spoke about in my initial emails and the first month of my being here. I have decided to just take up one of the jobs if they offer. However, I must explain the way in which everything was set up.

   I have been forwarded a bunch of emails, but some information doesn't match. Manager names with the wrong company, an address that doesn't make sense, etc. I also have not been contacted to confirm any time schedules or anything. I see one email asking for writing samples and references. I stop and think "I'm not a writer. I haven't done any. I'm not into journalism." I email Nicole back and she responds quite nastily complaining that I have no experience at all and that I don't communicate with them. Remember the last yelling match? I definitely no longer bring up any conversations with them. Any question I have that they deem negative is met with hostile voices, faces and words. I don't really have time for it as I'm serious about getting an internship.

   I ignore the email for a bit to focus on researching something about these other companies. In the morning, I check my email and see that it's been updated to say meet up at 3pm. I call that company and ask if a bit later is ok because I've got another interview across town. They comply. In my first interview, I'm excited that we came to the agreement that he would consider it and he even called a few friends during the interview to inquire about visa details and possible placement at another place.

   I get an angry text about me missing an interview and am told that YCC will stop all services "NOW" and to never contact them again. I find it odd and double check my email. Since it's a long list of forwards in one, I double check each line. Turns out that journalist position was scheduled at the same time as this one. I think to myself, "why didn't she send each interview schedule as a separate item?" Forwards only show the last conversation had.

   I send her an email at the end of the day that she's the one in the wrong because from day one they have had my email, phone number and WeChat and that if communication was that important to them, they would have talked to me about what they could and couldn't do, if my resume was not written well, or what companies they had and what the time schedules were.

   I don't like to have blame placed on me so I emailed the journalist company explaining that I simply didn't know they had been rescheduled as the last thing I told Nicole was that I don't have any writing experience. I don't know if they will accept it though because I tried to call the company and they wouldn't take my calls or they were actually quite busy and couldn't. I guess I'll never know.

   What I do know, is that I recommend everyone stay far away from this "school". Especially if you are the type that asks questions and tries to learn about the progress of anything. I promise I'm not the only person to feel cheated but I may be the boldest blogging about it. I just don't want anyone else to waste money. I'll do an update in a few about how to find jobs in China with or without Chinese. It's harder without established relationships but it can be done.

Friday, June 12, 2015

They May Fulfill Their Duties

   I was in class when I got a WeChat message from Jessica about an interview. The office is across from my classroom but we don't really greet each other from across the hall, but I still find it strange that she didn't wait until after or during a break to discuss it. I asked if it was a hotel or convention company. She replies it's a mixed company...

   I go on with class and a bit later she tells me that it's to do business development. I say fine and check out the company details after class. At this point I may as well see what they are about. I do the interview and find that I had to speak English because the Chinese manager wasn't present. I figured I did ok, but the company is looking at other candidates too. I was told to wait for a call from the other manager. I was sure they needed to test my Chinese.

   So I did. Nicole asks what happened at the interview a few days later. I explain what happened. However there was no call from the other manager. Oh well, maybe she had found someone better?

   Fast forward a few days. I am being sent an interview opportunity every twenty minutes. Well, just three. Again I'm in class, but I'm the only student anyway so I tell her to reschedule one as I had some trouble that I needed to sort out at that time.

   She tells me she'll send me an email and I can reschedule on my own. Well, I suppose. After all, I know my schedule best. Time to try try again!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Final Straw

   Ironically I have to remind myself that I'm not wrong. Let's start with some background before you all get angry with me too. ;)

   I didn't see any other schools offering a partial refund in the event that the school couldn't find an internship for you. I took that as a final sign that YCC would be a good choice because, although some of you may feel it shouldn't make a difference, there are times that Chinese people don't want to hire Black people and in this country each resume must include a picture. I wouldn't dream of faulting the school for that, so it gave me peace of mind.

 [  I see that the site has changed that clause and replaced it with offering "one-two months free classes".]

   I still have no opportunity of an internship. The last call I got was a lady asking if I'd like to interview for a sales position. I have no experience in that. In fact, I suck at it. I declined and definitely reminded Nicole that I needed to find either hotel or conventions as that is my only significant experience besides teaching. She said talk to Jessica. Jessica said the convention company didn't want me because I didn't have experience. True, I didn't know they built sets for conventions, I don't have any experience for that. However I also have zero sales ability. She asks what kind of job I want in a raised tone. I tell her to calm down, I'm simply asking we stick to my original plan. I ask how the search is going a couple of days later and am told she is waiting to hear from companies.

   FAST FORWARD TO THIS WEEK!!! hahaha well, Monday. Today.

   My speaking teacher has quit and my writing teacher suggested I push a little to get my internship. So I went to speak with them after class again. I asked if they'd still honor the partial refund since my classes end this week. They claimed they never had that kind of rule. I informed them that it was my final push to have me choose their company and that it's fine if they've changed the rule but it was there. Nicole slams her fist on the desk and yells that they have not made any changes to the site. It clearly states that they'll offer free classes. I say in a louder tone, "Ok, I'm fine with the change but I have another question." Jessica steps in and says she changed the site last year. 

   Now I'm annoyed because Jessica has stood up out of her chair to ask me why I'm even in here yelling at them. I laugh and ask why they are yelling at me when I've simply asked a question. They even lied as Jessica is clearly admitting to having changed the website. They update it themselves. Nicole asks for my proof. I tell her I obviously have none, but I wouldn't forget (or make up) that kind of clause. Again, I say I'm fine with the change and ask how my internship search is going. However Nicole is fuming over the previous question. I ask her the show me proof instead, of when they changed the site. Jessica finds something and prints it off, but no words print along with the picture. Nicole says she can't believe I don't believe they haven't changed the site and yells again. Jessica slams the office door shut but no one else is in this place. I laugh again at this ridiculous scene and shout I can't count it as proof. Now I'm joining in on this childish way of arguing a point.

   Jessica pulls out her camera to video me as Nicole rants about how I'm a ridiculous person that doesn't understand anything and tells Jessica to ignore me. I pull out my phone and turn on the record app saying, "wait, I guess I should record too." She puts her phone down and sits back down again. I asked why we couldn't both record just in case a misunderstanding arises and we need to pull out "proof" again. I try to go back to my next question but again Nicole is not satisfied. She tells Jessica to text me their unprintable "proof". Jessica asks for the failed print back because it's the company paper...

   I ask them again how the search is going and they sneer that no companies have replied to them. I ask them how many they are waiting on and am met with "a few". I ask them to please let me know the companies so that I can research them and prep for potential interviews. Nicole shouts again, "NO! YOU WILL GET THE INFORMATION BEFORE THE INTERVIEW! THAT IS OUR RULE FOR EVERYONE ELSE." I don't join in on the yelling this time, but I tell them that rule is not on their site so I don't have the "proof". I also explain that it makes for a better interview if I can prepare.

   This is when Nicole asks, "Do you know why you don't get any offers?" I ask why believing she would say something the companies have said. She rolls her neck back and forth with a "because you have a bad attitude." Ok. Now I'm dying. I must brag a bit and say that my past jobs have absolutely loved working with me and my last co-teacher recently sent an email saying she wished I still worked at the school in S. Korea.

   I tell them ok but at least give me a full 24 hours before any interview to research whichever company replies to them. At this Nicole lowers her head in a scowl with a smirk and says in a sing-song voice, "Our website states that we only need to set up two to five interviews and then we've done our job." I inform them I've only had ONE so far. They say fine. Nicole ends with a stern "we will send you the company information 24 hours before the interview. Is that clear?" My eyes get wide and I jiggle my shoulders and say, "I asked you for a 24 hour notice. Are YOU clear?" I've fallen into the act like a child trap again. Nicole's final words amidst Jessica's bad mouthing are, "I'm very clear so you can leave!" I chuckle and end with I'll leave when I want followed with, now that class is done I guess I'll leave.

   Let's see if they still find me an internship or give me free classes. After all, my study part is finished.

Have you ever experienced this kind of craziness at a school that you paid to be at and trusted to help you out? Leave your comments below!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Winding Down

   Many students no longer show up to classes. The culture classes have disappeared altogether. I'm waiting to get some interviews done. So far I've had one class to practice cover letter and resume writing.

   I had sent an updated resume to Nicole to send to companies because my original was my teaching resume. I sent that by accident. 

   Flash forward to now! I finally have an interview with a convention company! I'm hoping for the best however, I didn't get any information on them. I asked them to schedule it on Wednesday since I have an open morning. The man who works there pulled me aside to wish me luck and to accept even if they offer a low salary of 1000 yuan. Afterall, it's only an internship and you want the knowledge and experience that comes with it. I kept that in mind and waited for the confirmed time.

   Around 8pm Jessica informed me by text that the interview was scheduled for 2pm the next day. I asked her what I should do about my class and the midday English class I had offered to help them with. 

Jessica: "But don't you think the job opportunity is more important?"
Me:        "Will there be a makeup class? Class is something I must pay for. It's not confirmed I will get the job. I guess I'll also need to cancel the English class because it ends at 1:30."
 [[This class is actually a favor to them...They aren't an English school.]]
Her:       "Okay, I will cancel the interview. We will start arranging interviews after all you classes finish."
Me:       "I would prefer to do interviews now so that I'll be employed by the time classes finish.
Her:       "Ok."
Me after 10mins: " what's the plan for tomorrow?"
Her:      "We extend one more classes for you. Won't make up. Please inform your English class students come half hour earlier."

   I guess no one has asked about that before me, but I thought if all classes start at two anyway and they knew I didn't need to teach their impromptu English class Wednesday, the scheduling would work out better. Oh well.

   They forgot to tell me which specific position I was to apply for but at least I can look up the name of the company.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Professors of What?

   School is not what I thought know I read on the website. The teachers are not professors at all as the site claims. The textbook for advanced is definitely advanced but they don't know how to teach it. If the teachers a company hires are not actually professors they should say as much to help students make their decisions with no regrets, right?

   The schedule wasn't given out until the second week in and it says:
Monday 2 - 4:45 Speaking and Listening
Tuesday 2 - 4:45 Reading and Writing
Wednesday 2 - 4:45 Reading and Writing
Thursday 2 - 4:45 Speaking and Listening
Friday 2- 4:00 Culture

   There is little to no speaking going on on Mondays and Thursdays. We read the vocabulary and go over the meanings for an hour, the teacher reads the text and then moves on to the questions. Then we look at a PPT of grammar points; some from the book and many not. Although it's advanced class there is a lot of English coming from the teacher to explain most everything. It's like a nonstop radio with 15 minute breaks each hour.

   There is no book for Tuesday and Wednesday. We read nothing. We talk for two and a half hours on any given topics, again, with 15 minute breaks each hour. Felt more like a free chat class. I eventually asked if we'd at least write. My one other classmate didn't want to but we did for the last 10 minutes. I could only pray to do more in the future. Chatting is fun, but I was definitely lost on the purpose. An English explanation also accompanies each new word. 

   After being a teacher/tutor for years since the U.S. I know that at a certain level you describe in the target language. In a good classroom you will hear.
Student: "I'm sorry what does 'naive' mean?"
Teacher: "It describes a person that is new to everything. Not stupid. Simply doesn't understand how the world works yet."
- or -
Teacher: "Do you understand the word 'criminal'?"
Student: "I'm gonna guess someone that does 'crime'?"
If that fails, the dictionary is a student's BEST friend. You know I used to tell my students it was their foreign boy/girlfriend.

   I talked to Nicole about my disappointment in the teaching styles. Their site says they have a great method but I know for a fact that this is no way to improve well. Her best answer was (and the other two times I would ask in the future) to take it up with the teachers.

  The speaking class made some improvement as our suggestion to watch a movie or see a TV show for listening was agreed to. However pausing a movie every two to five minutes with breaks effectively took the whole class. Randomly selecting 成语* idioms that are popular became more of a hindrance than a help. However, we finally stopped getting 5 related vocab words for each new word in our textbook. Each chapter already contains 70-100 new words with 3-10 supplementary and at two classes per week, it was becoming crazy.

   We also finally received 10 minutes per hour to write about a given topic during writing...I was trying to write well though, so I usually needed to use the break times as well. Every time the teacher kept asking, "Are you finished yet? We don't have much time."

   My teachers are nice people so I won't name them, but they are definitely not teachers. I know the same is said about people that travel and teach English but some people end up actually being good at it so I'm fine with that if I know upfront. Although these people have the Chinese equivalent to a TEFL certificate, sometimes, it doesn't mean they can teach.

Culture class? 0.0 Well, it's all in English and more of an arts and crafts thing. Same teachers but definitely not detailed. More of 'Chinese people like this picture let's paint one together!' (Insert big smiles and a hand raised for a high five)


DISCLAIMER: My friend that is in the intermediate level says Wendy is an awesome teacher. She gets down to business and spends no more than 10 minutes on any day with gossip. I name her because greatness deserves praise and advertisement right?

Do you know any Chinese teachers that may not be licensed but really rock the classroom? Put their info in the comments!