Michelle Amy Newell and Mark Percy arrived in Tianjin together and decided to share their first week’s experiences with us.
Coming to work for EF Tianjin has been an awesome experience thus far. We arrived on the 5th of October and stayed in a hotel for two nights. We were picked up by Grace, who welcomed us with a warm smile. She encouraged us to try and get some sleep, as the ride home would take some time. We happily complied. Our apartment, is lovely, provided by EF and has everything we need to get started after being shown around Grace brought us some lunch, and then we were left to soak in our new environment.
The next two days were spent making ourselves at home and getting to know the area around us. I remember the first night, taking a walk in our new neighbourhood and feeling excited about all the great shops and restaurants. There’s nothing better than knowing you can get some tasty food nearby. The food in Tianjin hasn’t been a disappointment. We started our training on the Monday. Michael, the EF Tianjin training manager gave us a warm welcome and made us feel right at home. There were quite a large group of us, both foreign and local teachers. The second day of training, Tuesday, we were supposed to do a city tour with our group, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t really great – we opted for the day off. Using this time to do some solo exploring closer to our new home.
First on the list – The Haihe River, as we had read about the river that runs through the middle of the city. Oddly enough we saw a few people swimming in it despite the weather being somewhat chilly. Now we know where to come in summer to cool off. We then met up with some friends and ventured down to the Italian town, it was quite cold. The ‘town’ itself was very quiet, but quite pretty. We then went for a walk along the river and somehow ended up on Binjiang Dao, it’s a long and well-known shopping street. We found a little restaurant on one of the side streets and had some dinner. Getting home was a bit challenging, after unsuccessfully haggling with a few taxi drivers we decided to walk home and prepare for training the next day.
Throughout the week of training we learnt so much and I can’t help but be excited to walk into my first class. Despite there being so much to take in, Michael made it fun and practical. We had lunch every afternoon with our training team, it was great getting to know all our new colleagues. We got to spend time with everyone getting to know them, and what had brought them to EF. The knowledge and friendship I gained throughout that week is invaluable. I was able to make many friends and given the opportunity to dive deeply into the community that EF Tianjin has created, encouraging friendship and comradery. I am looking forward to what lies ahead.