Aihua is My Home Away from Home, by Danielle Nortje

Aihua is more than just a training center where you work. I have found Aihua to be a second home, where I have friends, family and endless support. When I first arrived everyone was so friendly, welcoming and very helpful. The transition from South Africa to Beijing would not have been the same without the wonderful support Aihua offers. Someone is always there to help you; whether it’s paying for your electricity, learning new teaching skills, buying an electric scooter, figuring out how online shopping works, buying a new laptop or just finding a nice coffee shop. When I have been very ill someone would always go with me to the hospital and ensure that I get what I need to feel better. It’s wonderful to have people that care about you and want to help you in every way they can. You are never alone in Aihua and I am very grateful to be a part of the Aihua family.

The role of being the one that needed the help changed in the middle of the year when a new group of teachers came through from all over the world; Australia, Ireland, UK, South Africa. I then had the opportunity to help them and show them around. Take them to restaurants around the area, show them how didi apps work, what to say when ordering food or drinks (even though my Chinese is very limited), going on a subway adventure and showing them the hutongs, or even just helping them with their lesson plans and giving them ideas and support. In my center JDJ we had two new teachers that joined us and the family just grew and became even better. It’s always wonderful when new people join, we went out for food and celebrated the new arrivals. Aihua encourages us to do team building activities and have a fun day out with the team once a month. I have wonderful work collogues as well as great friendships in Aihua which constantly grow as there are always new people to meet and get to know.

Aihua is a wonderful environment to work in where everyone is looking out for each other and is always cheering each other on. Everyone shares their creative ideas and always discusses different ways to teach new topics. The Aihua team is phenomenal and makes working fun, exciting, energizing and harmonious. The Chinese teaches are wonderful; they always have a smile on their face and they always give their all in every class. The FCS of every center are all hard working, kind and are always there to lend you a helping hand. I have found that working for Aihua has been truly wonderful and has given me the opportunity to meet such extraordinary people.

The children we teach are all so different in so many ways. You get energetic, loud, talkative children as well as shy, quiet, sweet children who need more encouragement to participate. However, they all want to have as much fun as possible and learn English in a fun, carefree way. Being a teacher in Aihua has been such a wonderful experience and I have found that I have grown so much as a person and learnt so much as a teacher. Aihua has become part of my family and is now my home.

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