I can confirm that AIEP is willing to provide you with your very own teach-abroad nightmare. However, I will try to mention the good along with the horrible.
If you decide to sign a contract with AIEP, you should be ready to step out of your comfort zone... way out! Most of the schools are in very small cities by Chinese standards. The positive side of this, in my experience, is that daily life can be reasonably cheap if your goal is to save money. However, you will likely be stared at a lot. Also, you cannot be sure that you will actually be teaching at the school listed on your contract. If there is a change, you will be told at the last minute, after you have arrived in China. One teacher was told one week into teaching after he had settled into his apartment. The different schools have different living conditions, so it's hard to say what sort of accommodation you will have. I think I was lucky compared to some other teachers. Another uncomfortable factor is that they sometimes have trouble hiring and retaining teaching assistants who can speak and understand a satisfactory level of English. So if you have an emergency, you may be relying on someone with whom you cannot communicate, and I found that pretty scary.
In my school, we had six weeks off in the winter and eight weeks off in the summer. Some travel enthusiasts may find this attractive. To me, that was too much time off (because, of course, the vacation pay is very low.) The reason I mention this is that the salary can sound very high, but you must consider that you are not being paid this salary for all 10 months of your contract: only when you are teaching. So former university teachers have remarked that they didn't actually end up making more money by taking a job with AIEP.
As for my own experience, Susan and Brian made me feel very comfortable and taken care of in the beginning. The company took good care of myself and my husband for a year. After we signed on for our second contract, things changed.
As for the contract, you can't really believe a word of it. Anything in the contract that is to your benefit as the teacher will be ignored. The reason things turned into a nightmare for me is that I asked to resign. My husband and I did this by the terms of the contract. According to Chinese labor laws, several of the clauses in the contract are actually illegal. However, we did as they asked and gave 60 days notice (it's illegal to ask for more than 30.) We assumed we would be charged the ridiculous 8000 RMB each fee for breaking the contract (although breach of contract penalties are also illegal). However, Susan came back with a ridiculous amount of money we owed the company for things that were neither in our contract nor agreed upon. It amounted to almost the rest of the pay we would make for the entire semester. To ensure that we would not "run away in the middle of the night," she decided to withhold the amount owed from our salary (read: not pay us). She told us we would be paid two months later. I can't imagine at this point that she actually wanted us to stay. Who would believe that any person would stay and work in a job where they are not being paid? My husband lost two months of pay and I lost one. Having decided not work for free another day, we left immediately.
I would definitely strongly caution anyone to stay away from this company. Some teachers may have a good experience, but it's a gamble that could go very wrong.
Do you know if ELIC is still sending FTs to the PRC?
In the past, said org was legally entitled to supply private schools and colleges/universities with FTs.
Do you consider ELIC FTs to be missionaries?
Huaqiao College in Changchun and Shanxi Modern Bilingual School, Taiyuan, kindergarten and elementary school campuses, are two locations where I have met ELIC FTs.
My husband and I like to travel and have new experiences and AIEP has been a good company to
work for while doing that.
I would estimate that two/thirds of all husband/wife couples teaching in China are missionaries.
If you see yourself as having a 'mission' to bring the 'word' to Chinese, sacrifice is part of the narrative.
Working with recruiters is a penance that will greatly assist in your fasting and poverty.
My husband and I have been working and living in China for 3 and ½ years now. We worked for one year and then renewed our contract for two more years and just recently signed up for two more. We have worked for AEIP for that entire time and we highly recommend them. AIEP is a great company to sign up with especially if you prefer to work in a smaller city in China.
I am not sure of the cause for all of the complaints, for some people life is hard and full of woe. I can only speak from our experience, so here goes:
1. AIEP has always met the conditions of our contracts and the head office employs honest, hardworking people who are there for you if you need support and assistance.
2. The company has always provided professional, highly qualified Teaching Assistants who provide support for us in the classroom and assistance with the life situation of living in a foreign country.
3. We have worked in three different schools for the company and have been very happy with the location, the school facilities and the school staff in each one.
4. Anytime unforeseen situations arise which interfere with our teaching schedule, the company has been supportive and flexible.
There are many differences between China and Western countries. China has its own culture and it is not the right place for everyone but it is becoming an increasingly modern country with friendly people. And the economy in China is booming and still has an overwhelming need for Native English speaking Teachers.
My husband and I like to travel and have new experiences and AIEP has been a good company to work for while doing that.
I have followed the process to a "T". I ensure that I received a reference letter from both the school and AIEP. Had all the documents required stamped with by the company. The last thing to do is ensure the FEC cancellation. It's actually too bad that the company has the personalities it has, I enjoyed the job considerably. But, I am definitely happy to see them in the rear view mirror.
Your experience is a great reminder for us to be careful. Don't get me wrong but the worst part isn't what you have had to cope with but what you may have to deal with now. Changing jobs in China, provided that you want to stay in the country, has become troublesome. The system gives more power to the employers today than a bunch of years ago, and so when they decide you aren't "fit for China" you may have plenty of issues to sign with another employer in the nation legally. What you really need is a release and ... yes ... recommendation letters from the current company under which is your work permit; or, perhaps a favorable evaluation assessment from the local foreign expert bureau. Otherwise, you may have problems getting your legal employment status elsewhere around.
I am employed by AIEP but have decided to leave due to the unprofessional acts, lack of support, and inconsistent management of the company
I will tell you my experience with AIEP, just the facts without opinion. Dealing with AIEP from the onset was difficult, Susan was no diligent in returning needed documentation for the visa. Once the documents were finalized it left very little time to prepare to leave, purchase a flight and such. Arrived in Shanghai and was picked up at the airport and off to the destination school. Unfortunately the school for which I had a contract was not the school that I was taken to, another contract needed to be signed. In the first term I had 3 residency permits as AIEP had placed me at a school which did not have Foreign Expert Certificates. School year begins and AIEP had yet to determine enrolment for the course, we sat around for two weeks. Those two weeks were without compensation, even after being guaranteed that they would be paid.
AIEP provide no resources as far as teaching materials goes, other than the Headway textbooks. Classes can range up to 80 students with no media or supporting resources for the text and with this amount of learners class management can be difficult. Teachers will teach between 18 and 24 classes a week. with no office time required, although the school will expect you to attend meeting or provide an Ènglish Corner`during lunch or after school. At the end of the term or school year a teacher is expected to test the students on oral english. The process, scoring methodology, content of exam are all the individual teachers responsibility. After completing all exams, the school asked that I stay until June 28 and teach, to which AIEP did not comply with payment.
The apartments that are provided definitely differ from school to school. I have seen absolutely disgusting to quite nice apartments. I have stayed on campus and off campus but either can vary. AIEP offers to rent an apartment plus pay 200 rmb towards utilities. Remember that most apartments are concrete uninsulated boxes that do not retain heat, 200 rmb does not go far. If you live of campus, expect to pay a considerable utility charge in summer and winter.
It is true that AIEP has no real website or visibility on the internet. David who is the primary owner speaks no English, but that is not an issue. In the few times I have interacted with him, he seemed pleasant. He does tend to make agreements that he will not honour. The managers that run the day to day operations do speak English. I will attempt to be fair in my assessment. Susan who is for lack of a title, the managing director is pleasant. She enjoys gossiping (speaks out of school) with teachers. She most definitely does not like to be challenged and is very inconsistent in her decision making. Brian is a very dedicated and hard worker who has the task of smoothing over the waves caused by Susan and David. The last is Antony, the Director of Foreign Teachers. To this day I have no idea what responsibilities he has or is willing to take on. He is simply a supply teacher.
I am employed by AIEP but have decided to leave due to the unprofessional acts, lack of support, and inconsistent management of the company.
Others I have worked with enjoyed the company as the tend to pay on time and they have been fortunate enough to have been treated well.
In closing, if you expect to teach and make a difference, this is not the environment. You are simply the foreign face that is there to ensure money for AIEP.
I totally agree with Doug, AIEP are a reputable honourable company.
I cannot agree with BJ No One. I find his post hard to swallow.
AIEP is a prototypical illicit organization that victimizes FTs in China.
I totally agree with Doug, AIEP are a reputable honourable company. I worked for this company for two years. One year in ShangRao and a split year in Linhe and Guangfeng. The directors of the company always acted in a professional manner and honoured any agreements that were in the contract. Naturally there were times when things went a little awry (cultural differences) but on reflection and by staying calm and not being childishly too demanding everything always smoothed out.
My living accommodation was sufficient to my needs and if there were issues as there were sometimes with other foreign teachers AIEP did their best to fix any problems.
Lastly, but not least, they ALWAYS pay on time and honour their contractual agreement.
NES individuals flying to China to teach have multiple choices of employers.
There are thousands, yes thousands, of schools that have no negative reviews online.
Why take a chance? Why chair the debate between Teacher12345 and Doug? Why not just move on?
Reading Teacher12345, I find many specific facts that seem reasonable.
Reading Doug, a man who accompanied his wife to China to teach English for 3+ years, I sense a missionary.
If you come to China with your good spouse and the good book, perhaps AIEP is the promised land.
Otherwise, you might best seek redemption elsewhere.
I don't know the woman who wrote this bashing of AIEP but I can say that my wife and I have been working for AIEP in China for 3 years now. We have experienced the occasional problem but AIEP has always dealt with us quickly, fairly and professionally. From research I've done and from talking to other ESL teachers, we work for one of the best companies in China. Don't just trust one persons opinion, I would recommend AIEP to anyone looking for a teaching job in China.
hello , I have been dealing with Susan , I was supposed to start last week , but they havent got around to getting my documents.
I think Susan is lazy Susan , I am worried that they cant get stuff done. they have had my documents for 10 weeks. I may need to apply to another firm.
did you work it out with them.
I usually don't post in forums like this but I couldn't let this message go. I simply had to speak up. I've worked for AIEP for a year and am about to start my second year. I have to honestly tell you that I have no idea who this person is or what really happened here. But my experience with AIEP is the absolute opposite of everything they said. I can't think of any conceivable way that this story makes sense. AIEP has always honored my contract. They've been completely professional. They have never ever threatened me. They have been one hundred percent honest with me. In fact, they've been nothing but generous with me.
Again, I got no idea what happened to this person. Maybe a few misunderstandings cropped up. There may have been some disagreements of some kind. Who knows? No situation is perfect. I've been here for a year and of course not every single moment has been ideal. But pretty much everything that's happened has been terrific. I've met a lot of coworkers here and most of them have been nice to me. And almost every single one of them has been happy. And compared to other places that I've worked, this job has been the best. And I've usually had pretty good jobs.
And the bosses at AIEP couldn't be any better. They've always been nice and responsible with me. Anytime I've had anything to discuss they've responded to me in a friendly, helpful way. Whenever I've had a concern about my schedule or my apartment or anything else, they've done as much as anyone could expect to work it out with me. In the same way, if they needed something from me, they've always been reasonable about that as well. Certainly, they expect me to do my job. But they've been more than flexible with me about it. They've never asked me to work a schedule or at a school without asking me how I felt about it. And I've never felt pressured to do anything that I really didn't want to do. I want you to know that these people have always been fair with me.
I have no idea what happened to the person who posted this. If you're a reasonable person looking for a fun job where you can teach English working for real nice people, please consider working here. AIEP is a great place to work run by a good company. What this person said is not what AIEP is like at all. I strongly recommend that you ignore it.
I've recently been offered a contract with A.I.E.P and this post has really worried me.
I know you wouldn't recommend them.
Was this Susan and David?
I've been offered a 1 year contract for 10000 per month with utility allowance.
Will they break this contract financially?
Once I move to China does this mean they can move me anywhere?
I just want to clarify if it's the same company.
BEWARE OF AIEP—BEIJING!!!!!
If you are contacted by a company called AIEP, located in Beijing – run. They will offer attractive packages to entice you, but it’s a lie. AIEP stands for Australian International Education Program…however this company is in no way connected to Australia. The head of the company can’t speak a word of English, and they have never even heard of TEFL before. So, if you’re an EFL teacher who takes your job seriously…they won’t. A simple search online will reveal that they have no website. If you ask them for a link to their website, they will send you a non-functioning link.
I’m not the only person who has had difficulties with this company. The experiences of other colleagues plus online reviews show that. However, I can only write about my experience:
*Accommodation was provided, so I asked for photos of the flat. They sent me photos of a totally different flat. When I arrived, not only was the apartment totally different but was disgusting and crawling with bugs.
*Water and power were routinely shut off without warning, and I was told this was just normal. I was never warned about this, and wasn’t prepared. This happened so frequently during my first month that I was slammed with 2 bad colds and a bad flu because I was unable to wash.
*During the interview process, I was told I was going to a city. When I arrived in Beijing, I was presented with a different contract to sign, which had the name of another school in a small village. I was told there were no jobs in the city that I initially signed a contract for. (To be honest, I count myself lucky I only had to sign two contracts. I know other teachers who’ve had to sign more, each time being shifted to another location and their salary lowered.)
*AIEP will promise to reimburse you for all the costs related to getting your Z visa. When I arrived in Beijing, they refused. I had to argue for 2 days to get the money owed to me. (It’s lucky it was only 2 days.)
*My first month, my assistant bought some shampoo for me (Pantene Pro-V) which turned out to be counterfeit. After a week I was left with no choice but to shave my head. I made both the school and the company well aware of what was happening, and was consistently met with suspicious questions about my hair washing habits. AIEP was convinced I’d both damaged my hair and then shaved my head on purpose. I stayed at the school for 9 months, and after my hair grew back a bit, I thought things were fine. The school, unknown to me, hated it and me and refused to pay AIEP for my services. AIEP directed their anger about the school’s lack of professionalism towards me, making both my personal and professional life extremely stressful, and unpredictable.
*I know of two specific incidents wherein AIEP hired a registered pedophile and a man convicted of manslaughter. The manslaughter criminal was actually my neighbour. He would steal food from my kitchen and spread slanderous rumours about me.
*My aircon unit exploded above my head while I was sitting on my sofa. I had to stay in the flat for about an hour trying to put out the fire…with no fire extinguisher. Needless to say I was a panicky mess, and had to miss afternoon classes to deal with that. It took two days to get a man in to look at it, but more importantly, no one could understand why I was such a nervous wreck, and they were furious I missed work. “exploded right above my head” was not an English phrase anyone seemed to grasp.
The conclusion of all this comes to one simple fact: They will NOT honour your contract or you. AIEP is not a company run by professionals. They are borderline criminals who will threaten you and exploit you, following only their own desires based not on any sort of facts, but rather superficial fancies, childish whims, and gossip.