Living the Slow Life

August 12 2020 - Living the expat life, Travel and enjoying the free life

It’s been a while! Reason being that there is not so much exciting to report. We wanted to follow the adventure and ended up living the slow life.
But not any longer, as Hendrik Willem has officially started in his new job per the first of August. Not from a campus in Changshu as we hoped, but from our temporary apartment in Utrecht.

Hendrik Willem is not the only one who has started a new job while working completely remote during Covid times. We know of a friend who’s first day in his new job was on the first day of the lockdown in The Netherlands. It’s a strange way to start a new job for sure, and I know many employers have struggled with the same.

But starting a new school year while probably 70% of your staff, teachers and students are still abroad is something completely different. I cannot begin to imagine the stress and challenges the staff of UWC China (and other international schools for that matter) have been facing over the summer. I reckon they did not get a lot of holiday though…
At UWC China the Chinese students and teachers are at campus or will be arriving there shortly. I estimate they make up for 30-50% of the population in a normal school year. At the same time, most of the students and teachers from abroad are still stuck all over the world. A logistic nightmare if you want to offer high quality education: onsite ánd remote, across multiple timezones. So far they seem to pull if off very well which I find pretty amazing.

Hendrik Willem often gets asked how it’s like, to start a new job under these circumstances. Interestingly, in his words, it’s actually pretty ok. So far the days are spent with team meetings for staff, the actual teaching has not yet started. the school did a great job in setting up schedules which most people can attend, both plenair and in smaller teams. So little by little, thanks to Teams, Hendrik Willem get’s to know his new colleagues. I hear him converse passionately, debate openly and laugh often. Obviously it’s not the way you want to start in a new job, but since there are so many new teachers and almost everyone is facing these challenges, I can imagine it also creates a feeling of togetherness. “We are all in this boat together” .

And as for me, how do I spent my days? Well… I am embracing the moments with family and friends in The Netherlands, enjoying the summer here and started slowly preparing for my own next steps. I am looking into remote courses to do, so once we are in China I can hopefully start with some projects. I have already got connected with other spouses who will be at the campus, and I am getting quite confident that we are up for a jolly good time!

All we need now is a visa to enter China. Now would’t it be nice if the embassy is willing to grant one for my birthday….
There are some rumours about visa and things start to look slightly positive at the horizon, so stay tuned for news!

Our own little “campus” to work from

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