Recruiting Our Participants in China
By: Lily Zhou, EachFuture Cultural Network. Work and Travel Partner
In their first blog post, Chinese partner, EachFuture Cultural Network, describes their process for recruiting participants for the Work and Travel Program in the United States with CCI Greenheart. Be sure to see how their process continues as EachFuture describes their Journey of a Partner.
Cooperation with Universities
Most of EachFuture Cultural Network’s Work and Travel participants are recruited from our cooperating universities. The universities play a very important role the Work and Travel Program in China. The participants need approval from their universities to participate in the program, and the universities will be responsible for issuing a few required documents for the participants, including the Summer Break Certification, Participant Status Certification and so on.
EachFuture has cooperated with more than 40 universities from different parts of China, since we joined the program in 2006. More than 20 universities have worked with us for more than five years, and we cooperate with 4-5 new universities every year. Most of our cooperating universities have foreign languages colleges and/or tourism management colleges whose participants are more motivated to participate in the Work and Travel program. Some of the universities are professional foreign languages universities, whose participants have better English and a better understanding of American culture. EachFuture ensures that the universities are qualified to send participants through the Work and Travel program. They must be full-time universities and be able to have university breaks that are within the Work and Travel program dates (June 15th – September 15th).
In order to promote the Work and Travel program in Chinese universities, we have held an annual conference since 2008. We invite more than 100 universities’ representatives, 2-3 sponsors’ representatives and 2-3 former Work and Travel participants to attend our conference every September. We introduce our company and the program to attendees, and the alumni in attendance give a speech about the program from their perspective. The universities’ representatives also share their experience about this program with each other. Moreover, we provide the opportunity to discuss the different cultures and the different education systems between the United States and China.
Then starting every October, our marketing team begins to visit our cooperating universities to promote the Work and Travel program. The universities help us to gather the participants, set up rooms for the promotional meetings and post marketing materials. Some of them even assign a specific teacher to help us to counsel the participants after the promotional meeting and remain in contact with them during their program in the United States.
EachFuture Cultural Network sets up a specific time to hold promotional meetings within universities. Normally, we will hold 2-4 promotional meetings in the same university in case some participants miss it. During the meeting, we will present the Work and Travel program to the participants. Some things we discuss include the application requirements, program legitimacies, program regulations and rules, the job types, housing types, and program procedures, etc. We will also invite alumni Work and Travel participants (normally from the same university) to present their experience from the U.S. to the new participants.
We try our best to show our participants a realistic view of the program and America. We introduce the positive and negative perspectives of the program, and make sure they have a full understanding of the program before they decide to participate in it. We then try to arrange a counseling time for the participants who are interested in the program after the promotional meeting to answer their detailed and specific questions.
Before our participants are accepted into the program, EachFuture will do the Secondary Level English Proficiency (SLEP) listening test and then the oral English test with our participants. First, we gather the potential participants to do the listening test at their universities. The participants need to achieve a score of 15 or more to pass the listening test. If they do, they are then qualified to move onto the next step – the oral English test.
EachFuture does a face-to-face oral English test with the participants, if they are a large group from the same university or the same city. For those participants who are not in a large group, we will do the oral English test by phone. Our testing standard is as follows:
- Fluent: Speaks, comprehends and reads as though they were a native speaker
- Excellent: Speaks and comprehends almost perfectly, can communicate ideas without a problem
- Great: Speaks and comprehends very well, can communicate ideas very clearly
- Good: Speaks and understands well, but with slight delay; can communicate ideas pretty clearly
- Fair: Understands basic conversation and vocabulary, but cannot express ideas very clearly or quickly
- Poor: Has difficulty understanding and producing language without delay, cannot communicate ideas without assistance
We will only accept participants with English qualified as “Good” or above. In addition to the participants’ English level, we consider their personalities. Those participants, who have a “Good” level of English, but a bad attitude, will not be considered for the program. In addition, during the test, we will check the participants’ family background, previous working experience, knowledge of the program and America, motivation to participate in the program, previous international experience, visa application record, and other personal information.
Signing a Contract
EachFuture will sign a contract with the participants after they pass the listening test and oral English test. The contract details the specific rights and obligations of each party. We explain every term in the contract to the participants before they sign it, making sure they know their rights and obligations. The contract also includes Work and Travel rules and regulations, such as:
- The participants agree to follow the start date and end dates on their DS2019 forms and their job offers.
- The participants need to register with SEVIS within 3 days of arrival to the U.S., and to do the monthly check-ins on time.
- The participants need to get approval from their CCI Greenheart (their sponsor) to quit their jobs and cannot start work until their new jobs are vetted.
- The participants are not allowed to start a second job until their second jobs are vetted.
Once the contract is signed, all parties (participants and EachFuture Cultural Network) agree to honor it. The participants and EachFuture have one copy, each.
Welcome Letter and QQ Group
EachFuture emails the participants a welcome letter with a package of application materials we need for the program. We then set up a QQ group for all the participants.
The welcome letter emphasizes that participants should be fully aware of their obligations as a participant in the program. They are not only participants, but also employees of their future American employers. They need to understand that the Work and Travel program is not an easy program and that they should have an open mind towards the program and the American life they will live. We also provide a few tips about how to write an email, make a phone call in English and use Google to search the information they need. In addition, we include some common differences between American culture and Chinese culture.
Next, EachFuture will collect the participants’ QQ (which is Instant Message software on the internet, like MSN) accounts once they enroll in the program and set up a QQ group where the participants can talk with each other, and we can also counsel them. China is too large to allow us to meet our participants frequently. The QQ group helps us to communicate with our participants more conveniently and often.
We will have our busiest time for 2014 season soon, but we are so excited that we can help more Chinese participants to travel abroad, experience American culture personally, and even have a lasting impact in their life. And we are so happy to devote ourselves to promoting the Sino-American cultural exchange.