Hello! My name is Andre du Plessis I grew up and attended University in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am a qualified Chartered Accountant and had a 14-year finance career in banking culminating as CFO Group Treasury FirstRand Bank, prior to embarking on a new phase in my life. At this stage some of you may now be asking why teach English in China, to which I would respond, “keep reading”.
My fascination with China started when I was 20 and started reading Chinese history and philosophy; at this stage I was studying Accounting and had my first impulse to change careers move to China and study Chinese and acupuncture. Although having already completed three years studies and having signed a pre-employment contract with Deloitte I decided to complete my qualification, this led to an immersion in the finance and banking world.
However all the way through this journey I was never truly happy being a successful banker, somehow I never quite “belonged” in this world. And so one day my appendix burst and whilst lying in the hospital bed I had an absolute moment of clarity. I was not living the life I was meant to live, nothing in my life reflected my values and who I was, so on leaving hospital I started making plans to move to China. (*Later in life I was to learn that my first pajamas as a baby were Chinese ones with Chinese characters on them - fate moves in mysterious ways.)
As I had been involved in training, coaching, mentoring and development throughout my career and had also started a leadership development and recruitment company I started evaluating how I could both be of service whilst immersing myself in Chinese culture, language and life.
I moved to China in June 2015 initially studying Chinese in Beijing and also consulted to a Chinese educational start-up, this piqued my interest in pursuing English teaching, so I returned to South Africa competed a CELTA and started looking for English teaching jobs in China.
Throughout my life I have lived by the motto to maintain the enthusiasm and zest for life of a 6 year old whilst acquiring the wisdom that comes from getting older and to never stop learning. So when the opportunity to work for JESIE arrived, to have the joy of teaching 6 year olds, whilst helping to support a government non-profit I jumped at it and have never been happier.
All the Chinese people I have met in Beijing while studying and now in Nanjing are amazing, they are curious, friendly and welcoming. The role of government in protecting society from negative influences means that children can still be children and leads to a more harmonious, respectful and beautiful society.
For me working for a Non-Profit as opposed to in the private sector is a very rewarding experience, as my core values are better aligned. The support provided by JESIE since arriving has been amazing and I see tremendous opportunities for growth and immersion in my very own Chinese Dream.
If you’re thinking about starting a new life and would like to experience the joy of teaching children whilst having a great support structure and opportunities for experiencing China all while living in one of the four ancient capitals, then you could do no better than consider applying to JESIE!
“A stranger is just a friend you have not yet met”