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WAB Learns

Newbies: Tips

A guide for teachers and their families new to WAB / Beijing

Coming with young children

Coming with young children… (ECC age)

  • Don’t be afraid to let your child ride the school bus (even from 3 year old!). WAB transportation is excellent and young children are well looked after by bus supervisor
  • You’ll need an Ayi. Be clear with expectations (do you want them to clean? cook? shop? Look after children?). Explain that they can only have 1 week at Chinese New Year because we only get one week off then. Most Ayi expect 1 month bonus paid at Chinese New Year. You’ll be expected to pay them even when you are on holidays. (Attached is a rough guide about salary)

Trying to get an ayi sorted is important when coming with littles.  Though its hard to do before you arrive and many GOLD ayi's are already scalped before the masses leave in June.  I would advise against using an ayi agency where possible.

I (Kristy) can share info about nurseries in the immediate area around school, should anyone be coming with kids too young to attend WAB.  The school sells the idea of there being a 'creche' here for littles to use while we are at work, but its not true.  Either a fulltime ayi or a nursery is required.

Lots of clubs and extra activities to get involved in when you are here. Recommended:

1) Beijing Kickers for soccer / football
2) Flips and Kicks for gymnastics

Coming with teens

WAB students are a very welcoming crowd. Ask ahead in the newbie chat to see if someone with similarly aged teens can join up on WeChat with your teen so they can discuss clothing, going out, what's cool and what's not. 

Last year there was a volleyball camp run by WAB-X (Caleb) during staff Newbie week which was great for the new arriving teens to meet their peers and hook them into active peers, and keep them from getting bored during the other Newbie admin days. 

You will need to set your teen up with a DiDi account and Wechat with some money in it - see the link below on how to sort out the digital pocket money issue. And ask other WAB parents with similarly aged students about the amount / range and norms. Note that many of our students are on limitless spending with platinum Amex cards - so you will need to have "that" conversation.

Coming as a single


You're only allowed to bring 200 books in your shipment. But don't worry we have 3 fantastic libraries at WAB and are happy to order what you need (within reason). Also BookDepository delivers to China free of charge. 

I'd really recommend the Bookworm Cafe as a great place to hang out. It also has lots of events.


I think its more like +500rmb to +1k for the full time wages shown in ayi table - for Chinese speaking only as well as some English. Part time rate is between 30-45rmb now.
Most Ayis get 11 paid days off a year.  Those working for International School Teachers are super lucky! Please note that while the 13th month is often expected these days, it is not mandatory!  It should be negotiated before signing the contract. Typically the 13th month is given before CNY - however, it is HIGHLY recommended that the contract stipulates payment of a 13th month comes AFTER one full year of employment has been completed, or a portion of the 13th month is paid before CNY and the rest upon completion of the year's contract term.  It's not uncommon for Ayis to leave as soon as they have received the CNY payment so beware!  And if your Ayi has been working for less than one year, pro-rate the CNY payment for the amount of months worked with you.  
Ayi pay increase is around 3% after each year of work is completed, not at the beginning of January each year.

Gift Shopping

Internet and TV

Getting Internet / TV Set up in your home

We are not able to give you much advice on this guide. We suggest you ask friends in China on what to do prior to departure and on arrival. Many teachers have been happy with the services of Clark Computers in Shunyi for setting up home internet and TV services. WeChat ID: clark-computer

Another alternative is Internet Charlie’s wechat is: v8886669988 His name is actually Charlie (Top Global IT) - he can set up internet and deal with renewals. He can also arrange TV boxes.


Getting Around

If you want to drive:

To get your own license plate in Beijing you need to enter a lottery. Some people get lucky and get it quick, others have to wait years! Just search online for 'Beijing license plate lottery'.

A better option would be to lease a car, several teachers at WAB do this. We ended up doing this at well for a year. When you lease, someone else owns the car and it has already a license plate. Prices vary. 

Try this company - Car Solutions - for leasing. Look for Elsie. I think a lot of international school teachers deals with them.



The start up months are very expensive - make sure you bring enough cash, or have access to an overseas Credit Card or ATM card where you have access to money. The school can also give you an advance on your salary.

Get your apps set up before you arrive.

Its definitely worth creating alipay, taobao and carrefour app accounts and having someone help to navigate that early on.

Scooters & TukTuks

The law around the registration of Scooters has changed substantially in the last 6 months so please do NOT buy an unregistered scooter as they are being confiscated, or drivers being fined.

TukTuks are now completely illegal, so don't be conned into buying one. 

Emergency services

  • Fire 119
  • Police 110
  • First aid 120 / 999
  • Traffic accident 122
  • Fire 120

I also found knowing the hospital/ambulance info case of emergency - get a didi and go to BJU!

Dress Code

Both students and staff tend to dress very casually. You can safely leave your ties and dress shoes behind! Winters get very cold and summers are quite warm and humid.

2nd Hand Goods

As soon as you get your email get onto Yammer early to secure some second hand items from those who are leaving.  You can also put an ad out, to get an ayi...

Also see "Roundabout" link later


Beijing has tons of stores at every price level, including most of the common brand names. There are also some outlet stores. A lot of people have their favourite stalls at the various markets as well. 

Couriers are cheap and fast here.  If you are selling something or cannot pick something up, a courier can get it for you and deliver for cheap (less than the taxi fare to/from in some cases!)   
SF express have an easy-to-use English telephone service: 95338 You tell them the pick up address, where you want to send the item and how heavy it is.  The courier will usually be there within an hour to collect the goods.  The fee can be paid in cash, wechat or alipay.  There's also an option for the recipient to pay the fee upon receiving goods.

There are many WeChat 2nd hand buy/sell groups as well as a WAB Classifieds on school yammer site - as soon as you have your email you can request to join.


1) Sanyuanli Vegetable Market - an amazing wet market with high quality meat, fish and veg and more. 
2) Yansha Outlets - amazing deals on shoes and bags.


You should direct all personal mail and courier packages (e.g. DHL or FedEx) to the school’s address, and not to your Beijing residential address. At WAB, both your business and personal letters are delivered to the Elementary School mailroom, and then put in your personalized mailbox (commonly known as a “pigeonhole”). Staff members need to check for deliveries there, as notifications are not sent out when mail is received. The following is WAB’s physical address and official mailing address in both English and Chinese for easy printing or cut and paste:

#10 Lai Guang Ying Dong Lu
Chaoyang District, Beijing
100102 PRC

邮政编码: 100102