My name is Aníke van der Merwe and I am a FET in Taiwan. This is a testimonial about my coordinator Mr. Kevin Lee.
When Kevin first contacted me, he wrote an email, I still remember his opening message: “Welcome aboard”. He congratulated me on the job offer and the opportunity to explore Taiwan. He was friendly and professional, getting down to business by asking me to sign the declaration letter. After that email, so many other emails followed. Kevin patiently explained all the details regarding the move to Taiwan. He gave me clear steps to follow as well as a timeline. This helped me to successfully plan the journey to Taiwan.
The application and process went smoothly. Kevin kept me up to date with a progress report once a fortnight. Then, the unimaginable happened… a new COVID variant was discovered and the borders closed. No airplanes were available and I was stuck in South Africa. Kevin calmly discussed possible scenarios with me and immediately liaised with the assigned school to secure my job offer.
We also hit a dead end with our marriage certificate. We had to apply for an unabridged marriage certificate in order to bring our kids with us. Kevin encourage me and supported me through this waiting process. My husband was dealing with the same challenges. When Kevin found out that my husband’s school was contemplating appointing someone else due to the delay, he immediately started liaising with my husband’s coordinator, Jerry. Together Jerry and Kevin came up with a way to secure the job offerings we had. Kevin came to the school I was supposed to join and asked them to wait for me. Consequently, my husband could come as early as February 2022 to secure his job offer and my school was willing to wait.
The moment I received the unabridged marriage certificate, Kevin ensured that no rock was left unturned this time around. He focussed on all the important details and made sure we had all the documentation ready. Our flight took off on the 19h of April as scheduled. I don’t know who was more overjoyed, me or Kevin. Finally, the kids and I could join my husband in Taiwan. We landed on the 20th of April and knew exactly what to aspect and what to do at the airport. We had to undergo a COVID test, wait for a negative result, buy a SIM card and do the currency exchange. My first phone call on my new number was from Kevin. Always concerned about me and my family. We proceeded to the quarantine taxi and arrived at our quarantine hotel where we had to spend 10 days in isolation.
During quarantine, Kevin checked up on us with regular messages and asked us for daily observations like body temperature and symptoms. Fortunately, we had no symptoms and our temperatures remained normal. We left the quarantine hotel and had to do self-isolation at home for another 7 days. Kevin helped me to start the application to transfer my visa status from visitor to resident. He made sure that everything was ready to apply for our ARCs. He explained the process in easy steps, informed me about the application fees and what I needed to submit. He came to the apartment to collect all the needed documentation and went to MOFA and BOFA on our behalf. He gave a pre-loaded easy card to me and the kids and explained how we could use it.
When I had to go to school, he arranged for me to take the school bus and even assigned a student to help me. I started teaching on Monday, 5 May 2022. Every time something was unclear or I didn’t know what to do, I could rely on him to help me. With patience and a professional attitude, he guided me. We went to the Post Bank to open my account, he made my bank stamp so I would not have to struggle to get one, he helped me get a new SIM card and always made sure that I felt comfortable. Thanks to Kevin I did not have a lot of stress or concern during this process. He always knew what to do and how to support me.
I ended up teaching at a wonderful school and had a good working environment. We are so happy to be in Taiwan. It is a safe and beautiful country with a very convenient public transport system in place. School observations take place every month and it is always positive to hear the feedback. Kevin shares his sincere opinion - liaises with all parties and also communicates the needs of the school. He has become my friend and I know I can always rely on him. Being a foreigner in a country can be challenging at times but having Kevin by my side every step of the way made things so much easier.
I want to show my appreciation and thanks to this man who is a true professional. I will never forget what he did for me and my family. Teach Taiwan can be very happy to have such a diligent coordinator. He goes above and beyond to ensure that foreign teachers and their families feel at home.
Aníke van der Merwe