Meet Anne and Jan Rust, a teaching couple from South Africa. They are in their fourth year of teaching middle school math and science at BASIS International School Guangzhou. Read on to learn more about Anne and Jan’s move to China–from the amazing HR team’s support to finding a South African community in Guangzhou.

What made you decide to pursue a career in education?

Anne: My husband has a love for teaching. Education was a natural choice for him. He also has a teacher’s voice and exceptional planning and organization skills to complement this profession.

Jan Rust

I, however, fell in love with coaching sports, particularly netball, during my senior year of high school. Teaching allowed me to not only coach but also be a part of the lives of these students. I then discovered my love for education in Mathematics.

What influenced you to teach abroad? Why in China?

We knew we wanted to travel since we met in our first year of university. We also knew that if we did not leave as soon as possible, it would be hard to end our school contracts back home. We taught in South Korea for three years. During those years, my mom left Brunei to teach in China. She was the one that suggested we apply to work at BASIS. To be honest, China was the last place we saw ourselves ending up. But alas, we boarded the plane with our two cats three years ago and have no plans of leaving yet.

What do you enjoy most about teaching internationally?

Working abroad has vastly broadened our horizons and overall way of thinking. We enjoy meeting people from all over, and working with all Korean and Chinese students has been such as wonderful experience.

When you came to China, what was pleasantly surprising?

The South African community in Guangzhou has become our family. Jan plays for the RAMS rugby club, and surprisingly most of my South African friends, including me, became pregnant with boys.

The Rust Family

We also have to mention Taobao and Meituan–order anything at any time. The convenience is out of this world.

What type of support did you receive from BASIS International School Guangzhou to ease the transition of moving overseas?

I think the HR team at BASIS International School Guangzhou might be the best I have ever seen. They sent care packages, computers, and kitty litter to our quarantine hotel. Once we escaped that whole experience, they made sure to be with us through every single step, from visa documentation to phone registration.

I also have to mention the teachers that helped us transition in the middle of a school year. It is never easy taking over another teacher’s class and making it your own. Jin Lanz, Dean of Middle School, is a force in a very tiny package. She guided me into the Math department and the new curriculum.

How has your teaching practice improved during your time at BASIS?

Leaps and bounds! We grew in confidence, style, and structure. We learnt to adapt, change, try and ultimately stay true to ourselves.

What advice would you give to teachers who are considering working overseas?

The beginning might be tough, depending on your personality. Find community and just keep swimming. All students from all cultures respond to kindness and an understanding heart. Give them time to get used to you. We all seem weird to someone somewhere.

Please remember that the country you work in does not owe you anything. Treat the people and their culture with respect.

Anne and Jan Rust

Anne Catherine Rust, Math & Science Teacher
Jan Hendrik Rust, Math & Science Teacher
BASIS International School Guangzhou

For more information about teaching abroad with BASIS International Schools, visit our careers website.

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