Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!

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 WARNING: DO NOT WORK FOR THE GALLOP INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH SCHOOL IN XI’AN, CHINA!
   I am writing this as a warning to anyone that might have been considering working for this particular English school. Right off the bat, let me be as clear as possible: do not, under any circumstances, sign any sort of contract with this crooked school! They are scumbags and you will regret it. Allow me to go into detail. Hopefully my experience will dissuade you from making the same mistake I made.
   After I finished my degree in December ‘06, I was looking for something interesting to do in my gap year, and I decided on English teaching in China. I took the Oxford Seminars TESL course in Canada, and after I completed it they put me in touch with a middlewoman named Summer, who eventually steered me towards Gallop. First little bit of wisdom: be wary of middlemen. They make commission on placing you in a school, and they’ll say anything to “sell” a place to you. In my case, Summer told me all sorts of lies: they will provide you with a fully-furnished apartment, they will pay for the flight over, you’ll be a certified Foreign Expert, they’ll provide weekly Mandarin lessons… all of which was untrue. Do not be sucked in by such promises!
   When I did show up in Xi’an and I saw my apartment, I was depressed. It was a dump, and I had just signed a 1-year contract to live there. Totally barren with dust everywhere, it had broken toilets, broken outlets, and no kitchen. What’s more, I was ready to tough it out until I saw some of my co-workers quarters. They looked like the Ritz-Carlton compared to mine: fully furnished, working kitchen, etc… I didn’t understand this injustice, so I complained to Gallop’s management, and that’s where the real fun began.
   I started as politely as possible, first by speaking to them in person and then by providing a written statement. The answer I got was a polite “F*** you, this is what you get.” Cool! As time went out and as I got unhappier, I complained some more, and got more of the same answer. This school’s boss is a proud man who does not like losing face. Unfortunately, I realize now that as my situation became an “issue” around the workplace, and as management risked losing face by giving in to my demands and thus admitting they were wrong, I became less and less likely to get my way. That’s China for you.
   More tidbits:
-   When my boss came to inspect my “kitchen” (and empty, dirty room with a broken gas burner), I informed him the gas man warned me against using the gas, which he said was old and dangerous. My boss shrugged his shoulders and aggressively told me to use it anyway. I never did, and didn’t cook once in three months.
-   After three months, when it became clear I wanted to leave, I wanted to annul my contract peacefully. I felt that they were in breach of contract, particularly on the issue of not providing me with a working kitchen as stipulated in the contract. In the end, however, I was forced to pay the breach of contract fee myself, to the tune of $500 US dollars, which was almost a month’s pay.
-   Also, when I declared I no longer wanted to work for them, Gallop’s management held my passport hostage for a week, forcing me to teach for an additional week free of charge.
-   Well after I left Xi’an and relocated to Shanghai to do freelance work, I got a call from some Gallop co-workers. They informed me that, through his connections, my dear old boss was attempting to blacklist me with the bureau that issues work visas, purely out of vindictiveness. Can you believe that?
-   I could go on with all the little things, but hopefully I have already given you an idea of how business is done at the Gallop International English School. Do not work for them! They are crooks of the first order!

It’s been a few months since I left China, and my time working for Gallop was truly unpleasant. Gallop’s management really are snakes: at first, they’ll smile at you while they screw you over, and then if you try to assert your rights things will really get nasty. Every single teacher at Gallop had an issue with our bosses and their management style, and I think I can say we were all unhappy working there. In short, it was a truly negative experience that ruined my year in China.
It’s all behind me now, and it would have been easy to just forget about it and move on. But please take into consideration the fact that I took the time and effort to write this because I didn’t want anyone else to make the same mistake. Good luck!                              - Justin

Accomodation: 5. Hit and miss. My apartment was terrible and unfair, but some co-workers got great accomodations. Complaining amounted to nothing. Go figure.
Administration: 0. Read my review above. The bosses were awful, greedy bastards who would abuse workers regularly.
General Area Info: 3. Decent area for Xi'an, I guess, but Xi'an is a dirty, depressing city that I wouldn't recommend to anyone. Don't buy the "beautiful" picture of Xi'an they'll try to sell you: the majority of English teachers I worked with hated it there, and so did I.
School Info: 4. Aside from the atrocious management, classes weren't that bad. They try to overwork you constantly, but the kids were cute and kept me sane. One of the few good things about my ESL experience.
Intangibles: I'll interpret this freely. Everything about this school is negative, so please, do not work for these people.  You will regret it. Their new website makes it out to be such a great school, do not be fooled by the second-rate PR blitz.
Overall: 1. There are so few positive things I got out of this experience. I made a few good friends, I saw a different part of the world, but overall it was just an awful experience. Parting words: if you must do ESL, go to Shanghai! I had a much, MUCH better experience there.



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Raoul F. Duke

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The job can definitely affect your view of a city.
Xian probably isn't to my taste either, but a lot of folks love it there.

I had an abysmal job in Beijing, and a very jaundiced view of life in that city. I was not happy there. I wouldn't be eager to go back. But many of our members live and work there, and love it.

Maybe we should keep the focus on the school, which indeed sounds highly dodgy, rather than the town.

Justin also brings up a point...if you attend a TEFL/TESOL cert school, it's recommended that you NOT use that school's job placement program. There have been scads of bad experiences from these. Some cert schools are really just fronts for dodgy schools and recruiters to begin with; even good cert schools can (innocently/unknowingly) plug you into recruiters that will gladly throw you to the wolves.
Just like anyone else: find your OWN job, and ONLY deal directly with the hiring schools!

Other things: Don't pay your way out of a contract. Not in China, where contracts are pretty much just suggestions anyway. If things get dicey, call your Consulate for help and advice...and come talk to us here!

Also: Never turn your passport over to a school, except for the brief period required to get your residence permit. Otherwise, always keep all your documents safely yourself. If your passport is not returned, stop teaching immediately  and contact your Consulate!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 09:55:57 AM by Raoul Duke »
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

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gonzo

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WARNING: DO NOT WORK FOR THE GALLOP INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH SCHOOL IN XI’AN, CHINA!
   
The title alone sends a warning. A western sounding name, with the word "international" gratuitously and dishonestly thrown in, spells con [sorry Con!]
  be wary of middlemen. They make commission on placing you in a school, and they’ll say anything to “sell” a place to you. In my case, Summer told me all sorts of lies: they will provide you with a fully-furnished apartment, they will pay for the flight over, you’ll be a certified Foreign Expert, they’ll provide weekly Mandarin lessons… all of which was untrue. Do not be sucked in by such promises!
   
Two issues here. Firstly, the middle man, or agent. The regular advice given here is that you don't need or want them. So, rather than "be wary", "avoid at all costs" is the way to go.
The second one though is the matter of undelivered promises. Those outlined above are bog-standard, and I wouldn't even look at a job that didn't offer them. And I'd make sure that I had a Z visa before setting foot on a plane, let alone into a classroom. On the subject of passports, never let your boss hang onto it. Or your residents permit or FE certificate for that matter. They are your property.

Accommodation here would seem to be the sticking point. I'd recommend getting in writing [as emails] details of what is expected and what will be provided.

Just a few questions for Justin. What visa was supplied to you? Did you sign the contract before seeing your housing?
It sounds like you made the best of a difficult situation, though a midnight run might have been a better idea than a $500 fine! I liked Xi'an as a tourist. Lotus raves about it as a long term resident. I agree with you on Shanghai, by the way, and am glad you didn't head straight home, which is what many would have done.
RIP Phil Stephens.
No static at all.

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Pashley

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Accommodation here would seem to be the sticking point. I'd recommend getting in writing [as emails] details of what is expected and what will be provided.
Ask for photos.

The really nasty part here is them having the passport hostage and therefore being able to get away with sticking you with the $500 "fine", a pure rip-off. It is illegal under international law for anyone to take your passport away.

I'd say there are two things that are absolute "run away now" messages about a school.

One is any attempt to insist on holding your passport, for whatever reason. Suggesting that they hold the passport just means they are a bit sleazy; it is a bad sign, but not fatal. But if they argue at all when you say no, quit immediately.

The other is failure to provide a residence permit, wanting you to work with a L (tourist) or F (business) visa.

This place seems to have had both problems. Absolute anathema!
Who put a stop payment on my reality check?

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"Adam" Is A Lying Fake!!!

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Gallop International English School Is All Criminals And Liars! Stay Away!!!
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2010, 03:41:51 AM »
"I love Gallop International English School in Xi'an , China .I've been worked there for a whole year ..."

This message, greatly truncated here, is a FAKE! It comes from one EXTREMELY stupid and nasty person, pretending to be two people and in the process of trying to add a third when we caught on, who came here for the express purpose of trying to generate phony "good PR" for their sleazy school in Xian.

This person's ability to cause mischief here is about to permanently ended.

However, I'm going to leave traces of these messages in place, to illustrate clearly the desperate, deceptive, and dishonest methods that Gallop International English School in Xi'an, China has felt compelled to employ in an effort to counter the horror stories told by people who actually had the misfortune of working there.
If those stories alone don't convince you that Gallop International English School in Xi'an, China is very bad news and should be avoided, then this brazen yet oafishly clumsy attempt at lying to us and playing us all for fools should safely end any doubts you might have had. asasasasas

Gallop International English School in Xi'an, China is definitely a SCAM! DON'T GO THERE! Help spread the word to all your friends and to other EFL web sites!
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 08:27:50 AM by Raoul Duke »
Warning! I don't really exist! I'm just a sock puppet for a really terrible and desperate school you don't want to work for, but luckily I'm too stupid to be a real threat.

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BrandeX

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Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2010, 04:03:17 AM »
Who let the shill in here?

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xwarrior

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Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2010, 04:09:11 AM »
Quote
I love Gallop International English School in Xi'an , China .I've been worked there for a whole year . It's the most unforgettable memory I had in China

Why am I left with the feeling that I have just finished reading a letter from Nigeria?
I have my standards. They may be low, but I have them.
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Stil

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Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2010, 06:11:42 AM »
Quote
I love Gallop International English School in Xi'an , China .I've been worked there for a whole year . It's the most unforgettable memory I had in China

Why am I left with the feeling that I have just finished reading a letter from Nigeria?

Nah, the English would have been better.

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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2010, 08:43:38 AM »
Nah, the English would have been better.

Sho'nuff. bibibibibi
This would have almost been funny, were it not based on the arrogant assumption that all foreigners are really stupid. asasasasas

But don't worry...this person and his school are now in the process of finding out how incredibly wrong, and how horribly costly, that idiot assumption really was.
Please...get busy and help spread the word about this, anywhere and everywhere!
If we leverage this just right, I think maybe WE CAN PUT THIS SHIT SCHOOL OUT OF BUSINESS FOREVER.
And wouldn't that be sad? ahahahahah pppppppppp
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 08:48:53 AM by Raoul Duke »
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

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Monkey King

Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2010, 08:20:48 PM »
There's another hilarious post on foreigner.cn saying how great this place is -I'm not gonna link to it, but it's easy enough to find and a great read. 

The line "They also told me where to buy the fodder (sic)" is probably my favourite part.

Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2010, 11:30:21 PM »
The line:   And there is a big  kitchen,so I could cook anything I wanted. They also told me where to buy the fodder ,where to buy the clothes and delicious food .

The whole article is full of Chinglish. 
Be kind to dragons for thou are crunchy when roasted and taste good with brie.

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old34

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Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2010, 11:53:12 PM »
The line:   And there is a big  kitchen,so I could cook anything I wanted. They also told me where to buy the fodder ,where to buy the clothes and delicious food .

The whole article is full of Chinglish. 

Plus, the misuses of spaces before and after punctuation marks. Always a dead giveaway and a pet peeve of mine.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

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Borkya

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Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2010, 12:07:48 AM »
Plus, the misuses of spaces before and after punctuation marks. Always a dead giveaway and a pet peeve of mine.

TOTALLY, me too. I mean, they learn all sorts of complex thing (like they hardly ever misuse or misspell "their" "they're" and "there") and yet so many students never get the period placement right!

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Monkey King

Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2010, 02:04:38 AM »
Of all the things to get worked up over here, it's his/her punctuation that causes the biggest stink.  Tian ah!

Re: Do NOT work for the Gallop International English School in Xi'an, Shaanxi!
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2010, 02:45:58 AM »
Well, MK, we are English teachers after all...If one intends to commit a fraud or scam, one should at least have the decency to do so with proper punctuation....
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde.

"It's all oojah cum spiffy". Bertie Wooster.
"The stars are God's daisy chain" Madeleine Bassett.