tiistai 26. marraskuuta 2013

CIMEC - Chrystal International Multicultural Exchange Center

I'd like to share my experience with CIMEC, Chrystal International Multicultural Exchange Center, that works as an au pair agency in Shanghai. During my first three months in China I was in close contact with the company and based on mine and the former au pairs experience I'd never recommend CIMEC for anyone. I've been having the time of my life in China but only thing CIMEC has done has just been making my life harder. 

At the very beginning everything worked well. I get my pocket money, had my Chinese classes and got helped with all the little problems I had. When the time passed and the problems get bigger I also started to have problems with the agency. 

After the first month I started to feel very bad in my host family. I know it wasn't the right place for me to be so I went to the office and discuss my situation. They offered their help and arranged us a family meeting to solve the problems. I was happy and was willing to give a new try. I truly thought that the problems would be solved. Family meeting ended up being a conversation first between me and the man from the agency, then conversation with the man and the parents. The man translated me the mainpoints of the conversations and told me what I should do better. I felt guilty. Like all the problems I faced would have been my fault.

After the familymeeting the parents keep calling to the agency. They complained about my action, telling I'm not doing well enough even if I worked every week way over my hours. I'm not a professional teacher, that cannot expect me to be one. Neither can the family expect me to teach kids if they weren't willing to be taught. The mom wished me to teach one of my hostchild to read but everytime I tried she started to cry and hit me. The children were spoiled and I should have make them happy and keep the parents satisfied at the same time. It was impossible so I just keep playing with the kids using English as much as possible. The next familymeeting contained videocamera. People from the office came to my house to shoot how I was doing with the children. They admit I was doing good job. I didn't feel comfortable of working in the family anymore. Next week I told I wanted a rematch.

It took one month before the agency took my situation serious. I kept asking weekly what's going on. If they had find me a new family or not. Rematch should take no longer than two weeks in this program but after month the answer to my question was still the same: "we have some potential families for you, we just have to wait them to answer you". I don't think there were never any families. I think that besides mine there was only this one family that already had an au pair. I was pissed and tired to wait. I told them that I want to go to Beijing.

My contract was signed with HHS Cultural Exchange Center in Beijing and that time when I moved to China they used to have an office in Shanghai. Soon after I arrived the office in Shanghai become individual. It was my dream to go to Beijing in the first place and I felt it was good time to do it now. I know there were lots of families in Beijing and I was tired to be alone. For over a month I had been the only au pair they had in Shanghai. In the office they told me that changing city wasn't possible and that I didn't have any right to ask for such a thing. I told them that I felt really bad in Shanghai and my au pair year wasn't anything I expect it to be. I felt broken, wanted to tell about my feelings and asked for help but instead the head of the company started a fight telling me that it's all my fault. It's my fault that I'm not doing well with my hostfamily. It's my fault that I don't have friends in here and I'm bored. It's my fault if I had any expectations for this year, things like having the time of my life or having people to hang around with. I could have done better when it comes some of these things but they were never my fault! How can I do friends when all the people are in university or working and their schedule is completely different from mine? Why shouldn't I expect having good time in China? Why shouldn't I feel bored after walking around the city for two months daily and visiting basically every place that exist there? We had a fight with the head of the company and didn't talk to each other for more than a week.

Next week we had a fight again, this time I was standing by the side of other girl against the head of the company. This girl had had big problems in Xiamen where she spend the first month of her au pair program. She didn't come along with the family and was really lonely and bored to be alone in the city but like in my case the agency just ignored the problem. They make her feel like it's all her fault. Now her hostfamily in Shanghai told that they couldn't let the girl stay more than one month in the family.  She was willing to want to know what would happen after that but the whole situation turned really ugly. It was a simple thing she wanted to know: if she would go back to her country after finishing in her current hostfamily or if there would be another one she would go later. The head of the company told her that she didn't need to know. That there was no reason why she should know whether she would be living in China after a month. The man also said that she doesn't have any right to know about her future hostfamily if there would be one existing. She wouldn't have a right to choose if she wants to go to the family or not, she should just take the one the office offers for her. I stood on the side of the girl, told to the man that this was insanity. The man ended up yelling for us. About our bad action and rudeness. 
He said it's not our business and in the end he refused to talk with us like there would have been something wrong willing to know if this girl has to leave China or not. 

At the same week I contacted HHS Cultural Exhange Center in Beijing and told them that if it was possible I'd like to change the city and come there since my contract was signed with HHS. They offered me a replacement and asked few days to fix everything in Beijing. After two days they told me it would be good time to tell about my replacement to the hostfamily and the office. I went to the office and told about my plan to the only person who ever take any care of me or paid attention how I was doing. At the same evening I told about my plans to the hostparents. I found out that they haven't had any idea about my rematch even if it has been already a month since I told to the office that I wanted a new family! 

I kept in touch with the office in Beijing while the office in Shanghai was trying it's best not to let me go. It took about ten days until they told me that they couldn't keep me here if I really wanted to go. They tried to offer me a family but naturally I had already made my decission. They said I should be out of my current hostfamilys house in a week and they refused to pay my salary or money from the flights. I had been working more than 100 hours during the last month and my hostfamily has already paid for the agency. They told me it was none of their business any more and from now one I should survive on my own. Like I wouldn't be on my own for the last three months. There was nothing I could do. I still haven't got my money and probably never will. Four days later I crabbed my belongings and took train to Beijing.

That was my story but there are also some facts everyone should know about the company.

The former au pair of my hostfamily never get money back from her flights. My hostfamily has paid 9000€ for having an au pair for a year but the only thing she received was monthly allowance worth 90€. She never received any bonuses the company keeps talking about even if she was doing a great job and the family really loved her.

There was a family whose au pair get paid 120€ per month. When she left and the new girl come her monthly salary was 90€. The hostfamily paid the same amount of money to the company as before but the company just kept it all.

The contract between au pair and the agency is not legally relevant. Based on the contract the au pair doesn't have any rights. On the other hand the office has all the rights to decide what's gonna happen to the au pair.

People working for CIMEC lie all the time and about everything. Especially when it comes to money. Always when I asked for my pocket money and flight allowance they made some excuses why they couldn't pay it now. They always told me they would pay it next week. They make excuses such as having a family meeting or painting the walls of the office - reasons why I couldn't go to the office and get my money. It wasn't a suprise that when I walked to the office next times the walls weren't painted or at the time when the familymeeting was supposed to be hold everyone was working in the office.

The company doesn't only threaten au pairs but hostfamilies as well.

CIMEC keeps advertising that their program has had over 300 Western youths that have participated the program. The truth is that all of them have been participants of HHS Cultural Exhcange Centers program. This far there hasn't been a single person who would have had contract with CIMEC. The company was founded 2013, not 2006.

At the moment CIMEC has only one au pair in Shanghai and she will be leaving in one week because extending her visa with CIMEC wasn't possible.

The man in the head of the company is the most shameless man I've ever meet. He's a selfish liar who never pays any attention to other people feelings or thoughts. Only things he cares about are money and his company. He acts like a high educated man who has seen the world but he really has no idea about life or what it is like to move to the other side of the world completely alone. Never trust him, he's just using all the people around him.

This was my experience and I truly wish that nobody would need to go through the same. Some things written in this text are based on stories other people has been telling me so I can't guarantee them to be true but I guess you get the main idea what I'm trying to say.  

At the moment I'm living in Beijing, working as an au pair under HHS Cultural Exchange Center. Coming here was the best decission of my life and I hope I don't have to hear from CIMEC ever again.

4 kommenttia:

  1. Huh mikä tarina! :O Tässä sen näkee mitä rahanahneus saa aikaan.. Ihailen sun sisukkuutta, go SUOMI!! :)

    1. Mä en ole koskaan rahasta innostunut ja tää Kiinassa hengailu saa mut kyllä vihaamaan koko ajatusta siitä että ihmisten elämä pyörii pankkitilin numeroiden ympärillä. Mutta semmosta se täällä tuppaa olemaan!

      Suomi ♥

  2. Hyi. Tuliko yhtään epäturvallinen olo kun ei ollut mitään sinäsnä "tukea" järjestöltä kun asiat meni huonosti?

    1. Tiiätkö mua lähinnä vitutti :D Olin ihan alkujaan etsinyt perhettä ilman mitään järjestöjäja sit loppuen lopuksi sanoin ei tosi mukavalta vaikuttaneelle perheelle koska päätin et järjestön kautta on ns. turvallisempaa lähteä jos tulee ongelmia. Mutta ei muhun toi epäturvallisuus oikeastaan koskaan iskenyt. Mietin vaan että jos asiat ei lähe rullaamaan niin sanon heipat järjestölle ja jatkan omin päin!


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