South Africans Teaching English Abroad — Londiwe’s Story Of Teaching In China
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Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) has taken the world by storm. So much so that the idea of teaching English online or overseas has almost become a cliche. You’d be forgiven for thinking that South Africans teaching English abroad is a fantasy. You might be thinking that this utopian life of teaching and living abroad doesn’t apply to those of us blessed with a South African passport. But the thing is, TEFL can still totally change your life.
You don’t have to just take our word for it. We have living and breathing alumni from The TEFL Academy who have changed their lives with TEFL and lived to tell the tale!
Coming from the small town of Harding on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, Londiwe decided to study at the University of Stellenbosch (ahoy maties!). She graduated as a Food Technologist and worked for Woolworths, which sounds like a very snazzy job.
After working for a few years, Londiwe decided she wanted to travel abroad. After doing some research she realised that working as a TEFL teacher was the passport to adventure she craved. She enrolled with The TEFL Academy (TTA), taking her first step towards realising her dream.
Once she graduated from TTA, Londiwe found a job teaching at a Kindergarten in Yuyao, China. Yuyao is a small town (with 1.6 million people!) in Zhejiang province, approximately 200km south of Shanghai. It is known for the Neolithic Hemudu culture formed in about 5,000 B.C., one of the earliest sites of human civilization on earth.
Londiwe was working Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, but her teaching hours varied depending on the day of the week. Some days she would teach for two hours, and other days she would work 30 minutes (yes, minutes!) a day. When she wasn’t teaching she was doing admin work and looking after children.
Even though her teaching hours were low, her working hours were still the usual 8am to 5pm, so she was earning a full salary. She started off earning 14 000RMB (R33 000) a month, and then 17 500RMB (R42 000) a month, and by the time she left China she was on 22 000RMB (R52 000) a month.
She taught in Yuyao for two years, then returned to South Africa in 2021.
What was it like teaching English abroad?
In terms of challenges, Londiwe didn’t feel like she faced many: “It was fun for me!! I loved every bit of my experience.”
How did TEFL change her life?
“It opened up borders for me! The best thing I ever did and I think at the right time, too – mid 20’s is a great time to travel!”
What advice would she give to South Africans thinking about taking the plunge and becoming a TEFL teacher?
“Do it! Just register and do it! Travel, learn and grow, your future self will thank you for it!”
While it sounds like Londiwe had the best time ever, we understand you probably still have questions. Let’s take a look at the most common TEFL questions asked by South Africans:
Who can TEFL?
For the most part, anyone can teach English as a foreign language. You’ll need to be over 18, but once you have your TEFL qualification there are very few restrictions. A few countries have an upper age limit on working visas but these are generally around the age of 65 to 70.
English is not my first language. Can I still TEFL?
As an English teacher, it should be obvious that your English needs to be at a very high level. You don’t need to be born speaking English, just a fluent speaker, with a proficiency level at a C1 (Advanced) level according to the CEFR.
As a South African, English might not be your first language. Because of this, you might need to prove your level of English proficiency. This is done by obtaining a certain score in an exam such as the IELTS, or by showing your high school and tertiary education were conducted in an English-medium institution.
Of course, even if English is your first language, that doesn’t mean that you will automatically be a good TEFL teacher. This is a big reason why doing a TEFL course is so important – it will give you the skills you need to thrive online and in the classroom.
I don’t have a degree. Can I still TEFL?
Absolutely. You don’t need a degree to do a TEFL course. However, you will have fewer options than someone who has a degree.
My degree is not a Teaching degree. Can I still TEFL?
Of course. A degree requirement is a requirement for certain working visas but not for being accepted onto a TEFL course. For this reason, it’s not important what field your degree is in but simply the fact that you have a degree.
How can I afford to TEFL?
When you think about it, there are a few costs involved when it comes to teaching English abroad. The first is the cost of your TEFL course itself. Though you can find TEFL courses which are as cheap as chips, please believe us when we say they are too good to be true – because they really are. These certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on.
Rather, invest your time and money into a qualification which you know is accredited and internationally recognised – like those from The TEFL Academy.
How do I find a TEFL job?
You can find a TEFL job the same way you would find any other job. These days TEFL teachers, for the most part, find jobs online. The TEFL Academy has a Jobs Board listing the latest jobs from around the world. All you need to do is apply.
If you already know which country you want to teach in, there are country-specific websites where you can find local job listings. For example, if you want to teach English in Thailand, you can look at ajarn.com.
What can I earn?
Ah, the big question. How much you earn depends totally on the job and the country. You can’t expect to make millions if you’re only working a few hours every day. But at the same time you don’t have to work yourself to the bone to earn a decent living with TEFL. It all depends on where and who you are teaching.
TEFL salaries and packages vary around the world. Some countries offer packages which include flights, accommodation, and a completion bonus. Most schools will give you paid school holidays. Other jobs might pay you an hourly rate. What is important to consider when looking at job salaries is what is included in the salary, the working hours, as well as the cost of living in that country.
Read more: The Average TEFL Salary: The Lowdown
What are you waiting for? We’d love to get you started on your TEFL journey.
Check out more about Londi’s TEFL experience as a South African teaching English in China:
The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.
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- These are the terms and conditions upon which The TEFL Academy will provide one of the following TEFL
courses to you (the “Terms”):
Name of course Description Online Level 5 TEFL Course 168-hour Online Level 5 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Online Level 3 TEFL Course 120-hour Online Level 3 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Top-Up Courses 30-hour Online Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English and Teaching Online & 1:1 Courses 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours of webinar teaching practice course (Learn about classroom management and Q&A with a TEFL expert) Observed Teaching Practice Course 40-hour observed teaching practice course
- Details of the TEFL Courses can be found here.
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you, the student, and us The TEFL Academy, to the exclusion of all other terms and conditions. Any variations to
these Terms shall have no effect unless agreed in writing.
- All students studying the combined course option must print their confirmation email and bring it to the first day
of their course or have the confirmation email accessible on a smartphone.
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- We are ELEARNING FUTURES LTD (trading as The TEFL Academy) a company registered in the United Kingdom.
Registered company number 13725845, Palmeira Avenue Mansions, 19 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2FA.
- Our USA address is: The TEFL Academy, 954 Lexington Ave, #1135 New York, NY 10021, USA.
- You can contact us by telephoning our customer service team at +1 347 434 9694 or by emailing us at [email protected].
- These Terms shall commence upon the date you receive a confirmation email from us to accept your order and
shall continue for the duration of the TEFL Course or until cancelled pursuant to these Terms.
- You will be obliged to comply with these Terms for the duration of the TEFL Course you are enrolled in unless
the course is cancelled early in accordance with these Terms. Any terms expressed to survive termination shall
so survive and shall be enforceable by us for a period of 6 years after termination.
- The duration of the TEFL Courses shall be as follows:
Name of course Duration Combined Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 3 TEFL Course 6 months 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours Top-up courses 6 weeks Observed Teaching Practice Course 2 years
- If you need a course extension, this can be arranged at a fee. Please contact [email protected] or call +1 347 434 9694
for more details and information on how to apply for an extension.
- The fees for extensions are set out below.
Extension type Extension fee pre-expiry Extension fee post-expiry Level 3 & 5 TEFL Course 30 day extension $66 $84 Level 3 & 5 TEFL Course 90 day extension $96 $114 Top-up Course 30 day extension $36 n/a Observed Teaching Practice Course No fee No fee
- The prices for the TEFL Courses are as follows:
Name of course Price Combined Level 5 TEFL Course $988 Online Level 5 TEFL Course $563 Online Level 3 TEFL Course $413 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course $220 Top-up courses $195 Observed Teaching Practice Course $275
- The TEFL Academy reserves the right to change our course prices or other services on our website at any time
at our sole discretion, and such amended prices or services shall be kept up to date on our website and
available here. Our website shall also maintain up to date details of our special offers here.
- The fees for extensions or cancellations can be found at clauses 3.5, 6.2 and 7.
- For classroom-based courses. transport to and accommodation at the venue is not included in the price of the
combined TEFL course. Food and other related costs are not included in the combined TEFL course price.
- All payments can be made by credit or debit card through our payment processor WorldPay or through Paypal. The
TEFL Academy does not process any card payments directly on our server. The payment page on the website will
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- If the date for your chosen course is more than two weeks away, you have the option of paying a
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your booking. The remaining balance must be paid in full no longer than one week before the course date. All
balance payments are non-refundable. Access to the online course is provided on receipt of the full balance
6. Changing or Cancelling your course
- If for whatever reason you wish to change the date of your course, you must notify us of the change at least
seven days prior to the course date. Any changes requested will only be accepted for available dates within the
next three months from the original course date and must be at the same location. All changes are subject to
availability and only one change per booking will be accepted.
- Please note: Subject to clause 7, under no circumstances whatsoever will changes or cancellations be accepted
less than 7 days before the course date. Any student who wishes to change course or cancel within the 7 days of
the course date, for whatever reason, will forfeit their course fee.
7. Right of Withdrawal
- You shall have a period of 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract to withdraw from the
contract (cancelling your enrolment) for no reason, and without incurring any costs other than those provided
for in clause 6.2 where applicable.
- If you wish to exercise your right of withdrawal, you must inform The TEFL Academy of your decision to
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- The exercise of the right of withdrawal shall terminate the obligations of the parties to perform the
contract. The TEFL Academy will reimburse you in respect of all payments received from you within 14 days of
withdrawal using the same means of payment as the you used for the initial transaction.
8. Course Cancellation by The TEFL Academy
- Where a course cannot take place due to trainer illness or other circumstances beyond our control, the course
may be cancelled by us. The TEFL Academy will endeavour to provide an alternative trainer but this is not always
possible. We will try and arrange an alternative date, but if any new arrangements are not suitable, a full
refund will be offered. In these circumstances we accept no liability for any loss or expenses incurred by you
including, without limitation, any travel, accommodation costs or loss of earnings.
- In the event that a classroom course cannot take place as a result of, or connected with, delay or
interruption to travel services, adverse weather conditions, civil disturbance, industrial action, strikes,
wars, floods, sickness, pandemics, epidemics or any other commonly accepted event of force majeure, The TEFL
Academy will endeavour to offer a classroom course at an alternative date or will seek to transfer your booking
to the online course or failing these options will transfer your booking to the reserves list (where you will be
placed on a list until you select an alternative suitable classroom date and can continue with the online
element of the course). A refund (including the difference in cost between different course options, if and
where applicable) will not be permitted in any of the above circumstances, unless the cancellation of the course
for these reasons occurs within 14 days from booking.
9. Access to Course and Materials
- The 6-month enrolment on the online course starts from the date that full payment for the course has been
received by The TEFL Academy.
- All assignments must be submitted no later than 2 weeks before the enrolment end date. Students who wish to
apply for an extension to the enrolment end date, may incur additional fees. An extension will run from the
previous enrolment end date or if you are paying the post expiry fee, from the date the full extension payment
is received by The TEFL Academy.
- Access to the online course materials will cease upon expiration of enrolment.
- All online courses require a computing device and stable internet connection. The full requirements can be
- All course data, including test scores and assignments, will be stored no more than 12 months from the final day of enrolment on the online course. Students will be notified by email of this deadline 30 days before deletion. Students who wish to retain their online course content beyond the 12-month storage date will be required to purchase an extension as per clauses 3 and 4.
10. Assignments and Exams
- As part of some TEFL Courses you will be required to prepare and submit assignments. If you do not pass an
assignment you can resubmit an assignment in accordance with clause 10.2.
- You can submit each assignment up to three times. (i.e. after the first submission of an assignment, you may
re-submit the assignment a two further times up to a total of three submissions for one assignment).
- If you do not pass an assignment, you will not receive a grade, but you will be given feedback as to why you
have not passed and you shall be given the opportunity to re-submit your work up to a total of 3 submissions per
assignment in accordance with clause 10.2. You will not be able to resubmit an assignment which you have been
awarded a pass grade in.
- If you have a basis to believe your work has not been fairly assessed, you can request a re-mark via the tutor
support ticket platform. Due to the high number of students we cannot look at any assignment in advance of an
- You should submit your final assignment 2 weeks before your end date to allow time for marking and the
possible need for re-submission.
- Please be aware that if you have not completed all required assignments and allowed sufficient time for
marking before your end-date, you will need to apply for an extension.
- You are entitled to sit exams as many times as you need to in order to pass the exam. If you pass the exam you
cannot thereafter seek to resit the exam.
11. Failing the Course
- The TEFL Academy offers a guaranteed pass, or your money back guarantee. You can retake the exams as many times as needed in order to pass. If you fail to achieve a pass on any assignments after your third attempt we will provide you with a full refund. A full refund will not be provided in accordance with clauses 11.4, 11.5 & 11.8.
- Native speakers of English will typically be above the minimum standard of English for this course.
- Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (Advanced), as a minimum to commence the course.
Students may test their English level here: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/content.
- Students found not to have a C1 level of English will likely fail the course and not complete the
qualification. However, it is up to each prospective student to determine for themselves whether or not they
wish to commence a course even where they do not have a minimum of C1 level English. For the avoidance of any
doubt no refund will be provided for a student failing the course in any circumstances.
- Any student who fails or is removed from the course as a result of confirmed plagiarism (in accordance with
clause 11.6) will be removed immediately from the course without refund.
- Where an assignment marker finds evidence that indicates that plagiarism may have occurred within a submitted
assignment, this will be escalated to an Internal Quality Assurance Manager for investigation who will compare
the submitted assignment to the source it is believed to be plagiarised from. The Internal Quality Assurance
Manager will make an assessment as to whether they consider plagiarism to have occurred. In the event the
Internal Quality Assurance Manager decides that plagiarism has occurred, they will prepare and provide to you a
detailed report outlining the reasons for their decision along with a letter explaining your removal from the
course. Should you wish to dispute this decision, you can do so in accordance with The TEFL Academy’s Appeals
policy for students which can be found here.
- If you do not pass an assignment after submitting it up to three times in accordance with clause 10.2 you will
be deemed to have failed the course. Should you wish to dispute this decision, you can do so in accordance with
The TEFL Academy’s Appeals policy for students which can be found here. If you fail the course due to not passing your assignments you will be provided with a full refund.
- In order for you to legitimately fail the course, a clear attempt to answer the assignment requirements must be made. This requires uploading the required assignment templates for each submission, and an attempt to address feedback and recommendations provided by the tutor for the second and third attempts. If we deem your attempts at the assignments to not be genuine a refund will not be provided.
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connection with, any delay or interruption to travel services, weather conditions, civil disturbance, industrial
action, strikes, wars, floods, sickness or other events of force majeure. Such losses or additional expenses are
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such as systems crashing.
- Our internship/volunteer opportunities and the jobs posted on our jobs board are provided by third parties.
Although we will endeavour to assist students, we accept no liability for the actions or conduct of any
- The TEFL Academy endeavours to ensure all assignments are marked promptly. However, there can be delays in
busier times or due to moderation requests from our accrediting body. The TEFL Academy accepts no responsibility for any loss or other circumstances resulting or arising from such delays.
- The TEFL Academy accepts no liability, nor shall it have any liability whether in contract, tort, under
statute or otherwise, for any loss or additional expense arising for students where they fail the course whether
such failure is alleged to be due to trainers allegedly lacking competency, for plagiarism or for any other
13. Complaints Handling Policy
- If you have any questions or complaints about the TEFL Course, please contact us. You can telephone our
customer service team at +1 347 434 9694 or write to us at [email protected] or The TEFL Academy, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL, United Kingdom.
- If your complaint is not dealt to your satisfaction with you may make a complaint to the course accrediting
body. You can find the contact details for the accrediting body in the The TEFL Academy’s Appeals Policy which
can be found here.
- Our staff have the right not to be subjected to aggressive, abusive or offensive language or behaviour,
regardless of the circumstances. Examples of this behaviour include but are not limited to; threats of physical
violence; swearing; inappropriate cultural, racial or religious references; rudeness, including derogatory
remarks. The TEFL Academy practises a zero-tolerance policy in relation to such behaviour. All students are
required at all times to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner including in their dealings with other
students, staff and external organisations. Disruptive or antisocial behaviour could result in being asked to
leave the course.
- Any student who fails or is removed from the course by failing to meet the academic standards or through being
found guilty of plagiarism will be removed immediately from the course without refund.
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Academy uses your personal information.
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- Any claims made in connection with these Terms shall be subject to English law and all proceedings shall be
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2023
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We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.