Aiste Kudulyte joined our projects in ECHO English (Hangzhou)
Please you us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
Some of the most enjoyable moments of the trip took place in Yangshuo. Whether it was travelling with e-bikes or exploring the countryside, riding in a van of a Chinese guy we just met to have lunch in another village or swimming in mud baths – every day was a new adventure that I got to experience together with my friends. One of the most amazing moments was when we climbed to the top of Moon hill and could see a 360 degree view – I truly felt like on top of the world.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
My host families made sure that I would see as much as possible, therefore they brought me to temples, pagodas, museums and other objects, which were some of the highlights of cultural excursions.
I taught in the summer camp for three weeks and highly enjoyed the experience. The highlights of the lessons definitely were the moments, where students were interested and participated fully, as well as the last rehearsals before the show. It was a bit sad to leave the school and the kids, but I was also so proud of them and the work they have put in to prepare the play. In Hangzhou, the main outdoor activity was visiting the West lake, which I did about 4 times and really enjoyed them all.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I think this trip was a great travelling experience in general as we had to navigate ourselves and find places where we have to go, we had to communicate with people who do not speak English and we spent a month in a country with a different culture. Also, it was my first time travelling outside Europe, and I had to do some of it alone – now I definitely feel at least a bit more confident about travelling far away and/or on my own. Besides that, teaching experience was very rewarding, and I really recommend to try it!
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
I absolutely loved staying with host families! My case was quite unusual as I had two host families (instead of one) and also spent some time with the host family of my friend, but (besides the stress of moving) at the end of the day I think I have been very lucky to get to know three families instead of one. All of them have been very welcoming and lovely people who took care of me above and beyond. I felt really safe and secure as I had at least several people in China I could rely on, and their hospitality and kindness was amazing – I saw so much more than I could have seen travelling on my own.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would definitely recommend it to a friend as I found this programme extremely rewarding. This project allowed me to see a beautiful country that I could not have seen otherwise and besides providing a cheap way to live and travel in China in exchange for teaching English, which was an interesting experience itself, the organizers accommodated us with the host families, and this way gave me a chance to see family life in China as well as explore the country less like a tourist and more like a local. Overall, I would definitely recommend Gotoco for a friend as for me it truly was an experience of a lifetime.