Alice Anders joined our projects in Guizhou Travel and Learn Education
Please you us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
At the risk of being rather cheesy, every day brought about a different highlight. Be it teaching kids how to high-five, learning how to make dumplings or seeing the biggest waterfall in Asia — I loved my time in China!
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
Seeing kids improve was always the best bit. When kids who'd never done English in school independently said a few things, when kids came up to me outside of class, asking me if I liked strawberries, when one kid helped me teach another kid how to high five; every day was a highlight. Learning how to climb, how to shoot arrows, how to make dumplings, speaking my first few words of Chinese, going on a river walk: the list of things I learnt goes on.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
It has immensely benefitted me. Not only do I now have a base knowledge of the Chinese language, I also believe to have got an insight, if minor, into the workings of Chinese culture. I have made friends for life and will certainly be back.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
The people, especially in Guizhou. I can't deny that I very much appreciated being special, being the first white person they've seen, being called beautiful on a daily basis (they might say it to everyone, but that doesn't mean it's not nice to hear it still!), but the kindness of the Guizhou people went beyond this. They took us in and went through tremendous effort to share the Chinese cultural and heritage with us, taking us to all the important places in Guizhou, but also patiently explaining things to us.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
Absolutely. There is no better way to learn about a culture than being stuck in it with no escape. I was lucky enough to be in a really rural area, where there wasn't much else for me to do than to copy what everyone else was doing. Not seeing a single white person all month definitely also helped in integrating the group a bit more, something which is invaluable, and all the travel in the world cannot truly replicate without staying in the same place for an extended period of time — in which case you may as well volunteer and get your TEFL in the process!