Alicia Arnold joined our projects in Global IELTS International English Yangzhou
Please you us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
I really enjoyed the teaching itself and getting to talk to the students. Their experiences and views were very insightful, and they were always curious to learn more about me and where I came from. Some of the students invited us summer teachers for dinner at a typical hot pot restaurant and we saw the chefs make noodles in front of us, which was amazing! And the food their was delicious.
I also really enjoyed exploring Yangzhou, where I was based, and meandering down Donguan Street; tasting the street food and browsing the shops.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
The highlight of the lessons was witnessing the student's progress throughout the summer. One of my regular students when I started teaching them was working at a high level 3 (basic conversation). And, when I left, they were almost fluent and were comfortable and competent in my level 6 classes. Building relationships with my students really made the trip worth while.
In terms of the cultural excursions, Hangzhou was another one my favourite places – especially exploring West Lake and hearing about the traditional Chinese legends. The tea and food there is notoriously delicious and it's rich history was awesome.
Also, climbing Yellow Mountain – although it almost made me cry with the extent of stairs and exercise – was an unforgettable and amazing experience. Seeing the clouds beneath me and seeing how high we had climbed was something to be really proud of.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I feel, and other people have commented, that I am more confident in myself. Teaching students and hearing their positive feedback was a real confidence boost, and meeting all the wonderful people I did in Yangzhou has given me some friends for life. Plus, travelling half-way across the world independently has made realise that I am braver than I give myself credit for, and I am proud of what I have achieved this Summer.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
Teaching the students was an incredible experience! They are so diligent, friendly and engaged, which really surprised me. Their enthusiasm and kindness is something I will never forget, and I will always hold dear the memories of teaching them.
Whilst the teaching was invaluable, the opportunities to explore China were one of my favourite aspects of the trip. For instance, a group of us summer teachers spent three days exploring Shanghai, which is only four hours away from Yangzhou. I loved the diversity, vastness and nightlife – it gave me perspective on how big and incredible China is!
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would definitely recommend Gotoco to friends because my summer was truly unforgettable. Some worries were not being able to afford it; but having the school pay us subsidies and providing board for us was a big relief. I would also say if people are worried about the cost of the project, Universities offer grants that cover plane ticket costs; and the cost of living in China is relatively cheap compared to UK or US standards. It was worth every penny all the experiences and skills I gained by going through Gotoco to China, and is one of the best decisions I ever made.