joined our projects in Weifang FLS, Qingdao Youth Leadership Programme
Please you us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
The week spent visiting various parts of Qingdao between camps. Lan International took good care of us during that unexpected week off (due to the camp being cancelled).
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
I'm not sure that my trip breaks down so evenly between these three areas, but I'll give it a go. The highlight of the lessons was probably doing a presentation on mental health, although it was a bit heavy going. I really enjoyed staying with host families, although this brought its own problems when it came to organising my days. The best outdoor activities were probably going walking in Laoshan and paddleboarding in Qingdao.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
Living with the host families and spending a lot of time with Chinese hosts and Lan staff has given me a much greater insight into China. It was very beneficial to be primarily based in Qingdao and not changing location every few days to visit a new city and do more tourist activities, as I would have done if I had instead gone backpacking in China.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
There was no "best thing" about my time in China. I enjoyed not being rushed to try to visit or do as much as possible while I was there, and enjoyed getting to know the staff at Lan and my host families. The opportunities to go hiking were also greatly appreciated.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would definitely recommend doing a similar trip, but I am not sure that I would recommend Gotoco if they were able to find another route to get to China. While my experience with Gotoco was alright I met many other volunteers who had lots of problems getting information from Gotoco about visas, accommodation or confirming what they were doing. Perhaps because I was in the middle of exams in the weeks leading up to my trip I didn't have time to worry about this but I know that other volunteers did. If you were able to improve your communication with volunteers I wouldn't have a problem recommending Gotoco.