joined our projects in Basic English Luotian, English Oral College Yangshuo
Please you us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
Just generally having a laugh with the other volunteers and teaching assistants on a daily basis. When one of students that was really struggling finally strung together a sentence all by himself was such a rewarding moment. My birthday was a particular highlight, everyone was so kind and generous and it is definitely one I am going to remember.
Climbing up TV Tower and hiring bikes in Yangshuo with the other volunteers were amongst other great memories I have from the trip.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
Watching the kids frantically flipping through their books to find words for Hangman was definitely a teaching highlight. What was meant to be a 15 minute starter turned into, from popular demand, a very competitive and enthusiastic hour activity. It was a fantastic to see previously more withdrawn students coming out of the shell and also seeing all the work and grammar they had built up over the previous lesson.
Going to Fuli with the Kids was one of the organised excursion highlights. We were able to watch and make our own Fans which was a calm break from the hectic week we had before. Another highlight was climbing a mountain in Luotian and hand making dumplings with Frank our Project manager, which his Mother had prepared for us.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I have definitely developed a more confident approach, even in situations where I am unsure. Also how to adapt my teaching style in order to get through to different students.
I feel I am more comfortable when events don't go to plan. I don't feel the need to pre-plan everything but keeping calm, being resourceful and being flexible in order to make the most of the situation.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
It is hard to pinpoint one 'best thing'. Each day was extremely different and unearthed a new side to chinese culture. But from day to day, the people, the food, the stunning scenery, the hustle and bustle, the energy of the kids were all just some of the things that were great. Although it challenged me at the time, I loved how unpredictable it was and the trip was definitely much more than I expected.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
Yes I would, because it is a fantastic opportunity to experience a completely new lifestyle, explore china, make friends and gain teaching skills. However I would tell people to look closely at the school they are going to, if it suits them, if they can realistically commit to the full time they are set to go for and whether they want to teach.