Fernanda Deolarte Ruiz joined our project at Lan Leadership Camp in Qingdao in summer 2017. Please read on to view her feedback:
Could you please tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
During the first camp, I taught first grade students, and I found it to be a really rewarding experience. Though the language barrier made it challenging at times, overall I really enjoyed it, and the children were very motivated and eager to learn. I also really enjoyed getting to know and working with people from all over the world. The last week, we had the opportunity to go to Yangshuo, which was incredible, not only was it beautiful but we got to do a range of incredible activities, like watching the sunrise from the TV tower, and bamboo rafting.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
In terms of the lessons, one of the highlights was that we got to teach different age groups and learn about their different experiences in the Chinese school system, while sharing with children ours, through the teaching methods we employed. While in Qingdao, our camp director organized a number of activities for us, from hiking Laoshan, to a traditional tea ceremony, and making dumplings. It was an incredible opportunity to get to do some many different cultural activities, which gave us an insight into various aspects of Chinese culture.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I found this experience to be really beneficial. Although it was difficult at first, it was a very rewarding experience to have to prepare and lead classes and activities, and I’ve definitely learned a lot from doing so. Also, staying with a host family was a really great because it allowed me to experience more of the local culture and visit places that I would not have known about as a tourist. Additionally, since my host mom was a Chinese teacher, I got to learn and practice the language.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
The best thing about my experience in China was being immersed in a different culture and exploring new places, while getting to know lots of incredible people. The program was fantastic because it gave me the opportunity to get work experience while at the same time learning a new language, and exploring a new country, which I could not have done as a tourist.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would definitely recommend participating to a friend. It was a really rewarding experience, and I had a fantastic summer with Gotoco. Not only do you learn a lot from teaching English in a completely new environment, but you get the chance to meet people from all over the world, and get to learn more about Chinese culture, while exploring a new country.