Gabrielle Nesbeth joined our project at Keystone Adventures Summer Camp in Shaxi 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?
Meeting Richard at the summer camp was great! It was really interesting to meet him and hear about the development of Gotoco. The entire trip was extremely enjoyable; getting to know the students and watching them grow as English speakers was very enjoyable, as were our daily activities, food, people we worked with, campsite, and trip to Tiger Leaping Gorge!
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
The highlights of the lessons were usually the fun games and activities we would play after the central lesson. The students were always having fun even during the lesson; sometimes we would point to objects and have them repeat their titles back to us and the kids would enjoy this as it got faster and more challenging. In regards to cultural excursions one of my favorite memories was getting to go to the old town/main square of Shaxi and have the students complete scavenger hunts. We would get to eat local food, shop, talk to locals, and see the ancient temples and buildings of Shaxi. The outdoor activities were the core of our camp, so we got to do rock climbing, hiking, raft building, biking, etc every day which was absolutely amazing and so much fun.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
The overall experience has made me a much more capable and stronger person. I got over my fear of spiders (and almost my fear of heights), expanded my food palate, improved at socializing and communicating, and greatly improved as a teacher. I am much more understanding and keen on personalizing lessons so they fit to individual students. The experience also brought me out of the bubble of the United States, and I became far more cultured and knowledgeable about issues, events, culture, society, history, etc in a foreign country, which is something everybody should do at least once in their life.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
I cannot decide what the best thing about my experience was: it could be the interactions that I had with people, teachers, and students that I will never forget; it could be the experience I had travelling around southern China and seeing the history and culture; it could be the time I spent in Yangshuo, river rafting, rock climbing, exploring caves, riding a moped around and exploring the entire region; it could be the relationships that I built with my coworkers, the other intern Pippa, and the students; or it could be the entire summer camp, in which we did many outdoor activities, hiked to great places, and got to experience the beauty of ancient China encapsulated in the little village of Shaxi.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would highly recommend a friend to participate because this program provides a great opportunity to travel but not to just touristy places, but to real neighborhoods, villages, and cities, where you can meet real people and have authentic experiences. In my opinion it’s best to work in any country you visit so that you can gain an authentic experience and working experience. The time I spent teaching was very rewarding and a TEFL certificate as well as this experience looks very good on a resume.