Georgie Coulston joined our project at Weifang International School in the summer of 2017. Please read on to view her feedback:
Please can you tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
Some of my most enjoyable moments of the trip happened thanks to the other volunteers involved. I liked the community feel and positive atmosphere that was built throughout the programme. I also really enjoyed getting to experience life in ‘real’ China and being put into contact with so many different adults and children from all different walks of life was really eye-opening. One of my most memorable moments was meeting with all of the volunteers for the first time at the Olympic Sailing Centre in Qingdao! It was very exciting getting to see it in reality.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
The highlight of the lessons was probably getting to know all of the children and helping them to learn English. Teaching them in the classroom and watching them develop their skills and abilities was really rewarding to see. The outdoor activities at the camp were really exciting and I particularly enjoyed snorkelling and riding on the segways. Watching the children (and volunteers) overcome their fears during the activity helped the group to bond and added to the general sense of community.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
Volunteering in China has definitely benefited me as a person as it has allowed me to face and overcome challenges that I didn’t think I would be able to. Planning, preparing and teaching age appropriate lessons and activities to classes of 30 children (most of whom had different learning abilities and varied English skills) has built on my own personal confidence. Due to limited resources I often had to think on my feet and be creative in my approach. Ensuring that all children were engaged, interested and motivated during lessons and games has really helped my communication and people skills.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
I think the best thing about my experience in China was getting to see China in its true light. I got to live and work in a country with a completely different culture to what I was used to, which was at times slightly unnerving but was extremely exciting. Working with and supporting the children in learning new skills which will hopefully have a long-term effect on their language abilities was really rewarding. Meeting all of the other volunteers was also a highlight and most of us will stay in contact after the programme has ended.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would recommend participating in the programme to a friend if they were looking for an adventure in which they were going to be challenged. I think experiencing Chinese culture was fascinating and something that I feel very lucky to have been a part of. I think if somebody was looking for an experience to work and live in China and meet a variety of different people then this programme would be good for them.