Georgina Burford-Taylor joined our project at YouCan Education in Lisui in the summer of 2017. Please read on to view her feedback:
Could you please tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
My trip was very routine – teaching in the morning, lunch, then being left to my own devices in my room in the afternoon, followed by dinner and bed.
That being said, I did enjoy a short night trip in which I went on a cruise boat around the river with my teaching assistant and her mother. The same girl also made lunchtimes enjoyable by keeping me company and taking me to different places each day so that I could try some of the specialty dishes. Another enjoyable moment was watching a movie with her, doing KTV and climbing a mountain.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
The highlights of the lessons were when the children were really very enthusiastic about learning a particular topic, or doing a particular exercise. It made the job easier and it was very satisfying to see them really engage with the subject. Also watching certain students that struggled at the beginning of the series of lessons finally start understanding and demonstrating their knowledge.
Unfortunately I did not really attend any cultural excursions, however I did climb a mountain on my last day and would say it was very enjoyable to do something physical and different for a change.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I would say that the experience benefitted me by really facilitating character building. It required a great amount of patience for the children, and also in terms of trying to overcome some language barriers. The experience also required a lot of independence and creativity in terms of planning lessons and keeping the children entertained while they were learning. I also enjoyed being able to practice my mandarin and strengthen my basic everyday communication skills. I am happy to have the experience teaching the children english, and that I had a range of ages from 6-12, I feel like I used my knowledge learnt from the TEFL course well, and that it’s applicable in a number of different scenarios, not just teaching.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
The best thing about my experience in China was how caring and lovely the people that I worked with were. I was a disappointed to not be in a homestay scenario, but having regular dinners and lunches with the people I was working with meant that I made a few friends, and got to engage with them outside of working. Being able to explore the city a little with them was also really enjoyable.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would recommend it, however I would also recommend them find out all the details about their specific program.
I would recommend it because I think that the teaching is a valuable experience, and being able to explore and learn more about China is a fantastic experience. The people I was with were wonderful and hospitable, and I believe that I’ve made friends that I can visit again in the future if I ever return.