Jed De Ruiter-Swain joined our projects in Shantou BOB Foreign Languages school in summer 2017.
Please can you tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
I really enjoyed the activities that the school organised for us on the days we were free. My favourite was when we visited the nearby island of Nan’ao. We spent the day on the beach, and also visited the monument erected to mark the tropic of Cancer, which passes through the area. Another very enjoyable time was when we visited the nearby city of Chaozhou. This city has a beautiful old district, including a large temple complex and a bridge across the river.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
The highlight of lessons was definitely seeing progression in the students. From the start of teaching to the end I noticed a significant difference in the ability of the students, which I found very rewarding. My favourite cultural excursion was visiting a temple in Shantou. This was a small, local temple used by fisherman and as such had a different, more personal feel to it. My favourite outdoor activity was visiting the beach and tropic of Cancer on Nan’ao island. I hadn’t expected to be able to go to the beach in China, so this was a welcome surprise!
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
The experience definitely widened my horizons. It allowed me to get an unparalleled look in to the lives of normal Chinese people, which was a privilege. In addition to this, I learnt a lot about Chinese culture, which was very enjoyable. The experience has also made me much better at working with other people, in particular because of the language gap between the foreign teachers and the Chinese staff and students. I also developed leadership skills, from teaching large classes of children.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
The best thing about the experience was learning about the culture and history of China. I was able to visit numerous sites such as temples and historic old districts, which was a privilege. The other foreign teachers also made the experience for me. They were a great bunch of people, and I made many friends who I still stay in contact with.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would recommend this experience to a friend, because I think it was extremely enjoyable and worthwhile. The ability to teach and be able to help people is a wonderful feeling. In addition it gives you an incredible opportunity to travel, and experience all parts of Chinese life and culture. There are few other ways to experience this.