Michael joined our programmes in Yangshuo (Zhuoyue English College) in the summer of 2017. Please read on for his feedback.
Please can you tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
My most enjoyable moment of the trip was spending time with the children outside class. This was in the form of activities, during breaks or going out on excursions. Going out and doing something non-academic with the kids allowed me to spend time with them and really get to know them. This helped me to really have a connection with them and consequently to become a great teacher, but also made me realise how much I enjoyed spending time with the children.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
The highlight of the lessons was watching my class perform their plays at the end of the week. For me, it summarised all the hard work that every student put in during the week into a performance. It also showed how much each student had improved over the week. The highlight of the outdoor activities was the opportunity to go to West Street with the children. It really helped the children use their verbal skills in a real life scenario but also in a fun way. All the outdoor activities allowed me to get to know the children on an equal level and gain rapport with them. Both teaching a class and spending time with them during outdoor activities allowed me to make real friendships with them and I was very sad to see them go.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
The month I spent teaching in Yangshuo has been an unforgettable experience. I have made so many friends, whether it be other foreign teachers, Chinese teaching assistants or the kids. The opportunity has opened my eyes to local life/culture and allowed me to enjoy many fun activities, such as visiting the rice terraces or mopeding across the beautiful scenery of Yangshuo. Many of the priceless memories I have made in China will stay with me forever. I would definitely go again.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
The best thing about my experience in China was living as a local and being a teacher rather than just being a tourist at the city. It is so much more of a rewarding and unique experience, knowing that I have made a difference to the lives of children from a different country. I have made so many new friends and I have been truly immersed in Chinese culture which I would not have experienced, were I just another tourist. For this reason, this summer has been the best of my life and I will forever cherish it in my memories.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
Without a doubt I would recommend it to any friend interested in travelling around the world. This programme is a great opportunity to experience China in the perspective of a local and to make plenty of new friends. You will experience an untinted version of the culture and will create unforgettable memories whilst making a difference to the lives of local people. After a month of teaching, there is nothing I would take back from my experience.