My most enjoyable part of the trip was teaching in Zhecheng as we got regular classes and so got to know the children and could try different things. We had a mixed age and ability group which was a challenge but we managed to keep all kids interested through games, music and using different styles of teaching.
The highlight of the cultural excursions for me was seeing the children become more used to and much more comfortable speaking English with us. We went on a trip to Lugongdao Island for a week and by the end of the week all the students were happily speaking English with us. They would come up to us just to chat or ask to play a game, all the younger boys loved ‘duck, duck, goose’.
This trip provided me with my first ever opportunity to leave Europe. Visiting China gave me a chance to see a country with a history, culture and language that I knew little about and so I got the chance to take myself out of my comfort zone. I believe this has made me more aware of different cultures and have a greater sensitivity to how different Asia is to Europe. I also learnt how to represent British culture and provide a good role model for the students.
Before going to China I was considering teaching English as a foreign language after university and now with the TEFL qualification and the experience gained from this trip, I have decided to pursue becoming a TEFL teacher as a career after I complete university. The trip also gave me the confidence to pursue jobs outside of Europe and in countries where I don’t know the language.
I would recommend this trip to a friend. The teachers at the school were very friendly and also tried to help us where and when they could. The students and parents were incredibly welcoming too. It was also interesting to go to a part of China where it was so rare for there to be Westerners.