Nicole Gray joined our projects at Julong Foreign Languages School in Quanzhou 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?
I really enjoyed how the school involved me in all aspects of the school life, not just teaching English. I was invited to watch the night time talent show and to birthday celebrations that occurred in the evenings for my students. I was able to get deeply involved in Chinese culture; something I was very grateful for. I also enjoyed being able to explore the area at the weekends- I made friends with a lovely local girl who showed us Mount Qingyuan and organised a music lesson with traditional Chinese instruments.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
My favourite lessons were the craft and cooking lessons, which we had once a week. I would teach the children the vocabulary on the relevant topic, and then we made things such as hamburgers, milk tea, Chinese fans, and Chinese puppets.
My favourite cultural excursion was hiring bikes in Quanzhou where we visited 3 temples, a village with houses made of sea shells, and ate at a local hotpot restaurant.
My favourite outdoor activity was swimming, nearby there was an outdoor pool that we were able to use- we went there most days!
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
The experience has given me excellent experience teaching, and inspired me to want to teach English as a foreign language in the future. I now plan on teaching English whilst doing some travelling when I finish university. I also think that living and working in China has given me a much deeper and more accurate understanding of the culture compared to if I had visited China as a tourist on holiday.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
The best thing about my experience in China was seeing the children’s English improve so rapidly. On my first day none of my class were able to respond to ‘what is your name?’ but by the end of my time teaching them they not only knew but had a very good understanding of lots of new vocabulary. Most mornings whilst walking to class students would run up to me reciting the phrases I had taught them, or describing the weather to me. It was also very rewarding to have the teachers complement the activities I planned for the children, and use my teaching materials.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would definitely recommend Gotoco to a friend, because you not only get teaching experience but also are able to experience a culture that is so different to what you are used to, and so fascinating. I have stayed in touch with the local friends I made there, as well as the friends I made who were teaching with me.