Nini Tu joined our project at Villas Royal in Dongguan in the summer of 2017. To view their feedback, please read on:
Could you please tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
The students really left a great impression on me. I have not had any teaching experience before and so I was terrified when I first saw them! But over time, I got to bond with the children and they were absolutely adorable and very smart! I was really shocked at how good their English was and how they helped their classmates who had trouble understanding what I was saying and translated for them – it was a very kind thing of them to do.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
The outdoor activities definitely helped me bond with my class. I did not have my homeroom a lot and so they didn’t feel close to me as they did with the other volunteers, however, going out with them helped me speak to them more and understand their personalities. The time when we went to the museum, I lost my class 3 times and when it was time to go back to the school, I couldn’t find them anywhere. The other volunteers found it funny seeing me running around and trying to find my class until I eventually saw them outside the toilets and looking back it was pretty funny. I lost them again at the cinema and it became a joke amongst the other volunteers about how I kept losing my class.
The performance during the closing ceremony is something I would never forget. Dancing in front of the students and seeing them laugh and smile will be unforgettable.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
There were some issues involving management such as timetables being delivered very late and having no resource material or plan to teach. We had to make our voices heard so that these issues were addressed. I think this helped me realise that it is important for me to tell someone when there is something that doesn’t seem right, otherwise the experience would have been disastrous. The overall experience has helped me gain confidence on stage and enabled me to understand what teaching really was like – it is a difficult job!
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
Knowing what it is like in China; for example, the weather, seeing the atmosphere, knowing how to pay in Chinese currency. I didn’t know what Dongguan would be like until I actually went there. It was a pleasant experience.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
Yes. Volunteering is amazing! There is so much that you learn on the go and meeting different people with different perspectives. You get to teach people about your culture, too!