Oceane Suquet joined our projects in English School, Xi'an
Please you us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
One of my favorite moments in Xi'an was cycling the city walls with the other teachers. After a first few difficult days of teaching, we rented bikes and rode for 2 hours around the walls, discovering that we had the chance to live in a beautiful city filled with culture and activities.
Another great experience was going to KFC with a group of 5 year-old children, to review the vocabulary surrounding food with them, and celebrate the end of their classes. It was a lot of fun to make hamburgers with them, and a great way to wrap up their programme.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
During my stay, I helped a 26 year-old engineer to prepare for her upcoming TOEFL test, tutoring her over 20 hours. Throughout these 1-to-1 lessons, I progressively discovered her unusual determination to learn English in order to advance her career. The progresses she made over the month were impressive, and I will keep on teaching her online until she manages to make it to the US. These classes were by far one of the highlights of my trip!
Another highlight of my teaching experience was when the principal of a school I was teaching at – who was very strict and distant at first – offered me a full time position at the end of my classes. It was great to know that I had met her high requirements and had managed to become a great teacher.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I have learnt a lot from this experience – through teaching, but also through living in China.
More precisely, while in Xi'an, I got to teach to a very wide array of students ranging from 3 year-old children, to 26 year-old professionals. This diversity of backgrounds and English levels greatly improved my capacity to adapt to different situations, and to quickly evaluate the people facing me. I also got to improve my communication and time management skills, as well as my capacity to convey ideas in a clear and concise way.
Moreover, because very few people speak English in China, I got to quickly improve my Chinese, to go from a complete beginner level to being able to use simple sentences and vocabulary in the street. This was definitely a great skill to gain!
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
I think the best thing about my experience in China was to be able to learn so much, not only from teaching students with extremely disparate English level, but also by having to adapt to ever-changing schedules, by discovering a plethora of historical sites, and by progressively improving my Chinese.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
Yes, however, I would only advise it to a friend who is well-traveled and could handle living in China.
While I have loved my stay in Xi'an, the classes and schedules we ended up having had nothing to do with the original programme description provided by Gotoco, and kept on changing, which required a lot of flexibility and improvisation.