Raghav Sudarshan joined our projects at Dahuwei Yangshuo in the summer of 2017. To view his feedback, please read on.
Could you please tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
I absolutely loved teaching some of my students; they really cared and we became great friends by the end – they even gave me gifts to take back to England! Dahuwei is great in that we did outdoor activities with the kids, so it never really got monotonous because there was always an end in sight to the lesson. Yangshuo is an uncommonly beautiful place – particularly at sunrise and sunset – and getting the chance to travel round on our days off, to climb the karst mountains, ride through the deep valleys, even to do some white water rafting, was an experience I shall never forget.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
White water rafting (‘drifting’ as they call it there) was bundles of fun – we went with many of the foreign and Chinese staff and it was great for bonding under exhilarating conditions! Going to the island owned by Dahuwei in the middle of the river and dancing with the students by the bonfire as the sun set with mountains casting shadows all around was my favourite activity of each camp. As well as the water fights, of course! The common theme here is water, which helped us all to cool off in the sometimes sweltering heat and humidity.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I learned a lot in Yangshuo: about myself, about Chinese culture, and about teaching. I made many great friends, both foreign teachers and Chinese staff – some of whom I will probably never see again, but that doesn’t make the 5 weeks we spent together any less precious. I am certainly a more confident, open person now, more comfortable in the spotlight and with travelling alone in a foreign country where I barely spoke the language. It will be great to get a TEFL qualification and be able to do things like this around the world again in the future, because it’s certainly something I can see myself enjoying.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
I got to experience this amazing country and culture first-hand. It was a really personal experience: we made real, human connections which made it all the more valuable and eye-opening. Sometimes just staying in a hotel – or even a hostel – isn’t enough to understand. Teaching, however, along with sharing meals, accommodation, and activities with staff and students alike, certainly is.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
Definitely – it’s a fantastic opportunity that doesn’t come around once you leave university and enter the real world.