Sammy Shair joined our project at Whyville Education in Guangzhou in the summer of 2017. Please read on to see view his feedback:
Could you please tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
The lessons, while nerve-wracking at the start, proved to be very enjoyable and the days went so quickly. I really enjoyed getting to know my co-workers, both Chinese and expatriates, and I have great memories of downtime spent with them. It was a great working environment. Going around the city with the other applicants was also really fun.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
Getting used to interacting with the kids was a revelation – they quickly transformed from a source of some trepidation to one of satisfaction and enjoyment. I got to know some kids quite well and always looked forward to seeing them again. The extracurricular side of things was also fun, especially in the company of someone our age to show us around.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I definitely grew in confidence throughout the trip. Partly this was due to realising that I had more of a talent for teaching than I’d given myself credit for, and it was also due to my growing familiarity with what had seemed slightly alien surroundings at the start. The trip was a big boost to my sense of capability and independence after months of reaching for those test scores!
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
My favourite aspect was the people I met. My co-workers were fantastically friendly, and so welcoming. I formed some fairly close relationships given the short time I was there, with my boss even volunteering to spend the last day I had in the city with me once the others had left. I already miss them.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would absolutely recommend this to a friend, only with the caveat that they should be open to some flexibility in the application and allocation phase. This proved a great benefit to me, as Guangzhou turned from a city I knew nothing about into a place with great memories for me.