Stephen Banks joined our projects in Global IELTS International English School Yangzhou
Please you us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
Some of the most enjoyable moments of the trip were when we were fighting the administration to get a livable stipend, and when we were arguing with the administration when it tried to restrict where we went and who we associated with even when are workshifts were over. I also loved how the police came to our campus and kicked us off the premises, and when we were moved to a different campus we were told it was for our own safety, and not because there was something fishy about our employment there.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
One outdoor activity that was a particular highlight for me was when we tried to organize a going away party with the students at a local mall. It was quickly shut down by the administration, and they told us to go back to our hotel rooms because the police were on their way. They would not provide any reasons why, or help us reorganize. So a few hours later, we got the group of students together and had the party anyway. Another highlight was when we finally managed to get a supplement to our stipend so that it was slightly more livable, but having it held hostage by the administration on the condition that we go two weeks without breaking any rules. Which would be fine if the rules were anything reasonable. The biggest one was sitting down. If you sat down at any point during a lesson, there goes your livable stipend. Guess it's street food for you, chump.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
It's been good, I had fun. I made some friends. Learned a lot about myself and gained a lot of confidence.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
The moments when I was able to take a long trip despite the hurdles Global IELTS and Gotoco put in front of me, like only having 2 consecutive days off a week for travel despite being promised more, and only having about half of our meals covered despite being promised more. I took a trip to the yellow mountains alone. I had two days to do it. The second I got off work, I took a sleeper train to the mountains that lasted 8 hours. Arrived at around 6 AM. Hiked for 12 hours to get to my hotel. The hotel I stayed in didn't have any window panes because I was trying to save money so I could feed myself. Two of the room's occupants had to sleep out in the hall to avoid the bugs. The next morning, it was another 8 hour train ride back. I arrived at 7 AM, and had to be ready for work in 2 hours.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
It would be a dilemma. I think Yangzhou is just a below average program from what I've heard of other applicants who went to places like Shanghai and Beijing. I loved the trial-by-fire, barebones nature of it, but that's just the kind of person I am. I think it's fucked up that the shittier aspects of this particular program were hidden from us even though I happened to enjoy them. I'm more speaking for the people who really depend on getting accurate information from the get-go. Imagine if someone going on this trip had very little extra money to spend on things like food. Then your claim that our meals would be covered by the school would be extremely misleading, and that person would be cornered into a program where they can't get decent nutrition for the next month. I know I keep harping on this one thing but it's really important and I hope you guys get that you can do some serious damage if you aren't up front with people about the reality of the program they're going on. I get you have to gussy it up, especially a program like Yangzhou, but this is essential information that really shouldn't be tampered with.