Veleka Георгиева joined our project at English House in Xi’an in summer 2017. Please read on to view her feedback:
Could you please tell us about some of your most enjoyable moments of the trip?
Exploring Xi’an on our own was definitely an amazing experience, as this is a city like no other I had seen before. Getting to see the Terra Cotta Army was so impressive and definitely a dream come-true. After leaving Xi’an, the time Gotoco provided us with accommodation in Yangshuo was truly invaluable. Yangshuo is an incredible place, most certainly one of the most beautiful places I have visited in my life, and although a few of us had planned a trip through China following our time teaching we would have not gone to Yangshuo, had it not been for Gotoco because we would have simply not known about it but it would have been a massive loss to have missed such a gorgeous place.
Which were the highlights of the lessons, cultural excursions and outdoor activities?
I was placed to teach the most adorable group of 5-7-year-olds in a private language school. They were so smart, so energetic, so enthusiastic to learn and actively participate in the lessons I was truly inspired by them and it was a pleasure teaching them. The kids were absolutely lovely and they would come up to me before class just for a little chat or to show me their sticker collection and it was little things like that that made me really appreciate them and to now miss them very much.
The trip to the mountain near Xi’an was also very enjoyable – the staff at English House had been very flexible in organizing the trip so as to fit our needs timewise and they had prepared everything for us to have a truly enjoyable day. Nature in China is just stunning and that was the first time during our trip that we got experience it and it was a truly great time.
How would you say the overall experience has benefited you?
I think my time in China has benefitted me in so many ways. Firstly, of course, the teaching skills which I have now acquired will be very useful to me in future and give me a basis for a potential career in that field. Secondly, I have realized how much I like Mandarin as a language and have discovered that I would actually be very interested in learning it better in future. Thirdly, through our hardships there I think I became more resilient and stronger and more fearless which are all important qualities to have. I have also met the most wonderful group of strong, intelligent and lovely young women who were volunteering there with me and with whom I believe I will remain friends for many years to come. Lastly, although I had lived in Asia before, through this trip I have been introduced to a new to me and absolutely unique culture and history which I find fascinating.
What was the best thing about your experience in China?
It is extremely difficult to think of one single thing that was “the best” thing about my experience in China. Given everything I have listed in the previous boxes perhaps the most important thing which I have taken away from the trip has been just the ability to explore such a unique country for myself. China is such a significant country globally that it is often portrayed in quite a biased way by some medias and as a student of Philosophy and Politics it was so interesting to me to be able to explore this cultural, political and economic giant for myself. Meeting locals, visiting museums, seeing the gorgeous nature and all the cultural monuments have helped me become less prejudiced about this wonderful country and have made me want to learn more about it.
Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?
I would recommend the programme to friends because it is a great opportunity to travel, learn new things and meet new people. I enjoyed many aspects of the programme and would do it again given the chance.