In summer 2018, Violette de Poix joined one of our projects in Henan at Shangqiu Qi Yuan Educational Organisation.
Read on below to learn more about her experience with Gotoco!
I’m Violette, a French student from UCL, London. I spent a month in Henan last summer with Gotoco teaching English at Shangqiu Qi Yuan Educational Organisation.
I discovered Gotoco at the fresher’s fair of my university, and checked their website every day to see when the applications would open. I logged in without knowing what was going to happen there and realised, when flying to China, that I still had no clue of what kind of experience I was going to live.
The fear I felt in the plane was nothing compared to the love and energy I received once I arrive in China, and even more when I arrived in Shangqiu. From the first night there, the other foreign teachers and I had the perfect Chinese experience with the school director’s family and some teachers that invited us to a traditional local restaurant. We could not have been welcomed there faster; the few sentences said in English during the evening gave me and the three other international teachers a big impression of belonging to a new family.
During a classic week, we would teach 5½ days a week, with each of us teaching a specific age range. I taught children that were between 6 and 11 years old. Half of the time, other Gotoco participants and I were teaching assistants, so we would give a lesson to aleatory classes. The rest of the time we had to teach ‘our’ class. This included planning the lesson, giving and correcting homework and, most importantly, giving the class! Giving class on almost a daily basis, I could really see the improvement made by every child and created some real links with them. The first class I taught was full of stress and excitement, while the last one a mixture of joy and sad feelings as I knew I would not give them a class soon.
On the weekends the director’s family would take us on trip around Shangqiu to discover the local culture. We had the chance to sightsee many locations. Most importantly we went to Mulan’s temple! There, we sadly discovered that her dragon is a fantasy, otherwise her story is real and local. The rest of the weeks, the director’s family organised some Kungfu classes for us so we would really understand and appreciate the Chinese culture. The rest of the time, when not resting, we would go and discover the local places, from restaurants and parks to the local nightlife: karaoke nights are insane, and clubs are really fun!
This trip felt like a pause in time; going back to France after it was the hardest part. I would recommend it to anyone interested, and already did every time someone asks about volunteering in summer!
I truly hope this will make you want to travel with Gotoco, this experience is unique so go for it!!