Nicholas Atkinson - Teaching, Teaching English & Other Subjects in China
If you’re reading this and are thinking about volunteering in Chengdu, I would definitely recommend it. I volunteered on the Teaching project for four weeks and was placed at WuHou Science Park School. I really enjoyed and cherished my time in such a wonderful city.
It took me a few days to settle in, but I soon realized how proud the locals were of their city. Chengdu was very busy; with a constant sea of people atop a clean and diverse cityscape. This city is full of a variety of restaurants that boasts an array of cuisines. The Schezwan cuisine is something I will always be able to remember with fondness, but I had to could adjust to all the spices. You have to try Chinese hot pot!
My Teaching placement
I taught at WuHou Science Park School and it was only about an hour away from my apartment; which was situated in Tongzlin. My Teaching placement began at the beginning of the school term and all the children were very eager to learn. The other English teachers were extremely welcoming and more than happy to help with anything.
Initially it was rather overwhelming; the size of the school was something I was not prepared for. It had close to one thousand students and the building was of a greater scale than my school back home! All feelings of anxiousness and nervousness quickly went away when I realized how friendly everyone was.
I will admit to feeling rather unprepared, my first few classes did not go as I would have hoped. The other teachers were very helpful. I felt I quickly settled in and really began to relax and have fun. Most notably with my grade one classes. In the end the school left a real impression on me.
Free time in China
My most memorable experience was during my second weekend. Me and two other volunteers, Vaneesha and Lauren, decided to make the most of the mid-autumn festival and climb Mount Emei. One of the greatest experiences I’ve had. If you do decide it’s something you want to do, take sun-cream!
We first took a trip to LeShan on the Saturday; mainly to see the giant Buddha! A 71 metre tall statue carved out of the mountain. It was incredible. We stayed in a hotel at the bottom of the mountain and took a coach early in the morning, to the highest point.
You still need to walk for about two and a half hours, starting from the bottom can take three days! As you near the peak you are eventually met with a huge golden Buddha statue that sits upon a sea of clouds. It felt incredibly tranquil and humbling. A real pleasure and worth every second of the assent.
Back to reality
Returning home, I realised teaching is definitely something I want to pursue. It has given me the confidence and drive to look at teaching as my future career. I learnt so much from this experience and made me very passionate about teaching and education.
I am still in contact with some of the volunteers and teachers and can’t stress how much you can gain from an experience like this. I am so glad I decided to volunteer with Projects Abroad, their endless support and flawless communication made the trip smooth and allowed me and the other volunteers a great sense of confidence in relation to exploring and making the most of our time.
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