Health Studies student Jenny, from the University of Toronto, spent one month in summer 2018 volunteering as an English teacher in Beijing.
How was your experience on the program?
In short, the program was a great way to experience the education system in Asia and become familiar with how learning strategies differ and what accommodations need to be made for students in China.
Students are beyond well-behaved and have great aptitudes for learning at the school. Teachers are treated with respect and fun is always a top priority alongside learning!
A great opportunity for students interest in education, children and/or travelling to hone their skills, meet new people and explore new places in a safe and academic manner!
Would you recommend the program to a friend and why?
Yes! Abridge EduCamp provides good communication with their accompanying school in China and is a great opportunity for students as the focus on teaching and self-exploration is equal in parts.
While teaching and interacting with students is a large portion of this camp experience, there are also many, many opportunities to spend time exploring alone or with new friends in the neighbouring areas of Beijing. Even better, there are opportunities to go on local and tourist outings alongside the school, making the entire experience very affordable!
What did you learn from taking part in the program?
As someone looking to be a future teacher, I was able to try many of my teaching techniques and gauge the responses and effectiveness on children overseas.
I’ve learned that there is a huge market of interest for foreign language learning in China and the opportunities that accompany such language teaching careers. I’ve also learned how the education differs from the North American one in aspects of work load, subject focus and student focused areas.
Learning about the differences between the North American (Canadian) and Chinese education system taught me how both systems can be combined to produce the maximum balance between fun and passion building as well as studious and strict learning.
How will the program help with your future career/ studies?
The program has given me teaching experience and the ability to say that I have coordinated my own lesson plans, instructed a class on my own and made measurable results with my student’s speaking abilities. The program allows you to understand the challenges and rewards of teaching young pupils, especially those who are enthusiastic on learning a new language.
The program is also perfect for those looking to become certified in TEFL and practice their lesson planning skills.
What was your favourite/ most memorable moment?
My most memorable moment of the program was in part with the students and in part with the great group of fellow teachers I met from around the world.
With the students, the amount of rewards are plenty. The last day spent with my first round of students will surely hold a place in my mind as I move on with my career in education. The dedication and respect from students in China is extremely commendable. Even as young children only between the ages of 5-10, they have such spirits to learn and connect with the teacher. During my last class with them, it truly touched my heart that pupils who were not so excited during the first class were now excited to come up to me and tell me about how much they’ve learned and enjoyed – as well as introducing me to their parents and allowing me to keep in touch with them through WeChat. I continue to speak to some very special students to this day.
On the other hand, I am also grateful for fellow teachers that I met and continue to speak to as well. It was always exciting to be able to travel with them on weekends and especially as the camp came to an end, to go on day trips together around the inner city of Beijing.