It has already been three weeks into my trip of soul-searching, discovering of newfound passions while meeting people from around the world.
For friends who are not exactly aware of my whereabouts, I’m currently abroad and travelling around China (been to Shanghai and Hangzhou thus far) on a programme called Dare to Dream 5.0, organised by AIESEC in University of Nottingham, Ningbo China (UNNC). Along with more than 50 other young adults from around the world, we’ve been teaching in three different Chinese high schools for the past two weeks.
The school that I’ve been allocated to is named Fuyang High School. Located in Fuyang province of Hangzhou, it stands third in the list of best schools in the city. We were assigned to teach the kids (aged 15-16) who were enrolled in a summer camp English language (on a side note I simultaneously gave myself an ambitious mission to increase their knowledge of international affairs *smirk*).
The class that I was assigned to teach consisted of affable and fascinating students. What more can I say though – they’re simply a great bunch of kids who are truly keen to learn about different cultures and world issues. Although some of the boys were rather mischievous and boisterous in class, as compared to teens back in Singapore whom I taught during my relief teaching attachment last year (so hellish), at least these boys gave me their ears when I required them to. They knew basic respect.
For those who really wanted to take away something valuable from the summer camp, it was pretty evident from how they sit up in class, from how their eyes never left me whenever I talked about something serious. I loved how they cooperated and sang along to The Carpenters when I told them I wanted to film them for my mother because Top of the World is her favourite song. I loved how their eyes lit up when I talked about poverty in Zambia and shared with them the story of Malala Yousafzai. I wish that I’ve got more time to spend with them because these two weeks were really short-lived (guess that’s where the cons of volunteerism come into the picture). Nonetheless I hope that all the ten lessons that I gave inspired at least some of them to want to do big things in the future.
Last Day Here
I woke up at 6am this very morning to have an early breakfast before going to bid farewell to these kids. When I went into the classroom, Vic (one of the class jokers who always demanded me to speak Mandarin during lessons) told me to give them one last English lesson before I left (felt like I was Randy Pausch). Final words to them – to stay strong and happy even when they feel like they’re stuck in a rat race, and that they could be whatever they want to be if they never stop doing things they love. And when I shamelessly asked them if they are going to miss me, it was a uniform “YES”. Damn, that shit made me tear up though. I have never expected that in such a short span of two weeks and ten lessons, I would grow to be so attached to these kids.
Thank you, Class 12! You’ve been wonderful, and may our paths cross again in some way or another.