Lucas Gammie arrived in China in August for our Volunteer Teach in China program where he has been teaching at a middle school in the Hebei Province. His semester contract is coming to a close and Lucas was nice enough to give some insight into his time in China!
On his school:
The teaching program has easily exceeded my expectations. I think I am very fortunate because I am working with students who range from 14-17 years old. This has been beneficial for me because they have a good understanding of English, and are passionate to learn more about both English and my New Zealand culture. As a result this has made me feel very welcome at the school, and encouraged me to find exciting ways to prepare my lessons and teach my students. The school is really good with great facilities for teaching, a spacious apartment, and most importantly really fun, excited students.
On orientation and feeling prepared:
I think the orientation was very satisfactory because it wasn’t too intense, but it provided the teachers with enough information to prepare ourselves for what we were likely to face. Also, the in-country staff helped set us up with necessities such as Chinese bank accounts which have proved useful for me. Furthermore, the orientation provided the teachers with some bonding time which I think has been very important because I still keep in regular contact with the other teachers, and this has proved useful because we are all dealing with similar situations.
I read the information provided on culture schock before my placement so I think I prepared myself for what I might come up against. The main tool I have used to ease my transition is to get involved! I play basketball, soccer and table tennis with the students most nights, and I managed to organize an event on couch surfing with other expats and English speaking locals.
In regards to the other services offered, I have been very pleased with the clear communication from the in-country staff. If I have needed some help, they have been more than willing to help me, and solve any difficulties I have been faced with.
Our next start date to Volunteer Teach in China is February 25th!