蜕变

2018平江支教父母感言

------ Zhouding Liu 父母

时间如白马过隙,儿子背着行囊登上火车的背影仿佛还在昨天,今天就要挥手告别了。感恩冥冥中上天的安排,让儿子能遇到平江、遇到一大群优秀的老师和同学,也许彼此曾在纽约时代广场擦肩而过,但大家不远万里来到一个名不见经传的湖南小镇、用自己的力量去改变世界,既是一种相逢的缘分,又是一种共同的信念。也许在很多人眼里,支教是一种再普通不过的公益活动,在college application里吸引不了多少招生官的眼球,比起模联、Intel竞赛来”土得掉渣”,但是,我们要为参加活动的每一个孩子点赞,摒弃烦躁的功利心、沉下心来踏踏实实地做事,不正是我们希望他们能一生拥有的珍贵品质吗?

12天时间虽短,如同流星划过夜空,但是因为从内到外无处不在的蜕变,我相信将永远留在孩子和我们心中。中途我们也想来平江看看,儿子告诉我们他正在工作,可能没时间接待我们,第一次听到他说”工作”而不是“学习”,我震撼了:孩子长大了;看到平江简陋的条件后,儿子说他终于理解父母这一代人了,因为我们就是在那个环境里长大的,我感动了:孩子成熟了;昨天在深圳见到儿子时,他的喉咙嘶哑得说不出话来了,他说每天都在长时间上课,不敢懈怠,我敬佩了:孩子能吃苦;儿子担任小组长,负责英语课教学,看到学生们在课堂上积极发言,看到他和小组成员备课讨论到深夜,听到他在总结会上的发言和表演,我放心了:孩子合群了;儿子告诉我,他跟校长和镇领导讨论了如何从机制、体制上改革,让教育能长期进步,我欣赏了:孩子有勇气、有思想。相比标化分数,优秀的品德、思想和领导力也同样难得,平江之行,弥足精彩、无怨无悔!

这12天里,支教团的同学们不仅把知识留在了平江,更是把没有偏见的爱心、欢乐和希望的种子留在了上塔学校每一个孩子的心里。大家都知道那个故事,一个孩子把沙滩上被海浪冲上来的鱼一条条扔回海里,有人说:扔不完的、没人在意,孩子说:鱼在意。同学们倾心打造的公益之举,一定会影响到平江的教育和那里孩子的未来。《三国志》云:莫以善小而不为,莫以恶小而为之。同学们的行动,值得我们家长学习和敬佩,善莫大焉!

衷心感谢组织活动的全体老师,这12天的工作以及前期的筹备,非常繁琐、辛苦,尤其是责任重如泰山,食宿、交通、活动、联络、报导…,每一个都是一个艰难的课题,同学们的健康、状态、工作以及随时遇到的困难,都让您们呕心沥血、夙夜匪懈。虽然您们把镜头都给了同学们、我们很少看到您们的身影,但我们知道,您们为这次活动付出了太多太多的心血,同学们不仅出色地完成了公益任务,同时还体验到了中国悠久的风土人情和历史文化,活动的圆满成功,是我们父母对您们最崇高的敬意和感谢。

十年修得同船渡,不仅是同学还是家长,在分别时都依依不舍。洋装虽然穿在身,我心依然是中国心,希望大家不管身在何处,都能多畅游祖国的大好河山、多汲取中华的优秀文化、为中美之间的桥梁添砖加瓦。祝每个同学实现自己的梦想、成为未来优秀人才,祝每一个家庭幸福美满、吉祥如意!我们有缘再见!

Teaching in Chinaway Program

A Lifetime Experience

-- Elaine Wang

I told my friends and parents, “It was an experience of a lifetime.” I now have become a better version of myself, who can give a full classroom of audience a class with confidence and ease.

Chinaway is a volunteer program founded in 2008. Each year, a group of high-school students come from the U.S. to teach Chinese students English and improve their cultural knowledge. At first I thought it would be a fun and different experience but by result I get so much more than I expect.

The volunteer job is teaching the same group of students all day long for two weeks. We group in three to teach one class, the students are sixth to eighth graders. When I got out of my first class, I was overwhelmed by the worry that my students would not be able to understand me, frustration when no one wanted to answer the questions, and a self-examination of how I would have done differently to make the class more fun. Afterwards, my group reached an agreement that we could make our classes work, so we discussed over that evening about what and how we should teach our students, and most importantly, to get to know them. On the following day, we decided to give our best smiles and energy by the time we stepped in the classroom, like a teacher. It was at that moment I considered myself a model for the kids even though I was actually just one or two years older than them. When we found out that our students were as excited as us about getting to know each other, I was gratified that we had broken the ice and thus opened up their minds.

During the teaching I really learnt how important for a team work. The rule of thumb was that communication was crucial in order for a group to cooperate better. To give an example, Samantha, Daniel and I had an discussion and played different roles in the teaching process. I was the lecturer for half of the time and assisted my group mates to explain main contents and difficult concepts because I am fluent in Chinese while Samantha was excellent at teaching, she would teach for another class period; Daniel was relatively shy, he was good at communicating with our students and could host in-class activities and games. Every volunteer had different problems with his own group, but through communication, we all managed to solve the problems within group or with the help of others.

The second I learn that being a friend of students sometimes could teach them a more valuable lesson. Scott is my class student, he was grouped with four girls, he was too shy to join the group to practice conversations. While being the only guy partially explained why he was left out, I knew by instinct that he could do this, so I walked to Scott and asked him if he wanted to practice with me. The first time when we had a group activity his eyes, all of a sudden, glittered with some relief and resolutions. Scott never hesitated to talk to the girls in his group ever since and fit in well, and he had answered more and more questions in class. It was amazing to see him grow, glow even, as he became one of the lead vocalists in our final performance. I was glad that we were able to cross the boundary of teachers and students and tosee each other as peers, and we can bring out the best of our students from there.

Besides learning to be teacher, a better leader and cooperating with different people, I also realized something more profound through this program that this should not be the end of the journey. Visiting Scott home, we learnt that his family could not even afford internet for him to search unfamiliar knowledge and concepts, despite his great desire for intellectual. In his house that huddled deep in the village, I noticed that his room was hallway-wide and too small for anything besides a bed and a window in the wall. Considering this, it was not our place to interfere, to ask his parents if they could buy him some assistance books. I felt powerless because the most I could do for Scott at the time was to tell him to find us if he had any question. I was so sad that these kids’ only window to the outside world would be taken away after these two weeks, and this reminded me of the privileges I had always had in my life. Only if we better ourselves could we resolve the inequality in social status, not only in Pingjiang but throughout the world.

We, as volunteers, have all grown as a person and a teacher through these two weeks, and we joked about how our students had taught us more valuable lessons than we did for them. I made some life-long friends and had this inspiring experience that taught me an empathetic and active mindset. I hope Chinaway program will get even better and influence more underprivileged kids in China and teenage volunteers!

Fuel For The Mind

Fuel For The Mind

--- Katie Tan

Forty hours ago, I parted ways with people I have become lifetime friends with. Forty hours ago, I began the long journey from Chengdu to the US, spending fifteen plus hours in my cramped airplane seat trying various positions to sleep. In these forty hours, the past two weeks have already started to crystallize into memories. My physical self is at home, but my conscience has not yet uprooted itself from China. Now, I am jetlagged and nostalgic, and sitting at home typing on my computer that I have not seen or used for two weeks does not feel quite right.

I realized that before this two week volunteer trip to teach Chinese students English, I was locked in a suburban bubble. I was aware only of my needs and my immediate surroundings that consisted of my family, friends, and school. Yes, I have read about and watched documentaries about places outside of the US, and I am aware of impoverished places in this world. But words and pictures are worth little compared to actually visiting under developed places and interacting with the people there. Sure, I had visited places outside of America before, and I had been to China once before when I was seven. But those visits were for vacation, not community service. This time in China, I was immersed in the language and culture and bonded with people that lived there. Though I was only there for two weeks and I wish I could have been there longer, I’m happy to say that those were the most fruitful and meaningful two weeks of my life.

The main goal of this volunteer program was to teach kids English in Ya’an, China. Ya’an, located in Sichuan province, is a medium sized city (population of 1.1 million) with surrounding villages. On Week 1 we taught at the Fengming village (凤鸣乡) school for first through eighth grade. The kids at the Fengming school were the type of kids who usually do not finish high school, and the girls usually get married at sixteen. We discovered that the only English our class of sixth graders knew was “Hi” and a chunk of the alphabet. However, their determination and their work ethic proved that they had so much potential and deserved so much more. Though shy at first, they immediately warmed up to us and were so earnest and eager to learn. I had never met such motivated kids before. While we were teaching the kids at this school, I could feel this intangible, unbreakable bond forming between us. I never quite felt this type of bond before. I never fathomed I would be using Chinese, my second language, to teach English, communicate with little barriers, and form such a strong bond with these kids.

On Week 2, we taught at a youth center in the city of Ya’an. It is unsettling to me that the Fengming village and the city of Ya’an is separated only by about a ten minute drive on one highway and through one tunnel. Yet the wealth and education gap between the two is so stark. At the youth center, our class of seven and eight year olds had already mastered words like “elephant,” “peacock,” and “supermarket,” while our sixth grade class at Fengming could barely get across words like “snake” and “bird.” A handful of the kids in our youth center class had already vacationed outside of China, while virtually all of the kids at Fengming never ventured out of the Sichuan province before. It made me so angry to think that these seven and eight year olds, with their English tutors and youth center activities, had no awareness of how fortunate they were compared to the kids at Fengming. However, those kids at the youth center are still so young. Blaming them is not right. They certainly have a clearer cut path to higher education and a stable career, but who is to say that the kids at Fengming will not lead successful lives?

Those two weeks in China taught me so much more than a textbook ever would. Of course, it is not possible that any of the students that my fellow volunteers and I taught could master English in a few short days. However, the cultural exchange between us volunteers and the students is what is most important. I now have a better understanding of China, its school systems, and its language and dialects. The Fengming kids now know their alphabet, their numbers, and their colors, while the youth center kids now know days of the week, hobbies, and idioms. All of the kids now know a handful of nursery rhymes and have a better grasp of what it means to live in America. I know without a doubt that the impact of these two weeks is large enough to last me a lifetime.

Education is powerful

My Chinaway Experience

----Victoria Wang

Nelson Mandela once said, “ Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. After my Chinaway experience, I agree wholeheartedly.

I spend two weeks in 2018 summer to teach Chinese students English in PingJiang, Hunan province. This teaching program call Chinaway Volunteer Program.

I had never known that education was so important to Chinese local kids. During the first days of teaching, they bombarded me with pleas, asking for more homework. I was experiencing a culture shock. In the United States, a snow day was praised and no homework was a blessing, but in China, homework was the opposite. Homework was celebrated. It meant that they were one step closer from escaping the poverty they were placed in.

During one lesson, occupations were the topic of discussion. Oblivious to the consequences, I asked the class what their parents did for a living. No one uttered a word. The excitement from students just 10 minutes before the question was spoken, was gone. No one was smiling.

I spoke in English that my father was an engineer. Translating in Chinese, I let them write the words I had just spoken, into their thin notebooks. The prolonged silence continued. You could hear the faster incline of breath as one student finally spoke in perfect English that their father was a farmer. That was when I knew something was wrong. He was ashamed. He was ashamed that his father was working on a farm. This was a job that was seemingly common in town and the children hated it. They associated farming with stupidity. Their parents didn’t have access to the right education and they were ashamed.

It had all made sense. Why would they want homework during the summer? Why would they sacrifice spending time in an unairconditioned school? It was because they were scared that they would be farmers too. There was nothing wrong with being a farmer in my eyes, but to them, that was the last thing they wanted to be. The value of education to Chinese students was as if their entire life depended on it. Meeting the children, hearing their stories, visiting their homes, and speaking to their grandparents was something I will never forget.

I had taken everything for granted was a realization that I had learned over the summer. I wasn’t paying attention to anything that was important. Having fun was a luxury that most people in the world didn’t have. I was taking advantage of my life in all the wrong areas. While I relaxed at home with my MacBook, children across the ocean were studying English that I had grown up learning.

When I got back to the United States after two weeks of volunteering in PingJiang, Hunan, I could feel my work ethic increase. I was no longer slacking off and I wasn’t spending my time on useless things. I was studying. I was improving. I owed all the people I met over the past weeks to succeed. To take their advice and follow my dreams and passions.

Throughout my experience at Chinaway, I have learned so much about Chinese Culture. I have learned so much from the people I met and the stories that they held onto. And although they cannot share those stories, I can. I want to share the stories so that every girl or boy will know how lucky they have it. How amazing their lives are that they have access to education that many students in other countries would love to have.

Before this trip, I can admit tingly say I was a little ignorant. I hated homework and the sleepless nights of studying. But now, I couldn’t appreciate it more. Chinaway has allowed me to view China through the eyes of someone who didn’t have all the opportunities I had and it showed me the value of education and the importance of giving back. It has also made me more confident in my own abilities. Teaching is something that I always found hard to do even though I wanted to pursue it and having the experience in classroom setting really helped me evolve from who I was to who I am now.

Chinaway was a great way to develop social and application skills. Chinaway isn’t just a program that helps others, but it is one that helps you too.

Volunteering


常规问题解答(Q&A)

Q: 什么样的孩子可以参加这个项目?

A:9年级以上的学生(包括大学生,与在6月份完成了9年级学习的学生),身心健康,愿意到中国做义工,提高自己,帮助中国孩子的学生都可以报名,会不会中文没有关系。如果你是8年级的学生,请你电话给我们,我们了解情况后告诉你可否报名。 

Q: What kind of students is the program looking for?

Read more: Chinaway Q&A 


Chinaway Program Multidimensional Think

做义工越多越好吗?

随着美国名校在录取学生时对学生关爱社会或社区服务元素的强调,华人孩子做义工的趋势持续高涨,有些孩子甚至每年做义工达400~500小时。但这有助于名校录取吗?

社区服务即义工的定义是干对他人有益的事而不要求报酬;做对社区有益的事,没有报酬,而且必须是非盈利的领域。

Blog: Multidimensional Think


GLI & Chinaway Scholarship

中国农村贫困学生奖学金


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