Family Volunteer Vacations Let Relatives Share Incredible Moments Together
A Mother and Her Teenage Daughter Recently Traveled Together for a One-Week Volunteer Vacation in Mainland China.
Sixteen year old Emily Rupper, and her mother Leslie Rupper, recently went on a 1-week volunteer vacation to mainland China. They sought a positive work experience in a different cultural setting and specifically requested an experience with Asian children. Clear about their goals, the pair went for a 1-week family volunteer vacation in China teaching children.
This type of family volunteer vacation not only allows relatives the chance to bond and grow their relationship, while at the same time making a difference in the lives of the local people. In the attached video (https://youtu.be/dNDhwoookSE), the mother/daughter duo talk about their volunteer abroad experience and showcase part of their teaching project abroad.
The pair was placed in the charming town of Chengde, known for its beautiful sites and rich culture, and located a couple of hours’ drive from Beijing. The People in Chengde speak the official Mandarin dialect (without accent), which makes it a great place to practice the language.
- Overview of Local Schools
Since their volunteer abroad program was for only one week, Emily and Leslie were given an overview of the local Chengde schools, including preschool, primary school, and secondary school where they taught lessons in English. This 1-week program was well organized and served as a great introduction to the Chinese education system. By the end of their program, Emily said, “What a week! We’ve been able to work at both primary school and secondary school, and really interact with the students.”
-The Host Family and an Authentic Cultural Experience
When the pair applied, they requested a host family with western style toilet. That was not a problem to arrange at all since western style toilet is common in urban China.
The host family really helped them with an authentic cultural immersion experience in China. They especially loved it when the students came to their home to play games such as “Hangman and UNO” in English while making dumplings together. Leslie and Emily’s hosts would also take them out for dinner and bring a couple of students along so they could practice their English.
They reported, “We were very happy with our accommodations and host family. They were very attentive to our needs by meeting us at the train station on arrival and making sure we had delicious meals.”
Emily strongly encourages people from western cultures (such as America, U.K., and Australia) to have this experience, “I strongly encourage you to do it because you change your perspective and your outlook on the lives of others. By watching documentaries, you are not able to really experience and understand how these people live. But by moving yourself and putting yourself into these situations, you are really able to see how their lives are and you are able to invest yourself into their lives, get to know them and the true person behind what you see on their face.”
Emily continues, “Teaching kids was the priority, but the real highlight for me, you know , was 4 hours of Karaoke. It was great. We had a great time and we created a lot of special memories there.”
They sang songs in Chinese and English. Leslie added, “We got to learn how music is really a part of their culture just like how music is part of ours.”
- Improving Mandarin
Emily’s trip to mainland China really boosted her Mandarin speaking abilities. Not only did she help the local children learn English, but being around them also helped her Mandarin immensely. “I’ve been learning Mandarin for about three and a half years and coming to Chengde has been a way to really exponentially grow my confidence in Mandarin. I really know now that I can talk to these people and have conversations with them.”
- Overall Experience with CrossContinental
Leslie and Emily found CrossContinental on the internet. They said, “We did a lot of research about volunteering overseas. We looked at them [CrossContinental] and we liked the flexibility.” They added, “They were very easy to work with.”
“We were very pleased with Cross Continental”, says Leslie “They gave a lot of support prior to our arrival and answered many questions. We especially appreciated their flexibility with our schedule. Volunteering is all about being positive and helping others. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the children and older students. We were fortunate to travel as a mother/daughter team so we could experience this together.”
Access valuable resources or plan a life-changing trip at https://www.CrossContinental.org. See more programs and information in the attached video (https://youtu.be/4YgkrLF3FZE).
Cross-Continental Solutions provides affordable yet flexible international learning programs, including volunteer abroad, intern abroad, cultural immersion, language study, and gap year programs. A large variety of work placement options are available such as: Teaching, Healthcare, Community Development, Business Coaching, HIV work, Care-giving, Orphanage Work, Journalism, Photography, Wildlife, Agriculture, Environmental Protection, Microfinance, Tourism, Marketing, and more. Programs are available at many locations around the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By living and working side by side with locals, participants gain an exceptional cross-cultural experience and the opportunity to truly make a difference. For more details, visit CrossContinental.org.