Diverse Youth Volunteer Group Return Enlightened from International Cultural Exposure
Group of Volunteers Gain Work Experience and Improve Their Mandarin Skills in China through CrossContinental.org.
<iframe width=”411″ height=”232″ src=”https://youtube.com/embed/wnzDYCyp5rQ” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Those who are willing to step outside their comfort zone, not only expand their work experience and language skills, but also greatly enhance their global awareness and cultural intelligence. The benefits that youth receive from volunteering abroad are endless. A small but diverse group of international volunteers, hailing from all over the world, travelled together to China on a two week volunteer abroad program over the summer. In the attached video (http://youtu.be/wnzDYCyp5rQ), the volunteers share their lively experience in China.
Samantha Francis of Britain, along with Hyein Jung and NaYon Park of Korea, spent a wonderful fortnight interacting with and schooling young kindergarten children in the mountain city of Chengde, Hebei Province. Only a two hour drive from the bustling metropolis of Beijing, Chengde is a city well-known for its incredible scenery and heritage sites, and also has a wealth of history and culture that the volunteers took complete advantage of.
International volunteer travelers allow their minds to open, as they reflect on the varied and wonderful cultural differences to be found around the world. Samantha, Hyein, and NaYon learnt firsthand about the community, its traditions, the people, and their way of life while living with a host family in Chengde. Nayon says, “Everybody has been super kind to us.”
Talking about the benefits of home-stay accommodations, group leader Samantha says “Staying with host families allows you to see the culture from the locals’ perspective, rather than as a tourist.” She continued, “Our host family also went above and beyond, taking us on a weekend trip to the Grasslands and to see the Great Wall, as well as introducing us to loads of delicious local dishes at restaurants and at home.”
The main purpose of a teaching program abroad was to exchange ideas and knowledge with the little children. Recognizing the importance of this interaction, and feeling accomplished by its success, Samantha had this to say: “The most rewarding experience would have to have been at the end of the week of teaching when the kids showed me that they remembered the lessons I had taught them throughout the week. They made me feel that I had succeeded in teaching them more English, if only a small amount.” She added, “Their enthusiasm and enjoyment of the game was extremely rewarding for me to see.”
Hyein mirrors this sentiment by stating, “My experience teaching the children at the kindergarten has been one of the best experiences in my life. They are the most adorable kids I’ve ever met. I’m going to miss them so much.”
The Supportive Team at CrossContinental.org
The group used CrossContinental.org as a platform for their international travels, and appears to be extremely satisfied with their choice. Raving about their volunteer abroad experience, in a glowing feedback about their first day, they wrote: “Everyone has gone out of their way to make us feel welcome and help us with anything we need.” They continue, “We’ve been having a wonderful time and are really happy that we came through Cross Continental!”
Endless Learning Opportunities Abroad
The three volunteers had a spectacular time in China, where they not only got to interact and share knowledge with the local children, they also learned so much more from all their experiences. Navigating through the local bus system, getting lost while exploring the surrounding area, and visiting the Chengde Mountain Imperial Gardens and Palace, all with the help of their local coordinators. They also took trips out to see the Great Wall, shop in the bustling markets of Beijing, and even visit the Mongolian border on a weekend trip to the Grasslands.
Enhance Foreign Language Skills
They also improved their Chinese language skills by practicing with the supportive CrossContinental team. They report, “We’re also enjoying the opportunity to practice our Chinese, the host family and Lily (the local coordinator) especially are really helping us improve our listening and speaking skills.”
Comments upon Returning Home
Upon returning home, Samantha reports, “Both the local coordinator and our host family went above and beyond in terms of taking care of us and showing us Chengde’s best places and foods.” She continues, “We were welcomed with performances and said goodbye to in the same way along with gifts and a book with pictures of our time there. I could not have asked for a better local coordinator, host family or place to teach.”
By planning thoroughly detailed trips, working in tandem with local organizers, the CrossContinental team allows for flexibility and creative input to create a fulfilling and comprehensive international experience. Samantha praises the organization for their efforts. She says, “I would definitely recommend CrossContinental to others. I am very pleased that we went with CrossContinental and feel that they helped us get the most out of our volunteer experience.”
Access free resources or plan a trip at www.CrossContinental.org.
Cross-Continental Solutions provides affordable yet flexible international learning programs, including volunteer abroad, intern abroad, cultural immersion, language study, and gap year programs. International internships can even be taken for school credit. 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.