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Volunteers' Stories




Teaching at the Kindergarden and a Middle School in Yangzhou, China


Everything is fantastic! Love it here! Absolutely and utterly boiling though, and the locals are wrapped up in three or four jumpers and more than one pair of trousers, they are all convinced I must be boiling as I swelter in a tee-shirt!

Completely crazy country, the driving is insane, and pedestrians more so. You can buy anything you like in the supermarkets, including live eel, turtles, and terrapins. There is every neon drink and food product under the sun and massive chicken and pig feet. Having said that the food here is absolutely delicious, especially bao (steamed rice flour ball filled with a variety of meats and veg) and the egg fried rice which is the region's specialty (having the added advantage of adding a touch of home - be it Chinese takeaways!)

Just come in from teaching the smallest class and I'm boiling after having them jumping, hopping and running on the spot. They copy absolutely everything you say and do, so I too have been jumping, hopping and running. I got the oldest class doing hopscotch outside earlier! They loved it, I am now shattered! They are such fantastic kids. All of them are so cute and so eager to learn. They are so enthusiastic and try out their English on you at any chance.

In fact all the locals try out any English they know on you. We were asked if we liked potatoes by a young boy thrust towards us by his mum! We have also gate-crashed so many photo albums as people want photos with you everywhere you go, and then they want a photo of you with every uncle, aunt and great aunt they have with them! It's nice though, because everyone is lovely and welcoming. They excuse you your terrible Chinese and just burst into fits of giggles when it inevitably turns to really bad gesturing and sign language!

Lucy and Tim are brilliant, really supportive and always thinking of cool things for us to do. This weekend we are planning to go strawberry picking and clubbing on Saturday and then to the KTV (karaoke) on Sunday (My birthday).

Thank you for all your support. It still feels a little surreal to be here. It’s just such a crazy place but incredibly relaxing at the same time. It feels incredibly safe and not at all scary. But then again I have had Brit with me who has been here for nearly 3 months now, so she knows the ropes. This has made a big difference, I wouldn't envy anyone coming here if they didn’t know a little bit of Chinese and there wasn't another volunteer who did.

I was told no-one speaks English and this is not an exaggeration, beyond hello no one speaks any at all bar Lucy and Tim. My Chinese is terrible, but it is coming along. I brought a tape which I listen to and practice.

It's so awesome here, Stephanie! Thank you to Travellers for giving me this opportunity :)

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