This summer I will be going to Yanji (China) with a team from my church to teach English as openly Christian volunteers at a University there. We will be involved in the last leg of the TOEFL-preparation camp which will be attended by the children of fieldworkers, as well as Chinese and Korean-Chinese university students working towards studying abroad.
During my exchange semester last spring, I was blessed with the company of many fellow visiting students from Beijing who kindly included me in their various gatherings like birthdays and potlucks. I even got to experience the most ‘Chinese’ Chinese New Year of my life right in the heart of New York City – feasting on handmade dumplings and probably 20 other dorm-cooked Chinese dishes, and watching the live telecast of CCTV’s Lunar New Year countdown together with my friends from China. That said, I am really excited for this trip that allows me to visit China in the capacity of a teacher and be of some help to the Chinese and Korean students there. At least the fact that I am not entirely fluent in Mandarin or Korean (massive understatement here) should make me pretty useful as a practice partner for a second language (English). While I am there, I’m also hopeful my modest grasp of Chinese will help me serve as a good listener and meet the felt needs of these campers who are basically my peers.
Almost off the border from the North, Yanji is a city that I first encountered during an internship that counts promoting international cooperation on sustainability issues in the region as one of its projects. What I learnt about the city is that it has played host to conferences on the field of forestation, engaging experts from China and the two Koreas amongst other nations. Yanji is a city where great things are happening and I’m glad to be able to contribute to that community even in this small way.
Right now the team and I are raising funds for the trip which would cover various expenses including airfare. It is quite a sum to raise but we will appreciate any kind of support – including prayers too! If you’d like to know more about what we’re doing, feel free to ask. I’ll be glad to share (: