Youwei Library internship, Summer 2015, Sanmen, China.

Huazhen Zhao - October 2015

As a student who is interested in engaging in something unfamiliar, last summer, with the help of Helen Huang from the CIIS office, I found an internship at the Youwei Library in Sanmen, which was to present liberal arts education to local junior and high school students. I did not have any teaching experience before; this internship is certainly a challenge for me. However, after one-month effort with my partner, Anna, we gained so much unexpected experience being in this program.

The main goal of this course is to introduce the youth of the library to Liberal Arts Education, enhance learning skills and develop critical thinking. At first, the students were really shy, and we noticed that the level of the syllabus was not in line with that of the students’. Although all kids have really good English, they did not have such experience so they were nervous to speak up in front of the public. After noticed this, Ann and I tried to talk with students and let them realize that there is nothing to worry about; we were not your teachers and we won’t grade your performances. The purpose of this course is to express yourself and only thing you need to do is to relax and speak. After the encouragement, in the second half of the course they started to express themselves and shared their ideas with other enthusiastically. We were impressed by how they interpreted certain ideas and how much they want to share with each other.

Furthermore, the course was not only designed in a way that students exposed to different cultures, languages, ways of thinking; Ann, the instructor of this program, also learnt some Chinese culture: wedding, food, languages and etc. which were presented by the students. In the meanwhile, we also established friendships with students and staff form the library. In addition, I would like to thank the support that offered by stuffs from the library for making our stay in Sanmen nothing but amazing. With their help, the course ran smoothly and we really enjoyed our leisure time in Sanmen.

In all, I not only learnt a lot during my internship in Sanmen and gained valuable knowledge and experience; also I met many new people and establish profound friendship with them.