is a pupil at the High School for Girls in Gloucester and, in August,
she'll leave her Hucclecote home to travel across the world to China.
be taking a gap year from her studies to work with pupils at the
Tianshui Vocational and Technical School, which is in one of the
poorer parts of China. She said:
known for ages that I wanted to take a year out. I did some research
and I found out that Project Trust offer this year out.
was a opportunity to learn the Chinese language and become immersed
in the culture.
think it's a really amazing opportunity to do something really,
really different with my life, and to spend a really rewarding year
Trust in China
will be heading out to China to teach spoken English to secondary
school children as a volunteer for Project Trust.
Trust is a registered charity, whose aim is to provide school-leavers
with an educational experience through living and working with people
in communities very different to those in which they have grown
up. On choosing this particular project, she had this to say:
think it's a really good opportunity to get involved in a local
community and, because I'm going to be teaching people who are between
16 and 19 years of age, hopefully
I'll be able to make some new friends and live as a Chinese person
on the Isle of Coll
become a volunteer, Rebecca had to attend a selection course over
five days at Project Trust's base on the Isle of Coll in Scotland.
It proved to be quite an interesting experience as she revealed:
travelled up there last Summer. All the way, all seven hours or
whatever it was, on the train. It was quite a long journey!
Isle of Coll is in the Inner Hebrides, it's a beautiful place and
it has a population of about 140. All the locals welcomed us - there
were about 50 of us volunteers - and we had a week of digging, vegetable
planting, and just helping out in the community.
also did presentations about life on Coll to show that we can gain
an appreciation for the community, which is something they feel
is important for when we're out in China.
it was all about practising the skills we'll need out there in China."
be returning to Coll in July for additional training in teaching
English as a foreign language, which will be a challenging job considering
she will only have a very basic grasp of Mandarin when she arrives
year in China
will be spending a full twelve months in China, during which time
she hopes to become fully immersed in one of the world's most ancient
be working in Tianshui Vocational and Technical School, which is
in the Gansu province.
can be found in the north west of China near the Mongolian border.
Most of the population there make a living through farming the terraced
hills that cover much of the province.
sandwiched between the Gobi desert and the Tibetan plateau and this
location means the province sees some extreme climate conditions.
Rebecca can expect very hot days in the summer months (over 30°C)
and very cold ones (below -20°C) in winter.
where Rebecca will be working, is the second largest city in Gansu
and lies in the south of the province on the Wei River. The city
also has a great deal of historical significance, it's one of the
ancient centres of Chinese civilisation and has always been considered
an important cultural location.
in China, Rebecca will be teaching English at the Tianshui Vocational
and Technical School.
school's pupils are not as academically able as others and therefore
trains pupils for a variety of vocational jobs such as artists and
electricians. She explained:
know that the children I'll be teaching, their parents are farmers
and it's quite a rural area and the reason that they're going to
school t to learn English is so that they can get better jobs.
with the one child policy - parents are urged to have just one child
instead of a large family - parents invest so much more into that
also a lot of interesting history in the area too and I'm hoping
to learn about that. I'm also planning to go to the night markets
which I think will be a really interesting thing to do."
of the graduates from the school will go into the tourist industry
as guides or hotel workers, so a command of the English language
will be vital for them. Between the history of the area and teaching,
it looks like Rebecca will be quite busy out there.
awfully big adventure
such a big adventure to undertake, it makes you wonder whether Rebecca
ever gets anxious about the prospect of living on her own in China.
think I'd be a fool if I wasn't a little bit scared but I'm more
excited than scared at the moment."
though Rebecca will be out in China on her own, she'll still have
plenty of support to rely on. She said:
is support out there for me. There will be other English teachers
in the school who are Chinese. I'll have a mentor there who will
speak English and they'll be my first port of call if I have any
I will be on my own, I'll be teaching but it's going to be quite
an independent thing. However, there will be a support network out
there for me.
Trust will obviously take care of you and I'll be in contact with
them throughout the year."
in all, it's going to be an extremely exciting adventure for the
18 year old and she's really looking forward to the challenge, not
least having to learn a new language in Mandarin. She said:
wouldn't like to say the words just yet but I know hello and thank
you. I think the fact that it will be so completely different will
force me to adapt more and become involved in everything.
I've got this job in teaching English, it will keep me going and
give me some structure and routine to my week so I won't be completely
will have to prepare for lessons and be there on time and really
make an effort."
will be returning to her studies, having applied for deferred entry
into medicine. But first she's got an amazing year of discovery
in China ahead of her.
to our interview with Rebecca
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