PEER Education Reform Nonprofit in Changsha, China

DONE BY: Jiyoung Jeong | Milton Academy '16, Stanford U. '21 | Newton, MA, USA

HOW OPPORTUNITY WAS FOUND: Introduced by a Chinese teacher at a middle school in the Boston area

LENGTH: 4 months

LOCATION: Changsha, Hunan Province, China 

FUN: ★★★☆☆

PERSONAL GROWTH: ★★★★★

DAY-TO-DAY LIFE: 

  • 7:00am: Wake up, get breakfast at the dining hall (or after 7:30am: at a nearby dim sum/rice noodle place)
  • 9:00am-12:00pm: Work at the high school's office/plan the next class/teach. Usually taught around 6 periods per week
  • 12:00pm-1:30pm: Lunch break 
  • 1:30pm-2:30pm: Lead afternoon intensive English reading class
  • 3:00pm-5:00pm: Work at the high school's office/teach
  • 6:00pm: Dinner
  • 6:30pm-7:30pm: Lead evening activities/extra English classes

DESCRIPTION OF WORK/ACTIVITIES DONE: 
Teach, design reading curriculums (English and Chinese), substitute for absent teacher when needed, help out with students' club activities

HOW MANY HOURS OF WORK DID YOU DO PER WEEK? 35

IN EXCHANGE OF WORK, PROVIDES: 

  • Accommodation (an apartment reserved for faculty members on campus)
  • 3 meals a day, 5 days/week 
  • Small monthly stipend 

TOP TIPS: 

  1. I wouldn't suggest this experience unless you are a high intermediate/advanced Chinese speaker. Practice your Chinese (especially reading and listening) before going! 
  2. Take full advantage of your time off on weekends, and TRAVEL AROUND CHINA (Don't be afraid to go alone). There is so much to see, and traveling is generally really cheap in China.
  3. Bring an electric blanket (or buy one when you get to China). There is no central heating/cooling system in the majority of the buildings in this city, and there is none at all at the school/apartments. Also, there are no toilets at the school--this may be hard to get to used to at first, but it wasn't a huge problem for me after a bit 

BEST WAY TO CONTACT THIS PLACE, IF INTERESTED: 

www.peerchina.org

MOST MEANINGFUL LESSON TAKEN AWAY: 

Having a judgmental attitude can take away a lot from an experience, so when in a new country, try to approach its culture with childlike curiosity rather than anything else. 
Also, traveling alone is not unpleasant. In fact, the most prominent memories I have of China are moments when I was walking around a new city by myself. 

 

Jiyoung Jeong