Beijing airport, campus tours and Peking duck dinners! My first week on Teach and Travel China

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BUNAC’s latest Teach and Travel China members left the UK on 30th July for a fun-filled six-month adventure. Kianie, TTC assistant, tells us about the first week of the programme for the new recruits!

After months of planning and organising, the day had finally arrived; interns arrived from all around the globe to begin their month of training, bonding and cultural acclimatising here in Beijing. Interns arriving from the UK, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Slovakia, America and Australia, were all picked up by the TTC girls in their blue TTC t-shirts from Beijing Airport. Many of the interns had been travelling for over 24 hours and were understandably eager to get to their 'home' for their next month. Groups of interns were collected and taken to the University (UIBE). They were all briefed on what to do on arrival so that their check-in would be as quick and pain-free as possible.

The team back at the University had set up three desks which interns were to visit in turn once they had arrived. Interns checked the notice board for their room number before stepping up to the first desk to hand over their passports for visa checks; following this they checked over their details on a form waiting for them a desk 2. Next up was desk 3 where interns were given a welcome pack with water, a notepad and pen, an English/Chinese phrasebook, a TTC t-shirt, a Beijing map and an arrival package prepared by TTC which included an itinerary for the first few days, some advice on calling home and some emergency contact details for the TTC staff. 
Once interns were checked in, armed with their room keys and their welcome packs, they were helped to their rooms; with some of our stronger TTC staff carrying their luggage! Once all of their luggage had been taken to the their rooms and it was ensured the air-conditioning was on in every room (a must on arrival day- it was nearly 40 degrees!), interns were left to shower and relax ready for their orientation talks the following day.



The next day was orientation day and the interns all met up outside the Kaktos Coffee shop where they were greeted by some of the TTC team who took them on a tour of the UIBE campus. They were shown where to retrieve money, the teaching building, the lecture building, the internet building and which gates to leave by to gain access to important places like the bank, the closest subway, restaurants, coffee shops and 7/11. Meanwhile, the rest of the TTC team were busy setting up the lecture space ready for the interns’ Orientation presentation, which would provide them with important information about China, Chinese customs, staying safe in Beijing and about the TTC program itself.  

Once the campus tour was over, interns were lead to the cool basement lecture room; a welcome change from the heat outside! On their seats interns found their own copy of the TTC program handbook, filled with tips and advice about both living in China and working as a teacher intern. Our Project Manager, Solaro Chan, welcomed all of the interns to China before introducing the TTC team to them; all 18 of us! The Orientation was very informative and interns asked questions throughout. It was a very productive morning!

After a tour of the campus and 2 hours of receiving a lot of information, interns were definitely ready for lunch! Each intern received a credited meal card when they checked in here at UIBE which they are able to use every day to receive meals from the University canteen. Some of our team took them over to the food hall to make sure everyone was well fed while the rest of staff headed over to the gymnasium to set up for the interns’ afternoon activities.

After Lunch Amy from the English Language Company (our trainers for the month) gave a short presentation to the interns about what they would be learning over the coming month before splitting the interns into two groups ready to do some ice-breaker exercises. The interns played the ‘Huggy Bear’ game whereby the trainers would shout numbers and the interns had to get in huggy groups with this number of people in them, any one left out was out the game! There was a lot of hugging going on and everyone seemed to be having a great time! After this the interns did some ‘getting-to-know’ you exercises which all went really well. There was a lot of smiling and laughter going on the gymnasium; good news for our media manager, Kirsty, who captured many great photographs!

Once the exercises came to an end, interns we invited to be seated again and received one last reminder about the start times for the teaching the following day. Everybody seemed very keen to get started with classes!

Last on the agenda for the day were the visa photos. Every intern had received a TTC t shirt and name tag when checking in to the university and was told to wear both for their Orientation day. The visa team set up their equipment and snapped photos of everyone in their lovely TTC attire! After this the interns were free to go and do as they pleased for the rest of the day, though they were of course advised to get some rest ready for their lessons starting the next day!

On Monday evening the time had come for the first big event for this summer semester participants, the welcome dinner. Everyone gathered on the 3rd floor of a nearby local Restaurant. The Teach and Travel participants were joined by various Guests of Honor, such as the Directors of IES Global, the general managers and of course every member of staff. TTC was also glad to have opportunity to share this evening with teachers from the Little London English School, who came all the way from Inner Mongolia, to welcome the teacher interns to China. 
The dinner was officially opened with a warm welcoming speech by Solaro Chan, TTC Operation Manager. The TTC summer participants 2010 were formally welcomed to China and even more so welcomed into being part of the TTC family. After wishing the participants the best of times during the training and later their teaching experience the dinner was opened.

The waiters started swirling around the 8 big round tables bringing out one delicious smelling and mouth watering dish after the other. Quickly the dining hall was filled with cheerful chatter and laughter as everyone enjoyed each others company. While some people could be observed professionalizing their chopstick skills others seemed to take a great pleasure or more so “spin” out of the Chinese style dining table. The participants not only got to know each other better but also had the opportunity to meet the entire TTC staff. After trying various traditional Chinese dishes together the “Peking duck” made its grand entrée. 

Once everyone had satisfied their taste buds and got comfortable in their chair, two last semester participants took the stage to share their experiences of the last 6 months. Hoping to give the new interns an insight into what teaching experience lies ahead of them and giving them assurance in their decision to come to China.

They were followed up by the teachers of the Little London English School that had made their way from Huhhot to Beijing to welcome the new TTC participants and introduce their school personally, as well as sharing their experience of working with TTC interns in the past. 
When the official part of the welcome dinner was over the guests, TTC summer 2010 participants and TTC staff used the chance to mingle with each other. The evening carried on with some laid back and good conversations. The TTC staff enjoyed the fun and high spirit of the guest speakers and gladly shared this evening with the pleasant and outstanding group of TTC summer participants 2010.

The TTC staff organized this event to officially welcome the new group of summer participants to the TTC program and China and secondly to give them the prospect of getting to know as much as possible about the program and to be able to know what to expect in the next upcoming months.


Like the sound of this?

The next departure date for Teach and Travel China is January 2011. Book your place now!

Want to tell the world about your BUNAC adventure? Send your stories, photos and videos to experiences@bunac.org.uk

 

Kianie