International Relations with Political Science student Brian is from Hong Kong. He decided to really push himself during his first summer as a student by travelling to Italy and teaching others a language that is not native to him.
‘Following the end of my first year at the university, I decided not to go home for summer; instead, I had decided to make my first year abroad unforgettable. I stayed in Birmingham for a month to work in the City Council and spent a month in Italy to teach English. I was struggling to go so far out of my comfort zone, given that I have just settled in the United Kingdom for not more than a year. Yet, this is by far the most amazing summer I have ever had.’
In order to be qualified as an English teacher, we attended a week long intensive course in Sanremo, Italy where experienced tutors taught us how to teach English in a fun and interactive way in order to challenge the scholastic education system in Italy. Not being a native English speaker certainly gave me a lot of pressure in reiterating what the instructors taught us. We, as tutors, were expected to give more than hundred percent of effort and enthusiasm, hoping that our students will be motivated to learn. As a rather quiet person, throughout the intensive course, I have definitely challenged myself to my very best and become a more verbally and physically dramatic person.
After the intensive course we, as trainee tutors, were allocated into different city camps all over Italy. For my first camp, I was sent to a new city camp in Brescia. No matter how nervous I was, I embarked on the most amazing and adventurous journey of life. Meeting my host family was probably the best experience I could have asked for. Although they spoke little English, their sincerity and hospitality made me felt like I could call it a second home.
Preparation was definitely the cure for my nervousness – I spent my weekend preparing for my first lesson because I believe we can only learn by putting effort in doing. My belief was proven true after my first lesson because I realized that if I hadn’t prepared so much, I would not have come to understand what is needed and what is not needed. Besides, as a teacher, I actually enjoyed the high degree of autonomy which felt different to being a student.
As an ACLE teacher, we were devoted to challenge the education system in Italy and help our Italian students to understand English in a carefree and interactive way. It was my responsibility to give my best so that our students could have the best learning experience and this is the best part of life – giving.
During the city camp, there was a Cultural Day where we introduced our own country’s culture to the students. I was very privileged and proud to teach my students how to use Chopsticks and do basic Kungfu. This was the best part of the learning experience not only because I could make use of my skills, but also when you see so many lovely and passionate students trying to understand different cultures, you know that race and language are not barriers. We can all understand each other if we are open-minded and willing to learn from others.
Seeing is believing, doing is understanding. I have had the most amazing experience in my life and I also hope that I have become part of the most amazing experience in my students’ lives. I realized that education can be presented in a lot of different ways and everybody can be successful if they are given the right education. I would like to dedicate my life to inspire and educate others and most importantly, at the same time be open to be inspired and educated myself.