Learning Journey in China

An opportunity to teach English to local students in Pingxiang, China
July 11-Aug 18, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 12.42.47 PMMeet this summer’s teachers!


 Emma Porter
Bryn Mawr College 2017

Emma Porter

“My name is Emma, and I am entering my senior year at Bryn Mawr College where I study Political Science with a minor in Education. Upon graduation, I look forward to pursuing a career in which I can use both of these fields towards improving the American education system. I’ve enjoyed working for an after school program in the Philadelphia area where I tutor middle schoolers in mathematics. Learning Journey will allow me to gain more experience in a classroom setting and give me the opportunity to create innovative curricula in an engaging classroom environment. I look forward to returning back to school after LJC and applying what I learned to my studies in Education. At BMC, I also lead a student group for first generation college students called “First Goers”. I am originally from Rockton, IL, where I enjoy spending time with my two dogs, Skipper Jack and Cozy.”

Who We Are:

We bring together motivated volunteers who are native level English speakers and bilingual English/Chinese speakers to provide teaching services and to develop distributable teaching materials in China.

What We Aim For:

Our program aims to provide an opportunity for local students to interact with native level English speakers in order to enhance cultural exchanges, increase the students’ confidence to speak English, and eventually improve their English communication skills. We seek to encourage students and teachers in China to reconsider their approach to learning and teaching English, while simultaneously fostering reflection in the current English education in China among all participants and local teachers.

When and Where:

  • Time: July 11th to Aug 20th, 2017
  • Location: Pingxiang City, Jiangxi Province, China

 What You Will Do:

  • Attend intensive on-site teaching trainings
  • Teach local students of approximately 24 students per class
  • Develop your teaching practice and design your lesson plans
  • Experience Pingxiang culture and taste the local cuisine

What You Will Receive:

  • Travel stipend of up to £ 600 (UK), $1500 (US), and ¥2000 (China, 往返路费按动车二等座标准报销)
  • Food and lodging in Pingxiang, China
  • Accident and emergency insurance
  • New friends, and a spectacular experience of teaching, learning, and traveling in China

Who We Want:

Native level English speakers or bilingual English/Chinese speakers who are current undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in a college, university or school of an equivalent level. And you are more than welcome to apply if you are graduating this summer. We are looking for volunteers who are able to both work as part of a team and adapt to changes.


May 10th

Key Steps:

Step 1: Submit application form (Download Application Form Here)

Step 2: 15 to 30-minute interview (Phone call, online or face-to-face)

Step 3: Decision released after interview

Step 4: Book your plane ticket (you need an itinerary for visa application if applicable)

Step 5: Apply for visa (if applicable), pack your suitcase and you are ready to go!

Key Dates:

 Pre-departure Key Dates
May 10th 11:59pm of your time zone Application Deadline
May 10th – May 15th Interview Period
May 16th Decision Released
May 20th 11:59pm of your time zone Reply date for admitted volunteers
End of May TBD Program Orientation (online or face to face)
May 20th –June 30th Flight arrangement & Visa Application
July 11th 5pm (Beijing Time) Program Assembly


If you’re driven to know more,

see what you can learn by teaching others. 

Because inspiring others is a way to inspire yourself. 

‘Learning Journey in China’


 Application is Now Open 

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Our goal is to bring Chinese students in developing areas a greater opportunity to apply the English language and improve their oral communication, in a way traditional testing and drilling alone cannot. Our program is based on an approach that emphasizes practice, participation, creativity and relationship building, to get students using the language for its primary purpose!

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Teach English to Chinese Students!
  • Six week internship program
  • Intensive on-site training
  • Two 10 day teaching periods
  • Native level English speaking university students and bilingual Chinese university students to form one whole teaching group
  • Classes focus on practice, communication and participation
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 1.42.35 PMPingxiang, Jiangxi Province, China
  • Program held at a local school in Pingxiang
  • Get a chance to experience a different side of China from that of the more widely known cities!

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Program Timeframe

The program is divided into three parts, starting off with training and orientation for program volunteers/interns, followed by two separate teaching periods, lasting ten days each, featuring different groups of students each time. There are two to three days off between different parts of the program to allow our volunteers to relax and explore the city more.

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Training Period
  • Spend time with our founder receiving exclusive seminars on topics relevant to China; better understand the world you’ve entered!
  • Receive training in teaching English as a foreign language.
  • Learn to use exiting lesson plans to lead your own classes.
  • Work together to write lesson plans covering a wide range of topics for students at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
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Class Structure
  • Each class will consist of approximately 15-29 students depending on the level you are teaching.
  • Volunteers will lead classes, teaching three to five different topics throughout a given teaching period, teaching one topic for two or three days at a time.
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Class Topics and Activities
  • Each intern will dedicate two or three days of class to each of their three to five selected topics.
  • Topics include but not limited to humor, music, theme parks, food, nature, etc.
  • Students are encouraged to be creative and expressive, taking on interactive projects and participating in group activities.

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Local students start to study English in primary school. But not many of them can communicate fluently in basic English. Over a half number of them (in Pingxiang) do not have a chance to converse with a native level English speakers.
Improve their English communication skills!
Increase their confidence to converse with others in English!
Allow for a trial run of an alternative English teaching and learning method!

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What will you take away from this once-in-a-lifetime adventure?
  • Lesson planning and teaching skills
  • Presentation, writing, and communication skills
  • Knowledge of China and its culture
  • Make a tangible impact on English education in China
  • Ability to motivate and enthuse other people
  • Ability to think on feet
  • Ability to cooperate with people from different cultures
  • And many other abilities that you may not acquire before!

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Apply Now!

Photos courtesy of summer 2016 program participants! 🙂

The Journey Continues!

In the summer of 2015, we were invited by the Pingxiang City Spirituality and Civilization Office. to conduct our program in Pingxiang, Jiangxi province. Notably different in setting and climate from Hainan, for those of us that had been part of the 2014 venture, this proved to be quite an adjustment! Pingxiang is situated directly east of China’s famous Hunan province in southeastern mainland China. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, Pingxiang is a much larger and more developed city than Wanning, our previous destination. Despite its size, it still measures up as relatively small compared to China’s more developed cities, and many of its people are still quite unaccustomed to foreign faces.

This past summer, we had a much larger group of students to work with for our two ten-day program periods (almost 300 students!). Most students were actually able to spend time with each of the teachers in the classroom setting at least once, since teachers moved around from class to class to teach different topics. Some of the topics focused upon were money, food, comedy and humor, theme parks, and music. Students were not only able to experience a range of different topics that allowed for exploration of different cultures, but also experienced varied teaching styles and accents from our multinational team of teachers.

We ran a speaking assessment with our students for the first time in this program, before and after each session. Using a modified IELTS test, which measures speaking ability on a 9-point scale, we found that most students improved by 0.5 to 1 whole point after spending 10 days in the classroom with us. For such a short time, this is quite an impressive margin of improvement. Apart from quantitative results however, the same inspiring results we viewed in our first year seemed to resurface in our new location, and many students felt strongly about how positive and enriching the opportunity was for them.

We also had the exciting chance to capture the program in a way that allows for a far greater understanding to those who weren’t able to join us; we were able to bring a fully equipped film crew over with us for the six weeks! We’ve already been able to put out some great videos from the program period, be sure to check them out on our website!

Photos, Videos & More!

2015 Participants

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.33.33 AMAnnie Kim
Temple University
2015 English Teacher
“It’s something that’s so empowering to be able to speak and communicate in another language, and the process of learning another language is something that’s really beautiful and really helps to build your confidence as a person in general, not specifically just in learning that language. What we’re doing really, really transcends just teaching English and just building confidence in speaking a language.”
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.41.13 AMLi Jingjiang (Jason)
Nanjing University
2015 English Teacher
“The program can greatly improve the confidence of students when speaking English. This is the most important thing because, as long as they can make jokes and have fun with a foreigner they have never met before, this is a very big step for them. Their English no longer exists only in the textbook.”
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.29.39 AMJack Greatrex
Cambridge University
2015 English Teacher
“As much as anything, it’s a chance to just have really great experiences; you make friends with so many of the students. It’s not like teaching normally, so, all the students respond much better to you than they would to you if you were just teaching them from a textbook. It’s really great having lessons where everyone is friends, and everyone is having fun.”
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.38.52 AMLiu Manyun (Melody)
PhD, Linguistics
2015 English Teacher
“I think for most of the students, maybe more than 90% I mean, most of them haven’t had this kind of experience before. Especially for those in less developed areas, you can kind of feel like they were less confident than those from the city areas. I think they have never seen any foreign people before this program, those kids, so they are really having some horizon broadening experiences here.”

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When it all began…

In summer of 2014, we launched our pilot program, Learning Journey in China.

During the summer, we visited two middle schools in China’s Hainan Province, an island off the south coast of China. We focused in on Wanning City, a developing area towards the south of the island, and spent ten days at each of the two schools. Native English speakers paired with bilingual Chinese college students to design a curriculum that focused on topics that allowed students to express themselves and their creativity. Students explored confidence, love, happiness, curiosity, and nature together with their teachers over the ten-day summer program.

This first summer gave us a unique opportunity to see just how students and local teachers view their approach to English. For many students, in similarly under-privileged areas to Hainan, English is little more than a test subject that can often be a frustrating obstacle standing between them and an acceptable test score. The frustration can be layered upon when considering that the Chinese college entrance exam, given to every graduating Chinese high schooler across the country, uses English as a key subject to evaluate performance. For our students, they’re automatically placed at a disadvantage, since their English education resources are not nearly as impressive as those that might be found in a first or second tier city such as Shanghai or Beijing.

Despite the fact that students’ communication skills were far lower than teachers initially expected, classes were able to come together to find fun and exciting ways to get to know each other, as well as learn and practice English in a way that made students comfortable and confident. Because students were able to leave behind inhibitions and anxieties, their conversational abilities soared from the beginning to the end of each 10 day program. Students often expressed to their teachers towards the end of the program that their perspectives had been forever changed, not only towards English, but also their personal goals for the future. After such an impactful experience, we came away with a new resolve to recreate and expand upon the accomplishments we were able to make in future summer programs to come.

2014 Participants

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 5.05.21 PM Sol Lee
Amherst College
2014 English Teacher
“The Learning Journey in China program has been one of the most enlightening, eye-opening and simply wonderful experiences of my life. It was the first year in its making when I participated, but it was well thought out and I met some of the most hard-working and motivated students in Hainan, China. For these students, who have never had exposure to foreigners, I believe that the program was an invaluable experience but it was very meaningful for us teachers as well because we got to experience a different society and culture. We had to learn to be creative and innovative, and our mutual difficulties as first-time teachers brought us all together. The Learning Journey in China program has had such a profound effect on me that I find myself continually referring to these experiences in all that I do. It truly has been one of the fondest and most inspiring of my memories and I encourage everyone to apply!”
12189088_1652492831680687_1306107493812686775_nZhang Xinru
Bryn Mawr College
2014 English Teacher
“It’s a learning journey not only for the local students but also for the voluntary teachers. Almost 30 days spent with students from 2 schools in Hainan have left deep marks in my life. Responsibility is no longer a distant term for me; instead, it became such a vivid word when I stayed with my students all day long. It’s not simply that we were teaching students, but simultaneously they were showing us meanings of care, love and hope. It’s a one-month journey and a lifetime journey as well.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 3.43.12 PMSam Dalton
Cambridge University
2014 English Teacher

“The program allowed students to be so creative in their expression of English, through mediums as diverse as songs, role plays, trade markets and debates. You visibly (and audibly) noticed the increase in confidence over the teaching period, with even the quietest students in my class talking and smiling by the end. The challenge for teachers was to come up with engaging activities that fit into a coherent lesson plan, and there was a great sense of collaboration and sharing of ideas that made this happen.”

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