SPICE 2018 – Hong Kong
It is safe to say that these past couple of months in Hong Kong will never be forgotten. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the other UK volunteers who arrived a couple of days before me and we walked back to our accommodation at the Wu Kai Sha YMCA Youth Village. The accommodation which was provided for us was surprisingly nice, we have to share a room with one other UK volunteer which was not a problem and on site there’s a swimming pool, games room and many other activities. The Youth Village is very near to the pier, a beach as well as two shopping malls and a market. All of the aforementioned points along with the staff who were always friendly made the stay very enjoyable.
A couple of months before flying to Hong Kong, the UK volunteers and Hong Kong interns did a personality test to divide us into groups for each of the classes which represented different countries (The Philippines, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Brazil). Once these groups were set, we were able to get in contact over WhatsApp and share ideas for the programme. The first time we met with the Hong Kong interns and our two team leaders, Kylie and Brian, was at the welcoming dinner. We all got along so well in our individual teams and as a whole group which made this experience even better. The difference between the welcoming dinner and the farewell dinner was clear to see, we were one unit. The farewell dinner was an emotional goodbye with many tears shed.
In order to best prepared for the upcoming weeks, we had two weeks of training with the interns during which we created activities suitable for the children.After deciding what we were going to be teaching, we tested out the activities to make sure that the children would understand and enjoy that which we had planned.
The layout of each of the three programmes was as follows: two outings and five days teaching. Spread across the teaching days were activities such as science activities, making food from the country and sports.
One of the outings was to Epic Land which is a large indoor centre for children, there were many activities which the students had not tried before such as Air Trek and trampolining. Some of the other activities were Ballistics, Black Hole, Rainbow slides, Kids Zone.
For our other outing we had the chance to visit the Hong Kong Country Club where they offered bowling, table tennis, air hockey and much more. Despite these varied activities, the children’s (and the teachers) favourite time of the day was the buffet and assortment of desserts.
The final teaching day was International Day where each class had the chance to visit the countries of the other classes. The day was led by the students (little teachers) who taught the visiting students about their country and taught them to play their games.
Overall, the whole experience was something I highly recommend. It was great to be able to help children improve their confidence as well as their English level. The choice to deliver these lessons through fun activities was a good choice as they already have English classes at school so through SPICE they were able to know that learning English can be fun. This programme also allowed us UK volunteers to have a unique way to experience Hong Kong as we were here with a purpose but also had free time to explore all that Hong Kong has to offer. We also spent some of our time exploring with the Hong Kong interns so we saw Hong Kong from a local perspective as well as making very good friends.