Lilianna Eliza Jaworska, female, Poland
,,My life and experience in Zhaoqing – China”
When year 2015 was started, I was sure, that I want to change something in my life, but I haven’t got idea how to do this. But sometimes the only one thing you should do is to let life bring what it wants to bring… It was exactly what I have done. And after few days I get call from my university mentor. She called with interesting idea about new job – in China! In first moment I just didn’t know what to say (even if it’s almost impossible in my case…). I had only one day to take decision, but I had nothing to lose, so I just get this challenge and have sent documents to Zhaoqing University in China.
After months of preparing all documents and waiting for my great adventure, I finally landed in Hong Kong on 9 September. I remember very well first days. Everything was completely different from my previous life. Different language, fascinating but so difficult. Incredible nature which is still amazing for me. I remember also how hard was for me to get used to the climate. First days I just couldn’t breathe with so hot and damp air. But that day after day it was more and more easy. Of course I was and I am still surprised by different cuisine. I remember first evening in Zhaoqing, when students picked me up from bus and asked me, am I hungry, I was very happy that they asked me – to be honest, I was starving. Finally waiter has server my meal and… ohhh no … chopsticks…Well, actually, I was so tired, that forget that I can’t use it… Now I can say, that I would to get used to everything here so quickly like I get used to chopsticks.
Of course my most important activity in Zhaoqing is work on university. I have heard some information about students and university when I was preparing to go here, but actually, most of things you need to see and fell by yourself. So, after few days of preparing and consults with my dean I started my big challenge and new adventure as teacher. ,,Western Culture” and ,,Teaching mother tongue as foreign language” was my two subjects. It was quite difficult to choose what could be most interested for students, and will bring them some profit. In the beginning I was surprised, that we have so big groups of students. To have good contact with them it’s good to know each of them, but when you have about 50 people in each group it’s not so easy. But on the other hand, it’s good exercise for your memory. Is it not?
After few months I can say, that my classes are great opportunities to get new experience as a teacher, but also as a one foreigner who lives in China. It’s really great feeling, when you can share information about your tradition, culture, and when you see those of students, who take it with big interest, ask questions, want to understand better another part of world. But what is very important for me, very often I can learn from my students too. Their way of thinking, reactions on some topics, sharing, discuss about some differences between our cultures – it’s brilliant way to make us more open minded, and give us new point of view. Similar situation is on my ,,Teaching mother tongue classes”. The main goal is to prepare students to teaching Chinese language as foreign. I am very happy, when I see their interesting ideas and presentations about their language, short lessons. Their way to teach Chinese. I know very well how great satisfaction you can have, when you are teaching you own language. I have done it for four years in Bulgaria, so when now I see student who are preparing to the same job, I try to help them. In my opinion the biggest advantage is fact, that they can ,,practice” on me as a foreigner. Many times we can’t release, what in our language can be difficult for one foreigner and how to explain him those ,,difficulties”. When we use our language, many things in grammar, phrases, vocabulary, are just obvious. But they are obvious only for us… So I am happy, when I see how my students make progress, when I see that meeting with me and my point of view in some way helps them.
It’s also very nice experience, that some students are really teachers – my Chinese teachers. In the beginning I was afraid, that we all will feel uncomfortable, playing different ,,roles” during the classes and afternoon – during my Chinese lesson. But it turned out that it’s good… It reminds me, how it is when you are a student, and reminds me ,,student’s point of view”. And of course, I can learn Chinese, so step by step I can communicate with some simple everyday life situations. It helps me also when I watch Chinese lesson’s presentations during my classes, because I can give opinion not only as a foreigner, but as a foreigner who are leaning Chinese.
So, that’s my great Chinese adventure. Every day shows something new, some new surprise or new experience, many things are very nice, and many things are difficult. It depends only on me, how I will take it, and would it make me stronger and more experienced ore not.