I have been in China for almost 3 months now and what I have experienced is not comparable to anything else in all European countries I have been to before! But let me start with the beginning of my journey… The very long flight from Germany to China from… West to East! Already, in the plane, I was in a different world! Chinese people wherever I looked and no “white faces”! Later I will learn that this is something I adapt to very quickly :-). But, because I had learned some Chinese before leaving Germany I had the opportunity to make a little bit smalltalk, which was a lot of fun. 

After I arrived at one of the biggest airports I have ever seen the search for my luggage started! But with the help of a nice Chinese man I was able to work on the problem. (Note: Asking People always helps even if you need to ask five or six people! :-) With my big backpack on my shoulders I headed toward the currency-exchange. For the next three months no Euro’s anymore but only RMB! On the first look such different currencies.

In the arrival hall Dora was waiting for me: my first contact with the Partner organization in China. First impression: Very Nice! The first days in Shanghai I really enjoyed because I got to know the other nice volunteers and having friends in such a new environment is a very good thing! Together with Lisa, a nice girl from Great Britain, I started the induction week. We had a lot of fun together: -Doing Sightseeing (Great Tour offered by XuBo :-)) -Learning some Mandarin (Super Teacher, we learned a lot!) -Gettng some useful tips for teaching (The CD Dora gave us was really great!) -And of course getting used to the Chinese food! ;)

XuBo really supported us a lot during this time and of course for the rest of our stay in China! After that week in Shanghai, Lisa and I headed for Zhengzhou, a city in Henan Province. We went there by train with the train-tickets we had bought on our own! :-)

Zhengzhou… After getting used to Shanghai, a complete 100% change! But the hearty welcome by my school- and Lisa’s kindergarten representatives made us feel at home very fast! Here, Lisa’s and I separated ways: I went to my school and she went to her kindergarten.

Arriving at the school I was welcomed by the headmaster and other representatives from the school. We talked about my schedule for the next week and about other important things. After that they introduced me the flat where I was going to live for the next two months! Yes! A FLAT! Really crazy! A flat just for me which had everything: a kitchen with everything you need, a bedroom with a nice bed, a big refrigerator... just everything you need! So my first weekend was a lot of fun. Getting to know the surroundings around the school, finding the big supermarket and all kinds of other things. I also quickly made some friends who had nothing to do with the school! :-)

We had arrived on a Friday afternoon, so when I started my “career” at No.31 Middle School with my introduction (in Chinese) in front of the 2,000 Students and nearly 300 teachers on Monday morning, I had already been in Zhengzhou for 3 days. In the evening I had my first two lessons and it was just great! The children already knew me of course and they were really, really interested and had a lot of questions so that my prepared lesson worked out pretty well as it was based on getting to know each other using English!

The first week went by very fast! All the students and all the teachers were very nice to me. On my second weekend, I went to the city-center to see what is going on there! And, I met my friends from the first weekend and we went to cinema together! :-) In this way, as the weeks passed by I got to know my students and they got to know me! We worked together very well! We had a lot of fun but when I needed silence to explain something I got it immediately. The students respected me and I respected them and I think that this fact allowed me to tell them a lot of things! Not only tell but really teach them so they can understand and make use of the new knowledge!

I really felt at home in Zhengzhou by the time I had to say goodbye. I was really sad! But in morning of the day I left the headmaster and some teachers waited at the school gate to give me a present and wish me the best wishes for my journey around China. And, the headmaster told me that I will always have a home in No.31 Middle School in Zhengzhou which really touched my heart!

After I left Zhengzhou I visited a lot of other places in China, I saw the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the great Terra Cotta Army in Xi’an and I also went back to Zhengzhou for five days to meet my new friends one more time before I left China for Germany again! But this is a different story :-).

I enjoyed every single minute of my big adventure in China!