Hello, my name is Sibylle. I teach languages at a secondary school in Switzerland. I took the opportunity to spend my sabbatical leave in China and joined in the Xubo volunteering programme for 4 weeks. After two days of introduction in Shanghai I travelled to Zhengzhou.

I stayed at Zhengzhou No 9 High School. It’s a school with about 1800 students between 15 and 18 years old. On the amply premises are the school buildings, the dormitories for students and teachers, two cafeteria with little shops, a theatre and a beautiful garden. The cafeteria provided a wide range of delicious food and I loved having lunch and dinner there. My accommodation was very comfortable and equipped with a private bathroom.

My task was to teach German to some Chinese students going shortly afterwards to Germany for one year. They didn’t know any German and so it was a crash course. Besides their ordinary schedule they had three lessons per day in the evening. I was told in advance that they might be a bit shy, but after the first lesson I realised how cute they were and we got along very well. They worked hard and participated actively in class by speaking and playing games. Now and then the pronunciation posed difficulties, but we laughed a lot and had fun. The classroom was well-equipped and I always used the smartboard. I showed them also videos about Switzerland and Germany and they were enthusiastic to know these countries. At the end of my staying in Zhengzhou I was sad to leave my students, but we will see each other in Germany J.

The staff of the school was also very friendly and obliging. They allowed me to attend their classes, asked my questions and let me participate in the ordinary Chinese school life.

Zhengzhou is a city with more inhabitants than Switzerland! Many of them don’t speak English and at the beginning it was a little bit hard to find my way. But gradually I managed to move around and visited the sights worth seeing. I also travelled with a Chinese tourist party to the Shaolin temple and it was great fun.

I enjoyed my staying at Zhengzhou from every point of view and I can highly recommend a volunteering experience in China. It’s worth! And I would like to say thank you to the Xubo staff – you do a good job :-).