Charlotte is one of three interns working with our Building Bridges project in Malaysia for this academic year, providing mentoring sessions and fun English classes online – BBBB Online – for children at Rumah Aman, a Muslim children’s home in Kuala Lumpur.
They work with small groups of children two or three times a week.
I am a Social Sciences (BSc) student at the University of Bath, currently on my placement year. This has been a challenging but extremely rewarding and worthwhile experience in many ways.
Despite the restrictions and hurdles presented by COVID-19, we have worked hard as a team to ensure the children at Rumah Aman have the best experience possible.
One of the greatest challenges has been adapting to teaching online and finding ways to keep the lessons fun and engaging, but working alongside the other volunteers has been a great opportunity to collaborate, share ideas and get creative with our lesson plans.
This has been a great learning experience for us as volunteers, as well as the children. Together we have learned how to adapt to working online and communicating with people across the globe.
Despite not being in Malaysia, we have had the pleasure of working alongside a diverse range of people and had the opportunity to gain a real insight into Malaysian culture through the students, staff, and close contacts of the team.
Being able to build friendships with the children and team members on the ground is something I am incredibly grateful for. Moreover, I could not be more thankful for the amazing support we have had! We have been made to feel so welcome and supported during the BBBB programme, even though we are thousands of miles away!
Hearing that the students have grown in self-confidence and are keen to speak English in the home is extremely rewarding for us as volunteers.
We wrapped up the first semester in December with a beautiful online graduation ceremony celebrating the positive progress made by the three groups – All-Stars, Guardians, and the Fantastic Faculty. It was lovely to have so many guests attend the ceremony and hear the praise they had for the programme!
We are halfway through the BBBB programme, and I can safely say that this experience will be matched by no other (for all the right reasons!). Even in the midst of this global pandemic, I really feel part of such a wonderful and valuable community, and I can’t wait for semester two to begin.
Keeping my fingers crossed that in the not-so-distant future we will finally be able to travel to Kuala Lumpur and meet the students!