Every Summer we take a small group of native English speaking volunteers to work with HK undergraduate interns to run the Summer Programme for Immersion in Communicative English (SPICE) for disadvantaged local children. This programme is made possible by the generous support of Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation and the Chinese YMCA of HK. This year’s UK group just sent the following report of their experience.
Our experience volunteering in Hong Kong this past summer is one that will stay in our memory for a very long time. The SPICE programme gives the incredible opportunity to spend six weeks in Hong Kong, one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
When most people think of Hong Kong they fail to recognise that many people do struggle and are in disadvantaged situations; however, by joining the SPICE programme we attained the ability to help these children whether it was through teaching them English or by giving them an escape from their day to day life through activities and fun games.
The most rewarding aspect of the programme has been seeing the children grow in confidence, both in themselves and in their English ability. The children are very grateful of the opportunity they are presented with and it is extremely fulfilling to be a part of this.
Working with the SPICE programme over 6 weeks has allowed us to gain genuine and practical work experience in the teaching industry, more than most internships would. It has been an invaluable experience as we have gained a range of teaching skills and have been introduced to many fantastic people. SPICE allows you to work in a small team of Hong Kong interns and UK volunteers to create an active and inspiring programme for the students.
Everyone worked well together to ensure we could deliver the best programme possible. The support and guidance from our experienced programme co-ordinators gave us the confidence to create a full syllabus for the children thus making the programme our own as we had a real impact on what was taught. It was a joy and a challenge learning how to accommodate the needs of a variety of students with different learning abilities. It helped us expand our skill set while knowing we were having a positive influence on the students’ learning.
Accommodation was organised for us through the YMCA and so it was easy to meet likeminded volunteers from all over the world. Volunteering with the SPICE programme also provided us with the opportunity to explore Hong Kong and delve into a culture different to our own. We would encourage anyone considering applying to the SPICE programme to do so as we can safely say we’ve had the summer of a lifetime. The experience was very rewarding for everyone involved and we hope to return to Hong Kong one day, potentially to continue the work that was done here.
Marie, Issy, Sophie, James and Daniel