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Language teaching lets shy girl speak up

Emily Yip
Bachelor of Computing with Honours in Internet Technology (full-time programme)

Volunteer teaching internship in Colombo , Sri Lanka

‘The experience has enhanced my sensitivity towards others. I’ve learned about how to leverage teamwork to maximise mutual benefit, and the effective division of labour based on individuals’ strengths.’

Emily Yip

Language teaching lets shy girl speak up

Emily Yip’s motivation for a volunteer teaching internship placement in Sri Lanka sprang from her wish to contribute to society in a meaningful way. She joined the AIESEC programme and taught young schoolchildren English in rural areas in the north of Colombo. “I worked in a group of 12 volunteers from around the world. Two volunteers taught a class as a pair under the supervision of a teacher. Sometimes, we followed the textbooks. The more advanced the students were, the more preparation of teaching materials was required,” Yip recalls. “I teamed up with a different volunteer for each class. We needed to improvise if we went through the prepared materials ahead of schedule. Hence, I have learned to think on my feet.”

Yip has been inspired by her exposure to diverse cultures during the internship. Not only did she teach the children together with the other volunteers, they also shared a dormitory. “The experience has enhanced my sensitivity towards others. I’ve learned about how to leverage teamwork to maximize mutual benefit, and the effective division of labor based on individuals’ strengths. For instance, in the classroom, the articulate volunteer was responsible for speaking while the one with good organizational capability would summarise the main focuses. This process has helped hone my negotiation skills.”

Sharing a dormitory with others also made Yip more independent. “I made adjustments when communicating with individuals from different cultures. This experience was transformational: I changed from someone who was very quiet in a mainly English and Putonghua-speaking environment, into the one who took the initiative in inviting the other volunteers to go on weekend excursions,” she says. “I’ve become more confident in working in a multi-cultural environment.”

(Source: Classified Post, SCMP)

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