Jonathan Hadad (Israel, AC 09-11)
Every summer, a group of students from the United World College of the Atlantic go on volunteering projects in different countries around the world. This year, I decided to join the China summer project because I was curious about the country and the complexity of the culture that I was never really exposed to before. The plan was to come to undeveloped areas in Guilin and teach English in schools, but I like to think that the outcome was much more significant than learning a language. The children learned from us about the world from outside their village, and I was personally fascinated by a way of life that I was completely unfamiliar with. The amazing landscapes of rivers and snow-capped mountains, the worm, welcoming and generous hospitality, and the genuine excitement and curiosity of the kids filled me with positive energy.
I was obviously not accustomed to the lifestyle that I experienced- very limited water supplies, hard climate conditions and living in a secluded area with no hospitals close enough in case of an emergency. And yet, about fifteen minutes after getting a minor injury when we were traveling in the area, I was taken to a clinic by a representative of Guilin in the government. I was immediately treated and was sent back to the group. That showed me how thankful the local leadership was of our project and how much effect our visit had. One of the local schoolgirls told us that she thought the world forgot about them but now she has new friends from all over the world.
I believe that the villages that we visited are on the right direction. The people are very hard working and motivated, the leaders care about the people and with a bit more financial support I hope that every child could afford to finish high school in the near future.
-United World College Student Magazine –