One thing everyone should know about working with EF in China is that you will have ample opportunities to travel. Whether it's taking vacation, Chinese public holidays, or day trips during my weekends, I always find time to get out of the city and explore the world both near and far.
Being inclined to travel, I was naturally intrigued by EF Kids and Teen's Language Travel camps that occur during Chinese students' summer and winter breaks. Last summer, one of my students went to a camp in Inner Mongolia. She got to explore the grasslands, spend time in a traditional yurt, and take in the natural beauty of Inner Mongolia's breathtaking scenery. Instead of the teacher inspiring the student, the student inspired the teacher — I wanted to do this! Immediately, I spoke to my line manager, telling her that I was interested in how I could be involved in EF Language Travel.
Several months down the road, I was on a plane to Shenzhen, China! I had left that morning from a foggy, wintery Shanghai, and for the 6 days, I was going to be staying at a 5-star resort, all expenses paid, with EF Winter Camp in bright, sunny, warm south China. Life was looking good!
As a foreign teacher at winter camp, my responsibility was to teach English role-plays and short sketches/plays to the students. For a few hours a day, I taught a creative and humorous course, and the rest of the day was my time to indulge. Hey, I was in a 5-star resort after all!
Given that I was at a world class resort nestled in the luscious green mountains of Dongguan, I took advantage of hiking through the hills, exercising in the gym, swimming in the indoor pool, eating at restaurants and all-you-can-eat buffets, relaxing at the spa and nail salon, and lesson planning at world's prettiest Starbucks. Not to mention, look at this amazing view from the balcony of my room.
Of course, that was just my personal experience at the Dongguan Mission Hills Camp. There are still many other seasonal camps that EF offers, and so much more to explore - such as thrilling ski trips and ice adventures in Harbin, exciting beach trips to sunny Sanya, or fascinating cultural tours in Inner Mongolia and other destinations in China. These camps are a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for EF students, and as a foreign teacher in China, these opportunities can be opened to you as well.
Winter camp at Dongguan Mission Hills wasn't all fun and games though, considering I was actually working (even though for the most part, I forgot that fact). However, all of the challenges I faced at Winter Camp have helped me gain more indispensable experience as an EFL teacher, such as teaching mixed level classes, meeting learning goals in a very short period of time, and adjusting to teaching outside of a normal, 4-walled classroom. By teaching with EF Language Travel, I realized that the world is my classroom.
At the end of the 6 days, I was very sad to see my students go, since I got so close to them in a short amount of time, but I left EF winter camp with wonderful memories and a lot of newly acquired experience. After this week at camp, I can say that EF Language Travel is an exciting learning opportunity, a great time to reflect on your own teaching style and learn additional skills. But the one thing I know for fact is — I LOVE my job.