Teach English in BAlingshAn Zhen - Jingzhou Shi

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My skin, infused with a generous amount of sunlight, illuminated the atmosphere all about me. My body gleamed in its home-made oil, as my heart throbbed through the entire flight. I clinged to the acid-washed denim jacket that I wore as I departed Boeing 737; being born and raised on an island it was my first time experiencing weather that was below 62 degrees Fahrenheit –I was freezing. It is safe to say that I was nowhere near prepared for the weather or the journey I was about to embark on. We had immigrated to the United States in search of better health care services for my dad, who had suffered two hemorrhagic strokes. Adapting to my new environs and integrating at school were hard. I was frustrated and tears cascaded down my cheeks daily as I complained about my situation to my mother. It was now four months in our stay- and although the winter season was in full effect, sweat rallied at the crown of my head, streaming down my face. Focused. I depart an aircraft once more, cautiously making mental notes and eagerly awaiting the “cultural shock” that one undergoes immediately after arriving in a new country. I was ready! I quickly integrated into the colorful cheers of welcome that were being sung in creole. Though I did not know what the songs meant and that I was clearly missing pronouncing the words; I was fearless. As my sneakers made intricate music with the warm terrain, my arms pumped, and my knees bent as the boulder I was passing along a line of both locals and other volunteered slipped– there I was dehydrated on the beautiful island of Haiti where I was volunteering to build a school in the attempt to eradicate poverty through creating opportunities for education. I was mesmerized. My eyes were wide shut, blinded by failure. I felt as though I had let my team down, but unbeknownst to me, one of my greatest lessons was about to unfold. I lay still, contemplating the many losses I’ve endured throughout my life. I was unable to communicate with locals as I did not speak the native language. I knew I had to find ways to help others who had shared similar experiences. I had to be resourceful. I applied to volunteer programs and participated in a study abroad program in order to learn a second language. These experiences abroad with various organizations has granted me more than a fully paid trip to another country and diverse cuisine, but also life lessons but most importantly the ability to communicate with others who spoke a language I had only the basics to. I am eager to motivate as well as inspire others to immerse in other culture and not be afraid to communicate. I have had the opportunity to learn French in Senegal, Haitian creole in Haiti, Greek in Greece and now motivating and teaching English to others is one on my life long dreams as I too have been motivated because of several factors. I am agog to be able to create opportunities for these children to push them outside their comfort zone and ready to stimulate their curiosity on the marvelous things they can achieve having learned English.