Alumni Spotlight: Lisa Matsumoto

Lisa Matsumoto is from Toronto, Ontario and is currently attending the University of Toronto. She is 19 and enjoys travelling, soccer and hanging out with friends.

What inspired you to volunteer with Love Volunteers in China?

Lisa Matsumoto

Lisa: When I volunteered for Love Volunteers in China, I was 18 and had just finished high school. I wanted to do something different and exciting before I started my university studies and be very busy with studying.

I thought about what I wanted to do and decided I wanted to do something completely different, something overseas. I looked all over the internet and found Love Volunteers, their program seemed very interesting and the price of everything was very good.

After more research and communications with the coordinators of the program, my parents and I decided that this was a very reliable and safe program to do by myself in a foreign country, far away from home.

What was your favorite moment of the trip?

One of my favorite moments - coming up with a story as a class

Lisa: There were too many favorite moments! Some to do with students and at the school and others to do with the other volunteers I was sharing my experience with.

With the students, one of my favorite moments was when we were coming up with a story as a class. I had given them the task and at first they were very timid and didn't know how to approach it, however, some brave students decided to give me some sentences to start the story and from there we got some crazy stories!

It was really cool to see how much imagination these kids could have with the vocabulary they knew. As for a time with the other volunteers, it was just a fun time going to explore the city.

Once we had gone to downtown and missed the last bus to come back to our apartments and had to walk all the way back! So, lesson learned, make sure you know when the buses stop running!

If you could go back and do something differently, what would it be?

Lisa: If I could do one thing differently, I think I would've wanted to learn more Mandarin before embarking on my journey. I knew only a little and when I tried to put it to use, I got way too flustered so it was completely useless.

I feel like I would've gotten a lot more out of my experience with the local people if we could've communicated. It would also have been way easier to ask for directions or ask what kind of food was really tasty.

Basically, I wish I could've integrated myself more as a local since I was spending such a long time in one specific area. It would've been interesting to get to know my neighbors or the local people we saw almost everyday at the market place or in the shops.

So, I think if you want to get a better experience , you should prepare and know some of the language at least the basics.

Tell us about one person you met on the trip.

So many students were funny, smart and interesting

Lisa: There were so many students that were really funny, smart, and interesting. The other two volunteers are really awesome, as well. But one person I had met and still keep in contact is a student named Crystal.

She was in one of the classes that I was teaching in and was very curious and eager to learn. She always came to ask me questions and eventually we found out that we liked the same things like One Piece.

So she would tell me about One Piece and other little things. We even did a play for the closing ceremony of the summer camp and it was a really fun thing to do with her and her classmates.

When I had to leave, she even asked if we could be emailing buddies so that she could practice her English. So now, even though it's been over a year we still email and she tells me about her high school life and how she is doing.

What tips/advice do you have for future program participants?

Lisa: For any of your who are considering doing this program... it's a must!! I cannot even express in text or in person how great my experience was. I know that if I could, I would do it all over again one million times.