The purpose of this volunteer program in Kunming, Yunnan Province, is to help Chinese teachers of English with their spoken English. The teachers come from elementary and middle schools in Kunming and the surrounding counties. They range from young new teachers to experienced teachers who have taught for many years. For many of these teachers the conversations they have with us are their first extended experience with native speakers of English. Our job is not to teach English (most of them know English grammar better than we do), it is to encourage them to speak and feel comfortable with spoken English.
The classes are held on a college campus where we spend two or three weeks, two volunteers with each class of 15 -18 teachers. We talk, discuss current events, play word games, sing, dance, go out to lunch, and generally have a good time. After a day or two of shyness, their natural curiosity, humor and enthusiasm start to show through and the conversation and play become very animated.
We volunteers are housed in a very nice business class hotel, a short van ride from the campus. All logistics (meals, transportation, etc.) are taken care of by our Global Volunteers leader who lives with us in the hotel. The meals are great (Chinese of course, except there's an omelet station at the hotel's breakfast buffet) sometimes at the hotel, sometimes at local restaurants.
My wife and I have volunteered in China with Global Volunteers five times. Once we took our teen-aged grandchildren who were full fledged members of the volunteer team. We are planning our sixth trip for 2012 – hope to meet you then!