It’s surreal how a plain, whitewashed city where the old and the new exist harmoniously can be transformed, nightly, into a dynamic flashing neon city. Like the city itself, this trip made me realise that life-changing moments do not occur spontaneously, but it’s through the silent, unobservable hard work only can we truly shine bright in the world.
It was upon the weird hand of fate that I stumbled across a flyer advertising about MEET – an volunteering/ exchange program between Edinburgh and Macao. Spurred on by a burst of spontaneity, the application was sent in and was accepted. I was soon meeting up with my fellow “teachers” and organisers who, eventually supported and grew with me all throughout the way.
Bonded by a common desire to make this program the best it can possibly be, we exchanged ideas and techniques on how to make the class interesting for teenagers as well as encouraging feedback from both the students and our peers. Teaching, is by no means as easy a task as I thought it was . The balance between sternness and friendliness and the need to constantly tailor the lesson to the students required much trial and error. The language barrier itself wasn’t that huge of a challenge for me as I spoke fluent Chinese but was a huge one for my friends. As such, I did pick up some skills as a translator during my whole stay in Macao which was interesting but exhausting at best.
The bond between the teachers was just amazing. We all sort of hit off right at the start and the countless exchange of ideas, culture and endless debates ranging from politics to the most random things ever. This did truly help broaden my perception of the world. Furthermore, the location of our accommodation,generously provided by the school (which offered a breathtaking view of the Ruins of St Paul ) and the fact that it was located right up the tourist lane offered a fabulous opportunity to deeply immerse myself in the culture and to integrate with the locals. The free biscuits samples from the numerous shops was simply just the icing on the cake ! I truly did simply enjoy 3 weeks of walks/ jogs around Macao after classes, of sampling the local snacks and chatting to the people around me.
Macao is truly a welcoming place, and this experience itself enabled me truly led me to discover a bit more about myself while forging some amazing friendships.