I decided to go to China because I really wanted to give back to organizations that help take care of orphans in need like Nathan. I also really wanted to learn about his culture. What better way than to go to China! I chose to volunteer at the foster care center because I fell in love with their mission. It is a nonprofit organization that sees the full potential in children with visual impairments and wants to show them how truly loved and important they are.
Q: How was the communication at the foster care center for Chinese visually impaired and blind orphans?
A: During my time at the organization, there were several members of the staff that I was able to communicate with. I was supervised by both the principal of the center and the director of development, often checked up on me. I did not have any formal training but I mostly learned just by being in the classroom with the past volunteer. Jodi from ImmerQi was an amazing mentor through this experience. She made me feel so comfortable going abroad for the first time and I could not imagine coming to China without all of her help. I felt incredibly welcome here thanks to her.
Q: Did your volunteer experience help you grow personally and/or professionally? If so, how?
A: This volunteer experience definitely helped me grow both personally and professionally. I personally grew but being immerged in a whole new culture and getting to experience a completely different lifestyle. This experience also got me very interested in doing my charity work especially after seeing what a difference my host charity organization is making in the lives of its children. I also grew professionally as I learned to build professional relationships with my coworkers at the volunteer placement and I was also able to meet a lot of new people which will help me with my future networking skills.
Q: What tasks and responsibilities were you assigned during your placement? What was your daily schedule?
A: During my placement, I was assigned to help teach the Chipmunk class, a class with different age group of children who are going to be adopted in the following months. I was in charge of teaching English throughout the week. Recently, my main responsibility has been to manage a one-on-one program with each child to focus on areas that they struggle in. I find that this has been very helpful for the kids as I am able to individualize my teaching.
Rachel with her program manager, Jodi
I thoroughly enjoyed the volunteer program set up by ImmerQi. I think they did a great job at balancing my time volunteering with also getting a chance to appreciate and explore the Chinese culture. My trip was definitely made thanks to Jodi as I couldn’t have imagined going abroad for the first time by myself without her help. I think it is great that ImmerQi gives their participants a person of reference like Jodi so you always have someone to rely on
Rachel Onusko, a volunteer program participant from Volunteer Program China, was in Beijing for 2 months; a student from Ohio University, United States.