It is always so difficult to choose what to do for the summer! There are so many things I want to do and so little time. I have personal goals, academic goals, career goals… and trying to make progress on each is sometimes hard to balance. Last summer, I worked a little and went to Japan for three weeks, spending one week traveling with my best friend and her family and two more on my own visiting Kyoto and working on a farm in Ichijima. Solo travel helped me build personal confidence, and this summer, I decided to focus on my other goals.
My first choice was a bust. I initially planned to spend the summer learning Mandarin through the Critical Language Scholarship so that when I study abroad this coming fall, I will be able to audit classes in Chinese. I was an alternate for the program last year and I had developed a lot both personally and academically since then, so I was fairly confident in my chances of being accepted. I wasn’t. I was disappointed and found myself rushing in the spring semester to find another affordable option for the summer.
Initially, I was set on the idea of learning Mandarin, but as I searched, I realized that learning Mandarin wasn’t the only way for me to make progress on my goals this summer. I still don’t have a specific career goal, so it made sense to do an internship to explore some of the options.
My Japanese professor, Marcus-sensei, suggested that I consider teaching languages, only, I am not confident in my ability to teach. Thinking about it rationally, that makes sense since I have never had any training or practice. I am taking this summer to learn more about teaching and maybe discover whether or not it is something that I want to do in the future, or if I should look in other areas that would allow me to explore my interest in languages and cultures such as international business or NGO work.
This summer, I will be interning as a student teacher with Summerbridge Hong Kong, a nonprofit that offers educational opportunities to underprivileged secondary school students in Hong Kong. This internship allows me to not only learn more about how I work and if teaching is something for me, but also lets me explore Hong Kong, with its rich history, culture, and interesting social environment. My internship begins next week with three weeks of teacher training, then a four and a half week summer English Immersion program for the students. It’s going to be challenging, but I am going to learn a lot. Look for future posts where I will share my experiences during the next 8 weeks!