Since 2008, students in the Early Childhood Education program have completed one-month study abroad internships at Regent International Preschool in the city of Suzhou, China. The value of their learning and working experiences at a Regent International preschool are invaluable. Read their own words written for the Talk Back China project, an online diary.
- Colette G. Adams, June 5th, 2014
- Shadow Guan, June 2, 2014
- Michelle Walton, May 31, 2014
- Hanna Lee, May 27, 2014
- Aleighsa Abraham, May 26, 2014
- Lucia Motta, May 23, 2014
- Stephanie Gasbarre, May 22, 2014
- Sarah Malon, May 21, 2014
Colette G. Adams, June 5, 2014
This May 2014 China Trip has been a rollercoaster ride. I have seen so many amazing sights such as: Water Town, Tiger Hill, The Silk Factory and The Pearl Market. What I will remember most are the children. The children at Regent International Preschool have filled my heart with joy and love from the moment that I walked into the room. One of the last excursions on the itinerary was to the Tiandu Kindergarten. I was very impressed with all of the creative teacher made materials. They had constructed a microwave made from cardboard and a bathroom sink made out of styrofoam. Everywhere I looked there were recycled material turned into artwork, dramatic play toys and decorations. The teachers at Tiandu are truly artists. The hardest transition that I have encountered on this trip is leaving the preschool. The Regent International Team has become a second family. The amount of support, love and kindness that they have shown us all is priceless!
Shadow Guan, June 2, 2014
Suzhou is the city of silk and pearl. This last long weekend in Suzhou we experienced both the silk factory and pearl market which made us touch base with Suzhou's lifestyle and culture. On Saturday at the silk factory, the silk worker showed us the lifespan of the silk worm and the process of silk making. I actually picked two silk worms up and put them in my palm. They were extremely soft but I felt weird when they started to crawl. On Monday we went to the Pearl Market; it was very interesting to see how the pearl making person strung their pearls together as a necklace. The associates in the market showed us the differences between the real and fake pearls - if there was powder that came off of the pearls when using the knife to scratch it, that meant the pearl was a real one.
For the past two weeks in the Regent International Preschool, I'm amazed how children were able to use multiple languages - English, Mandarin and Japanese - to express themselves to staff and to each other. In addition, the parents were very supportive to the program by sharing stories of their children from home .It is such a pleasure for me to have this experience in Suzhou and explore the city. This will be the most precious memory in my life.
Love you Suzhou!
Michelle Walton, May 31, 2014
As the China team enters our third week, all I can say is that it has been a wonderful and amazing experience all the way around. This includes the children at Regent International Preschool and all the cultural sights and sounds of China. This is another life changing experience for me. We went on a tour of the College of ECE in Suzhou China. What stood out for me the most was that the campus grounds were so peaceful and scenic. It’s an old college in structure and that is where the charm is. It also reminded me of my childhood in the Caribbean. We had the opportunity to attend an art class about, observing things from a different perspective, which was revealing as we started to explore our own creative style. We also attended a dance and piano class for a few minutes. Then it was off to Tiger Hill (see temple pictured above) where the views of the city and surrounding area are spectacular. I have fallen in love with the country and people, rich in history and culture.
Hanna Lee, May 27, 2014
Yesterday was the start of the second week at Regent International Preschool. It feels like I have been here for much longer than a week! I felt very comfortable walking into the school. It felt as if I have been here for years. Teachers and children have been very welcoming every morning I step into the room.
During the English lesson time, I introduced various occupations with matching cards. The Mandarin speaking teacher also used my props during her lessons. I believe this environment not only promotes language skills but also thinking skills. It is always amazing to see how multilingual and language-rich this preschool is! The children seem to treat all the languages spoken in the room with equal respect including their home languages.
In the evening after school, the team went for the boat ride on the canal. The lights along the river were mesmerizing and beautiful. Every bridge we passed by had sculptures. It was wonderful to see Suzhou at night, especially on a boat!
Aleighsa Abraham, May 26, 2014
Regent International Preschool has been such a pleasure to work at! All of the staff have been very welcoming and have made me feel right at home. This experience has been life changing for me in terms of the cultural differences as well as the peaceful environment.
Most of the children in my classroom (Kindergarten 2, 5 years old) speak Japanese as their first language. Having the opportunity to watch the children converse with one another in their home language is very interesting. It’s incredible to watch them assist each other when translating words or phrases from one language to another.
Even though I have only been at the centre for five days, I already feel like I have grown enormously as an Early Childhood Educator. I would recommend this trip to anyone who would like to see themselves grow as an educator in ways that they never knew were possible. This is an experience of a lifetime and would not trade it for anything!
Lucia Motta, May 23, 2014
I’ve been in China for over two weeks now and am still pinching myself to check that this is not a dream but a reality. The Country is extraordinarily beautiful and I’m in love with all the greenery and how well maintained the Cities are and predominantly how Historical buildings are integrated with new and modern ideas. The people are welcoming and ready to lend a hand when I try to communicate in a language I am not familiar speaking.
My experience with the children is more that an opportunity of a life-time it’s been surreal; all the children are eager to learn and truly collaborate together in the learning process through the joy of play. Each day I’m impressed at the ability of the children to comprehend three languages and their drive to learn words so they can express their thoughts, feelings and ideas. Each child has their own personality and way of communication, all try very hard to learn English and in return I’m learning the occasional word in Mandarin or Japanese. Not only am I teaching them, I too am learning through my experiences with each individual.
Coming from Canada, I brought a book called Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid, one of the activities planned from the book was seasons with a focus on Fall, in the photo you can see the children’s pleasure as they experience what it is like to sing about leaves falling and raking them up and dancing under the leaves as they fall. For a brief moment I was a child again re-living the joys of my memories. It was a blessing sharing this experience with the children and hearing their laughter and excitement as they got to experience what life in Canada is like.
I will forever be grateful for this experience and the joy of being in China working with these incredible people in a place with so much history, culture and values.
Everyday has truly been a gift.
Stephanie Gasbarre, May 22, 2014
Ni Hao! What a wonderful experience China has been thus far! Shanghai is such a beautiful city with friendly people, breath taking city views (particularly the Bund), glorious gardens, and fun-filled shopping trips with my George Brown family. Although it can be challenging to communicate, people here in China, do their best help you and make you feel welcome.
Being in the K1 classroom (kindergarten – age 4) has been so exciting for me. The children are in the process of preparing for their graduation ceremony on June 21st, and today was their first dress rehearsal with music and props. They have put so much passion and effort into their dance routine that they will be performing for their families. It is truly amazing to see their ability to coordinate their actions with the music.
I am so happy to have made the choice to travel to China and get to know a culture that is so different from my own. With that being said - I would do it 100 times over!
Sarah Malon, May 21, 2014
My first impression arriving in China was that it was a very quick paced environment. After exploring the temples and magnificent gardens the atmosphere through my eyes showed me that within everything I felt peaceful and stress free! It was amazing to see ladies dancing outside our hotel room, first thing in the morning.
When exploring the Bund at night the buildings were all lit up and it was a spectacular view. I am so glad I made the decision to join the Team China 2014. It really is a life changing experience and has given me an opportunity to explore the culture and to work in an international school.
Everyone was so welcoming and helpful on the first day. Although there was a language barrier the children were still able to communicate with me through both verbal and non-verbal queues.
Sharing my All About Me book helped me to start building meaningful relationships with children. This second international experience will support me in growing and learning more about myself as an educator.
Read more letters from students 2013