From the Readers

From Somalia to China: the inspiring journey of a volunteer teacher

Updated: Apr 4, 2023 By Abdilahi Ismail Tiger Print
Share - WeChat

I am a Somali teacher at the African College of Beijing Foreign Studies University. After leaving the postdoctoral, why did I choose to be a teacher? This stems from my experience of going to Northwest China to support education by chance more than ten years ago. At that time, A group of four set off for Haishiwan, Honggu District, Lanzhou City, Gansu Province. The passengers on the train were also interested in us. Our compatriots (Suleman Ismail Botan) could speak good Chinese, so we chatted with them. Some people asked us where we were going by train. When they heard that we were going to teach in Haishiwan, people gave us thumbs up and said: It’s amazing that foreigners actually go to such remote places to teach.

Abdilahi Ismail Tiger and his colleagues [Photo provided to]

I taught English classes in grades 1, 2, and 3. A total of more than 90 children were taught. As soon as I entered the classroom, I could feel the enthusiasm of the children, who kept greeting me. I taught them relatively simple English, like the alphabet, hello, and what’s your name. When I asked questions, the children were very positive. Every child raised their hands and shouted “me, me, me”; some children even stood up excitedly. The kids also surrounded me after class and didn’t want me to leave the classroom. Later, when I visited their home, I learned that most of them were left-behind children. Their parents went out to work, and those children stayed home with their grandparents. I thought they must be very lonely in their hearts, so they relied on me like a brother.

We taught English in Haishiwan for more than a month. While the summer vacation was ending, we could only reluctantly say goodbye. The children gave me a lot of gifts, such as flowers and bracelets. There was an older child who asked for my QQ account. Later, he kept sending messages on QQ, asking whether I could come next semester and when. On the way back, I told myself to go back and see the kids if I had the chance. Although I only stay in Haishiwan for over a month, the experience is still fresh in my memory. The memories are warm and moving. I still remember the names of every child and the kindness that people there gave us along the way. This experience enables me to have a deeper understanding of China, inspires me to go further on the road of volunteering, and gives me firm confidence in the profession of teaching.

Copyright©2024 China Daily. All rights reserved.


京公网安 京公网安备 11010502032503号