Photo with the kids in the kindergarten. 

Photo with the kids in the kindergarten. 

Be Adaptive: Program Changed 

I applied for the International Kindergarten Program in Wroclaw, Poland. I prepared paper mache, I taught arithmetic, Chinese greetings and songs for the kindergarten kids. However, after being in the Kindergarten for 4 weeks, my program manager told me that due to the winter break for the students, I would be switched to another program - a local art school. The art school opens a variety of classes for residents in the community. My responsibilities were teaching English in a culture class and in an adult night class.

I was panicked when I get the news. I only had a weekend to prepare my class materials and the age of my target classes had changed dramatically. From kindergarten kids age 3-6 to winter break teenagers age  10-13 and an adult night class. It was a great challenge!

Time was limited. I started my preparation right after the farewell party in the kindergarten. In order to match my audiences’ age in the teenager group, I prepared more visual-based presentation, showing pictures of Chinese food and our famous festivals. Also, I dressed up in a traditional Chinese costume - Chi-Pao and created a small quiz to engage my young audience.

For the adult group, I concentrated on the more serious issue on the population problem in China, the only child policy, and the lifestyle in China. The adult students were curious about China and had a deep interest in China’s politics. One student asked me, “Do you like communism, and what is it like to live in China?” He later explained a lot about what was Poland like before the Dissolution of the Soviet Union. By opening the dialog and conducting successful cross-cultural communication, I gained a vivid understanding of the Polish culture.