My blog posts for Week 12 and 13 are late because I was in Beijing from Monday 28th November to Wednesday 6th December. Now I’m back in Duyun I can catch up with my blogging responsibilities 🙂
Monday 28th November
Aimee and I travelled to Beijing to attend a seven day TEFL training course. Neither of us had left our city unaccompanied before so we felt a bit nervous. In preparation for our first independent trip we asked the University’s Foreign Affairs Administrator to write down several useful phrases for us in Chinese. Consequently, we were able to buy two bus tickets, take two taxi journeys and board a plane all by ourselves! It was a mini miracle!
Tuesday 29th November
The first day of TEFL training went well. I liked the mix of people, who were working at a range of education establishments, and the trainer’s sense of humour and funny face-pulling.
In the evening four of us visited the 2008 Beijing Olympic Park. I didn’t think it would be that special but it was. The layout of the park and the buildings were beautiful; especially at night with all the colourful lights.
Whenever I got to a hotel I pack a swimming costume in case it has a pool or sauna. As luck would have it the hotel we were staying in had both. So I visited the sauna and made sure to frequent it as often as our training schedule permitted. I ignored the pool as you had to pay extra for it.
Wednesday 30th November
After seven hours of TEFL training, and a quiz due the following day, I stayed at the hotel to study. No adventures tonight!
Thursday 1st December
In the evening we visited Tiananmen Square. It had a lot more security than I had envisioned and at night they fence most of it off. Having said that it was still nice to walk around it and the other nearby attractions such as the National Centre for the Performing Arts.
Despite the abundant security we almost got scammed. Two ladies approached us and tried to get us to go with them to get drinks. It sounds innocent enough but there were lots of red flags that made us politely decline their offer within a few minutes. Upon later research we think it was a teahouse scam.
Friday 2nd December
Tonight the pressure was on. Whilst we’d survived three quizzes by this point, tomorrow we had to deliver a demo lesson in front of our whole class. It’s more scary to present to your peers and an expert trainer/teacher than a real class of students! So we stayed up until 2am lesson planning and making a PowerPoint presentation. We also snuck in another sauna session.
Saturday 3rd December
I’m a big believer in getting things over and done with ASAP. So Aimee and I put ourselves down to present the first demo lesson. I’d say we did well and the feedback from the trainer was positive too. We scored approximately 80 out of 100.
Sunday 4th December
Today was our last evening at the hotel which meant our last sauna 😦 Also, we had our final exam tomorrow so we had to spend the evening revising and not having fun in Beijing 😦