How my Global Teach in China Shaped Me

Ben Rigby, 24, took part in our Global Teach programme whilst he was still pursuing his Geography degree at the University of Southampton. Find out how the experience has shaped him as an individual and why he would recommend it to anyone.

I had never heard of Dalian before I went there. None of my friends had. It seemed like the back of beyond, a small provincial town in a faraway country. Which made it a bit of a surprise when I showed up in a thriving metropolis with a population larger than Rome or Berlin.

This was just one of a huge number of things that surprised me during my AIESEC exchange. I was surprised how rewarding teaching could be. I was surprised I could buy beer for 30p. And I was surprised that it’s possible to make lifelong friends in such a short space of time.

I’d been travelling before, but this was different. I’d never stayed in the same place so long. Dalian began to feel like home; I watched my classes improve and I found a great deal of pride in the impact I had. This ranged from watching a shy kid finally have the courage to go up and present in front of the class, to helping adult students achieve the grades they needed to pursue their dream of studying abroad.

I won’t lie, I got a fair bit out of it too. The flexibility to re-plan a lesson when a teaching method you’ve chosen isn’t working how you envisaged turns out to be a skill that is highly transferable to the workplace. And the ability to stand up in front of a group of people (some of which are showing very little interest in what you have to say!) and excite them about a topic has come in handy once or twice too.

I wouldn’t change a thing about my AIESEC exchange. And there are so many options across the AIESEC network, that I have absolutely no doubt that the perfect experience is out there waiting for you to find it.