Two SJC Long Island alumnae traveled to China July 9–21 to lead a teachers’ training course for Chinese English teachers.
Emily Davies ’14 of Islip, New York, and Alyssa Patterson ’13 of Massapequa, New York, taught the educators how to better teach the English language to their students.
Patterson, an avid traveler, knew she wanted to teach abroad this summer. But after researching different programs to see which were available during her summer break, she found that most were either filled or conducted during the school year.
“I remembered seeing my sorority sister Emily’s Facebook status,” Patterson, an elementary school teacher at Amityville Union Free School District, said. “Emily was committed to teaching abroad in China for the summer. Thankfully, a teacher had dropped out of that program and there was an opening. So I applied, interviewed and got the job!”
Davies and Patterson were both skeptical about visiting a foreign country where neither of them had ever been – where they wouldn’t know anyone but each other and where they would be unfamiliar with the language and culture. And after learning that their placements were four hours apart, both thought about backing out of the trip at the last minute. But they faced their fears and went — and they’re very glad they did.
“I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” said Davies, a second-grade teacher at the Evergreen Charter School in Hempstead. “I was very anxious/apprehensive about going, and was regretting my decision. Once I got there and actually started teaching, my mind quickly changed and I enjoyed every second.”
I didn’t think that in 20 days, I would have made such incredible bonds and friendships that would make saying goodbye so unbelievably hard.” —Alyssa Patterson ’13
“I went into this not expecting to make the friendships that I did and the relationships that I did with my class,” Patterson said. “I didn’t think that in 20 days, I would have made such incredible bonds and friendships that would make saying goodbye so unbelievably hard. As a teacher, I myself am always learning. I learned a great deal from my students as they did from me.”
Go for It
Davies, who taught at the No. 2 experimental primary school in Shuyang, highly recommends anyone hesitant about studying abroad to just “GO FOR IT!”
“My biggest takeaway personally was that it’s okay to step out of my comfort zone,” Davies shared. “This was so out of character for me, but I’m so happy I did it. It was an amazing experience.”
Patterson, who never got the chance to study abroad while in college, has been making up for it since graduating. She has since traveled to Amsterdam, Belgium, France, Italy, England, Spain, Thailand, Ireland, Iceland and now China.
“This was one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far,” Patterson said. “Don’t be afraid to try something different and/or alone. That’s what life is all about — stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Trust me, you won’t regret it. I walked away with amazing memories, awesome experiences and friendships that will last a lifetime.”