Posted by: viaprograms | January 19, 2010

China Program Director Films Latest Trip to China

Tour of posts, which takes place annually in the fall, is always a fascinating trip. It provides Program Directors with an opportunity to witness volunteers in action and to to see how they are settling in a few months after arriving in their host country. It is the culmination of countless months of recruitment, interviewing, training and preparation. This past year it was particularly interesting for me as we opened several new posts in unique and somewhat remote areas of China. As volunteers began to settle in and share some of the experiences they were having at their posts, and I began to plan a trip that would essentially take me around the entire country, I knew that this would be an unforgettable experience that I would want to document. And so, I did.

This trip reminded me that person to person interactions across and between cultures is powerful and has incredible impact. What VIA does may not be changing the world, but it does without doubt change people. Students I met on this trip still talked about their former VIA teachers with such vivid fondness as they recalled how the teacher introduced them to, for example, their first Thanksgiving. In a discernible American accent, they talked about various aspects of America learned from their VIA teacher that have provided them with a broader and better understanding of the world around them. Similarly, volunteers talked about how certain values and behaviors they have witnessed in China, such as putting the group and others before yourself, have strongly influenced the way they want to interact with people in the future. Some realize that they are in the midst of a transformative experience that will help shape their futures both professionally and personally in countless ways.

This exchange of ideas, cultures, and so much more is a key component of the VIA experience and appropriately seems to be a theme that manifests itself in various different ways throughout the video. My hope is that it also conveys the diversity of the areas where we currently operate as well as the number of different disadvantaged communities we are helping to serve. Below you will find a preview of the video. The entire video can be watched on this page of the VIA website:http://www.viaprograms.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=268&Itemid=536)

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