Posted by: viaprograms | February 15, 2011

VIA Welcomes a New Asia Programs Intern

Xinlei in Japan on her recent trip through Asia

As application period draws to a close for VIA’s year-long volunteer programs in Asia, we are excited to welcome a new intern in out San Francisco office, Xinlei Du.  After graduating from U.C. Irvine,  Xinlei worked at a mediation and arbitration firm and pursued her teaching credential. Most recently, she has taught in Guatemala and Seoul.

Why are you excited to be joining VIA?
What drew me to VIA, is that it provides such a unique volunteer abroad opportunity. The program allows individuals to participate in a such dynamic cross cultural exchange, with strong support from VIA reps in country. It’s an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and create a new home for yourself across the world. There’s something so exciting about that! I loved every minute of my experiences abroad, so it’s great to be a part of this organization. I’m looking forward to help out VIA in any way that I can.
You recently returned from work and travels in Asia. Can you share some favorite memories?
There are so many memorable moments from my travels around Asia. I had an amazing year living and teaching in Seoul! My students were so bright and so sweet. I also made wonderful friends during the year. I loved the food, the people, and the culture in Korea. I had such a blast watching sumo wrestling in Japan. I will never forget my 5-hour motorbike ride through a torrential downpour from Hue to Hoi An in Vietnam. Then there was the petrifying cave exploration adventure in the Philippines that involved swimming, climbing, and squeezing myself through tiny crevices in a dark, wet cave. I ate my way through the night markets of Taiwan. The Temples of Angkor in Cambodia took my breath away. I’d love to go back and explore some more countries.
As a teacher, any advice for our volunteers to use in the classroom?
Patience and flexibility are key. Often times I’d find that a lesson would not go the way that I had envisioned it in my head. It’s important not to get frustrated and to learn from the experience in order to improve next time. Also, students learn and absorb information in different ways. It’s helpful to differentiate your instruction to accommodate the learning needs of all your students. It’s also a good idea to set some clear classroom rules when you first start. Develop your own classroom management plan and be firm with your rules and classroom procedures. Get to know your students and have fun!

Welcome, Xinlei!


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