Our last day here could be summed up as bittersweet. Some of us will be doing extended travel while only two of us will be traveling back to the United States.
We were invited to attend the closing ceremony. The overall theme of the evening communicated that this wasn’t a goodbye but a see you later. There were many speeches given about the future of this program and how impactful it has been for some students and faculty. Two of our students were asked to represent us and describe their experience. Angie’s speech really resonated with me! I think she perfectly summed up how most if not all of us feel for the amount of hospitality we have received! It went something a little like this...
“Having the opportunity to travel here to Mianyang and interact with this community at SWUST has been a life changing experience. Working with the preschool children has allowed me to grow in my abilities as both a teacher and as a student. Both through observing the children, and in being observed in my teaching, I have become more self aware in my actions and able to better interact with those around me. Through experiencing the differences between this culture and my own, I have learned to better accept and embrace different perspectives. When I return home I will work to continue to challenge my perspectives of the world. And seek out opportunities that allow me to experience new cultures in the future. On behalf of my cohort from San Francisco State University, I would like to thank the teachers, faculty, and students of SWUST for giving us this wonderful opportunity to teach your children and experience your culture over these past three weeks.”
From there we received individual certificates in honor of the completion of the program. This isn’t a goodbye dear friends in China, but see you later!