Teaching linguistics in Hong Kong

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Hiya everyone! My name is Max, and this summer I took part in a program called Summerbridge. This program provides free summer education for low income secondary students in Hong Kong. I was brought on as a teacher, and for 5 weeks I taught linguistics to a dozen or so students.

My teaching experience at Summerbridge was an experience like no other. For the first time I taught a group of students in a classroom just by myself. While I was a little nervous at first, by the end of the summer I greatly enjoyed having my own class and teaching material that I studied at university. Summerbridge gave its teachers almost unlimited flexibility in the classroom, so I was able to create my lesson plans from scratch. This allowed me to teach linguistics, a subject that most students have little to no experience with. While this made teaching more challenging, I enjoyed seeing as the students progressed through the material and challenging themselves to learn.

Summerbridge is also a unique organization, in that they focus a lot on the non academic side of personal development as well. Everyday during the start and end of school, students and teachers would put on skits, play games, and chat with the entire site. There were also many cheers that students and teachers would do to get everyone excited about learning and showing bravery in the classroom and beyond. I am not a particularly loud or overly energetic person, so being put into this environment really pushed me to become more bold in front of others and to become a mentor for these students.

Spending this summer in Hong Kong was also in itself a very different and amazing experience. I lived in a flat in one of the most densely populated areas of the city, which was quite a change from Morningside. While walking to the bus or subway I always encountered swarms of people on the streets, something that only happens during the Fringe in Edinburgh. Hong Kong is such a lively and vibrant city because of this, and the city has so much to offer for whatever lifestyle one chooses.

Overall this summer at Summerbridge and living in Hong Kong has been truly special. The bonds I made with the other teachers in the program and the students I know will last a lifetime. The Summerbridge culture does a great job of fostering these ties and relationships, and I already miss this summer dearly!

I wish everyone a great start at uni and I’ll see you in Edinburgh!

-Max Dunn

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