A Level student to embark on Chinese teaching adventure

An inspiring A Level student from North Tyneside has been selected to embark on an adventure of a lifetime teaching English in China.

Belinda Campbell, 17, from North Shields, is currently in year two of A Level Maths, Further Maths and French at Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College.

The former Norham High School student will be jetting off to China next summer to begin her teaching placement at a primary school in China.

Belinda said: “I don’t know where in China I am going yet, but I know that I will be teaching primary school aged children English. There are currently six teaching projects going on in China so it will be one of them.”

Belinda will have to raise £6,200 to cover insurance, rent and immunisations before she can go on the adventure of a lifetime.

She said: “I didn’t know that I could take a gap year at 18, until Rachel from Project Trust came to the sixth form. After the presentation, I knew that it was something that I wanted to sign up for.

”I’m going to start fundraising soon and hopefully organise some events. The Project Trust will support me and help me to fundraise.”

Project Trust volunteers work in schools across China, from the North West to the North East. Through the Chinese Education Institute Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) China gap year volunteers work in schools to help improve the level of English among students.

Belinda was put through a selection process with the charity on the Isle of Coll. During the week selection process candidates learn about the countries and projects where Project Trust operates. At the end of the course candidates choose the countries which interest them most. They are then matched to a project.

Belinda will be given a mentor during a 12 month trip, who will support her throughout her placement and teach her to speak mandarin. Being a tonal language, and a completely different alphabet, Mandarin Chinese is a real challenge for volunteers.

Belinda said: “I have to go to one more training week on the Isle of Coll just before I go, but I am excited. More excited than nervous.”

Project Trust sends around 300 British school-leavers each year to spend 12 months abroad. They volunteer in orphanages or teach English as a second language while living with a host family and immersing themselves in the local community. Volunteers can be sent to countries in Africa, Latin America and Oceania as well as Asia, some projects include teaching GCSE level maths and science.

All volunteers departing on a long-term placement overseas with Project Trust will gain a Level 3 ‘Foundation Year in Global Volunteering and Citizenship’ as part of their fundraising and year overseas, which is quite highly valued by universities and employers.

After 12 months abroad Belinda is hoping to study Computing and French at university.