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“So what’s your story?”

I have probably been asked this question a hundred times. At the very beginning, it was all about explaining how I ended up teaching there and telling the new friend my bucket list items in the States. However, as time went by, the introduction got shorter and the sharing part grew much longer. That was when I realised how much I have experienced that year. But of course, my takeaways were much more than the checked items on the bucket list.

The year of teaching enabled me to achieve all I was looking forward to – teaching a new language, sharing my own culture and exploring a completely different education system. But to a teacher, being able to enjoy the autonomy to design the curriculum and ample time for daily reflection is simply priceless. I experienced the power of experiential learning on my “Cultural Fridays”. I reached out to the community to hold workshops that truly cater for learning diversities. Till this day I am still grateful for the opportunity to have discovered more blind spots as well as capacities in teaching.

Some say the best part of living abroad is connecting with local people and immersing yourself in the culture. That’s true. Going to cook-out parties, making friends with bus drivers, receiving karate training at a local dojo and joining the “Remembering Ali” bike ride couldn’t have been more memorable. However, sharing with my American friends about the Chinese culture brought my understanding to a new level. I have never been more proud of my own culture. It is equally rewarding that the overseas experience gave me the chance to spend more time with myself. Apart from knowing myself better, my another major takeaway is the growing readiness to handle ambiguities and uncertainties.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Faculty for making this teaching fellowship possible. It is wonderful that I came back with a fascinating story to share and treasure dearly.

So, what’s your story?

Chan Lai Heng, Ivy
Chinese Teaching Fellow 2015-2016
ELED Graduate 2012

Cultural Friday - “The Chopsticks Challenge”

Cultural Friday - Writing spring couplets for Chinese New Year

At the “How to make Chinese dumplings” workshop organised by the Louisville Public Library

First horse-riding with friends