How We Spent a Semester in China

I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me, while we were overseas, and especially since being home with a lot of different questions. Most people ask “How was it?” “Was it what you expected?” “How was the food?” etc. But a few people have said “I want to do something like that, so how did you do it?”

So hello adventurous dreamer who wants to experience the other side of the world. This post is for you.

I’ve been trying to leave this town since the day I graduated high school. I always felt like I needed to get out of here, and was constantly researching programs like nannying in New York, studying abroad in Italy, rebuilding homes in south America, etc. I was researching similar things one day, and I found the program ILP. (International language programs) After reading about who they were, what they did, and realizing that this program was based right out of my home state, I had an overwhelming feeling that I just had to apply.

I talked to Derek that night about this program, told him the details of what it was, how much it cost, and then told him…So….that’s what I am going to do next year, do you want to join me? Without hesitation and to my surprise, he said “of course.” We looked more into it together, researched a little about the countries we could choose from, and talked to a few of our friends who were previously part of the program. A month later, we were accepted into the program and looking forward to our next adventure.

So, how does ILP work?

ILP is a volunteer program based out of Provo, Utah. It is for young adults, ages 18-25, to experience another country and culture while teaching English to kids.

Do I have to know the local language to teach the kids English?

No, before going to China the only thing I knew how to say in mandarin was “hello.” We would teach the kids our lesson plans that we prepared for that week, but the kids were not allowed to speak Chinese to us, so we did not need to know any Chinese to teach our lessons. Our “English class” was an immersion program and the point of the program was for the students to communicate in English to native English speakers that don’t have accents.

How much did you get paid?

Since ILP is a volunteer program, we were just volunteers. Which means, no salary. Since we were not paid teachers, this means that no certification or teaching experience is needed. We actually paid ILP a fee to be in the program, and that fee included our visas, flights, house, and food for the semester.

If you don’t get paid, how do you afford it?

Everyone pays for and affords ILP differently. Some people are lucky with giving parents. Some people had garage sales, go fund mes, or bake sales to raise money before they left. And some people were saving their money and making monthly payments for a year in advance. Personally, Derek and I saved our money for nine months before we left. We also had income every month from renting our house out. AND since we went to China, the tuition was buy one get one free for married couples. (SCORE.)  For four months of housing, food, adventure, and an experience we will never forget, we paid $2500. We also had to pay for all of our travel, shopping, and going out to eat (and that number is different for everyone).

How do I sign up?

If you’re interested in learning more about ILP  or signing up, you can click this link.

And if you are still wondering about certain details or need answers to certain questions, go ahead and message me or leave a comment below. I am so happy for this amazing program and the opportunities it offers to young people who just want to see and experience more, while making a difference in the life of others. (The fact that they’re cute kids is just a bonus.)

Onto the next adventure, Wren


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