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Student Volunteers From The Beijing Center Teach English to Local Community Children

The commitment to service-learning has long been a core practice and value for students at The Beijing Center. This semester, the Spring 2021 students had the opportunity to visit an organization that The Beijing Center has collaborated with for years, Five Loaves and Two Fish.

At Five Loaves and Two Fish, the dedicated volunteers continue to support local communities of migrant children in Beijing, by providing them a safe space to improve their education and nurture their well-being, as their families work towards a better living. As part of this community service, The Beijing Center students participate by extending their knowledge to help the children learn more by running lively activities for the children on the weekends.

On arrival, the students were welcomed by Fr. Zevola Giovanni, the organization’s founder, and devoted supporter. While The Beijing Center’s Executive Director, Dr. Simon Koo, and Fr. Giovanni exchanged a few words, the students became acquainted with the children they would be teaching for the day.

The Beijing Center students and staff came prepared with a lesson plan to teach the children English. The lesson plan included an engaging rhythmic children’s cartoon in English, which presented new vocabulary words that were used in the following game. After watching the cartoon, the children were able to better understand and memorize the new words, and their knowledge was tested in a fun banter game of guessing words in English. The students were able to teach the children new words in an interactive way, by using their English skills to help them practice speaking and reading in another language. This lingual delight left the children energized and student-volunteers inspired by the positive influence they created.

Through such service-learning activities, which are part of the academic curriculum at The Beijing Center, students are able to develop holistic perspectives by encountering and engaging with marginalized communities, while also providing an invaluable experience to children who greatly benefit from additional and diverse learning activities.

Founded in 1998, The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (TBC) is a center of higher education in mainland China committed to fostering mutual understanding between China and other cultures through cultural exchange, education, and research. What makes us unique is our placement in a long and storied tradition of Jesuit education, one that teaches us that true cultural engagement starts first with friendship. To learn more, visit or email [email protected].