Each year in July, WCPC partners with CNEC Partners International of Australia to send a team to conduct a two-week English Language Summer Camp for high school students in China.
Mission: English Language Summer Camp.
Location: A small town in Guangxi Province (aka Camp City), China, about 7,000 miles from San Francisco and 400 miles west of Hong Kong.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the purpose of the mission?
- Why is Guangxi, China chosen as the mission destination?
- Can you tell me something about the schools and teaching environment?
- What are the qualifications to serve and do I need to speak Mandarin?
- Where do we stay during this mission trip?
- What should we expect of Camp City, its people and weather?
- What about food, drinks and other creature-comfort items?
- What do I do on the weekend when there is no class?
- What discretionary expenses should I budget for?
- How do I get there?
- What about spiritual and practical preparation?
- How much does this trip cost?
Q: What is the purpose of the mission?
A: To impact the lives of the high school students by teaching them conversational English as well as the values of honor, trust, love, forgiveness, honesty, and redemption. Students learn through participation in pronunciation drills, games, activities, projects, movies and multi-media presentations.
Q: Why is Guangxi, China chosen as the mission destination?
A: Guangxi province is an Autonomous Region which 300 ethnic minority groups call home. Due to geographic and linguistic barriers, 98% of the people have not heard the Gospel. In the last few years, a special relationship has been established between Partners International and local government officials. This relationship resulted in the founding of the English Language Camp. The Camp is held in a small town which we conveniently call Camp City since we are not able to divulge the actual town name.
Q: Can you tell me something about the schools and teaching environment?
A: Depending on the year and the number of foreign teachers
participating, the camp usually takes place in 2 to 3 high schools located 5-10 minutes from the hotel. Each school selects about 300 students (out of 5,000) to attend the English Conversation Summer Camp. Class size is about 20-22, with at least 3 teachers per class. The school facilities are good by western standards. Classrooms are bright, airy and large, although there is no air conditioning, only fans. The teachers’ lounge, where we meet and debrief daily, does have air conditioning.
Q: What are the qualifications to serve and do I need to speak Mandarin?
A: If you speak English and you receive a call to serve, you’re qualified. This language camp emphasizes only conversational English. Speaking Mandarin is not required or necessary, although most classes do have one Mandarin speaker to translate difficult concepts. No teaching experience is required. All volunteers are trained prior to the trip and receive a teacher’s handbook which contains all that is needed to conduct classes. Other team members will assist and co-teach at all times.
Q: Where do we stay during this mission trip?
A: International missionaries converge (most on Friday; some arrive Saturday) onto Nanning, the gateway city and provincial capital, on the immediate weekend prior to the Camp. While at Nanning, we stay in a western style hotel until Sunday afternoon. We register, introduce and debrief here before classes begin. After we arrive at the Camp City on Sunday afternoon, we stay at a large hotel with air conditioning. Both hotels are comfortable and efficient. We return to Nanning post camp, for debriefing and fellowship before flying home.
Q: What should we expect of Camp City, its people and weather?
A: Camp City, although small in Chinese terms, is buzzing with traffic, bicycles, motorized tri-cycles, small trucks and cars. While not in the same league as Beijing, the town is full of life and is safe. The people are ethnic minorities with their own dialects, although Mandarin is spoken widely. Local people are extremely friendly and merchants honest. The citizenry appreciates the mission’s presence in town. The gratitude is particularly expressed by owners of restaurants, print shops, laundry services, eye-glass shops and convenient stores. Not to mention motorized tri-cycle taxi drivers. All in all, a missionary’s life in Camp City is good, fulfilling, purposeful and fun. Camp City has a humid subtropical climate. In July, the average high temperature is 91° F (33° C) and the average low is 77° F (25° C). Frequent rain and cloudy skies help keep temperatures lower.
Q: What about food, drinks and other creature-comfort items?
A: In Nanning, a city with 2 million people, creature-comfort concerns are a non-issue. Many US businesses are located here, such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC and Wal-Mart. Local food is good and fresh. While in Nanning, we have most of our meals in the hotel, since they are covered by the “ground fee”. Hotel food is delicious and more than adequate.
Tap water is safe for brushing teeth and washing, but not for drinking. Drinking water should be from bottles only (mission supplies). We drink lots of it to avoid dehydration, a practice that applies for the entire trip.
In Camp City, the hotel food (mainly breakfast and lunch) is adequate. Freshly baked bread and hard boiled eggs are the norm for breakfast. If you want coffee, you should bring your own. Lunch varies and is good. All food served is Chinese. There are many restaurants in town. Prices are low by our standards. A mango juice bar nearby is a place frequented by missionaries at night. Same day laundry service is available near the hotel.
Students have their room and board at the school. Teachers’ dinners on week days are served in take-out boxes at the school. This creates an opportunity for teachers and students to sit together and share food, build friendship and fellowship. These moments are treasured by students and teachers alike.
Q: What do I do on the weekend when there is no class?
A: There are organized excursions and visitations outside of Camp City. Some go to visit a sponsored village. Others check out different mission projects, such as a new school, a new bridge, water reservoir, flood relief and so forth. Each year, we may witness different Christian works-in-progress projects around the region. Excursions are great opportunities to personally see how God’s love has impacted life in isolated villages.
Some teachers may join with the students to explore the town and surrounding area, or even end the day with a simple dining-out experience, or an ice cream cone. Everyone enjoys such outings, and speaking English is strictly enforced. Students are also introduced to the Book Café where they can read a book, the Bible, or play musical instruments. The Book Café is a Partners International project and is managed by a local Pastor. This project provides an intermediate step in introducing the students to Christ.
Q: What discretionary expenses should I budget for?
A: Aside from major items of travel and ground fees, discretionary items may include eating out, laundry, gifts, donations for fireworks and class/project materials. All things are inexpensive in Camp City. You may also want to budget for some souvenirs to bring home, as ethnic arts and crafts are popular.
Q: How do I get there?
A: The WCPC team generally transits at Hong Kong or Shenzhen, connecting to another flight for Nanning, the capital of Guangxi. A China Visa is needed. While in Nanning, the international team registers, gets acquainted and forms teaching teams. Much of the class and project materials needed are brought from the US, while some class materials are purchased on site.
On Sunday, after morning worship and lunch, the entire international team is transported by bus for the 2.5 hour trip to Camp City. The landscape en-route is magnificent, punctuated with limestone hills and narrow valleys. The entire team is housed at a hotel.
Q: What about spiritual and practical preparation?
A: Partners International provides comprehensive materials that cover pre-trip, during mission, and post-trip training. Participants may self train with the provided written materials and DVD, or train in a group.
Q: How much does this trip cost?
A: For the 2010 Summer Camp, Partners International charged each participant a base fee of US$1,050.00, almost all of which was fundraised. The individual participant is responsible for his/her own airfare (varies but estimated to be $1,200 to $1,500), Visa application fees ($150), vaccines (varies, if needed) and miscellaneous expenses (such as travel and health insurance, gifts for students and personal items). The China Mission Team organizes an annual fund-raiser to help support this cause.