For one adventurous student at The Sixth Form College, Solihull a year-long placement, teaching English to children aged between 10-14 years of age in the People’s Republic of China, beckons.
Marcus Rhodes (aged 17, from Balsall Common) has secured the Gap year trip with international charity Project Trust. He got his place after getting through a challenging selection process last month, when he travelled to the Hebridean island of Coll for a series of activities. These included teaching exercises, research, teamwork activities and physical challenges. However, the challenge is not over; Marcus now has to raise £5,400 to pay for the trip.
Marcus has set up an online Virgin Money Giving web page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MarcusRhodes, where donations and sponsorship can be given. He is also organising several fundraising events, including a cheese and wine tasting evening, a Scottish Country Dancing Night, bake sales and a Race Night.
Marcus, who is just coming to the end of his first year at College studying A levels in English Language, Economics, Modern History and Mathematics, hopes to raise the money in time to start his year abroad in September 2013. He explains why he chose China for this exciting venture.
“In the West, China is more familiar to us than ever before,” he explained. “It’s impossible to open a newspaper without seeing China mentioned somewhere. However, it can be easy to forget that this is not experiencing the real China. The real China is home to over 200 million people living in poverty and with an English-speaking population of just 0.83%. China relies on local government to fund health and education. The result has been that poor villages cannot afford good services and poor households cannot afford the high cost of basic services. Coupled with a dismantling of the welfare system, similar to the UK, workers can no longer rely on the ‘iron rice bowl’. It is now more than ever that the people of the real China need to be helped.
“My personal fascination with China began five years ago when I was first given the opportunity to learn Mandarin. As I began to learn the language, I found myself growing more and more enthralled. These lessons provided a window for me to observe the deep culture and many customs of China. Chinese culture can appear bizarre and confusing with little similarity to life as we know it and this will certainly present a challenge.”