“I’m super happy to be part of Reach & Teach”

My name is Lina. I am originally from Germany but I’ve lived in England-Ireland in between and now I study in the Hague. I study at LUC, Leiden University College, and I study global challenges. I am a first year, and I love it so far. I would say the biggest difference here in the Netherlands is the bikes, the biking culture. I love it so much, I love biking here. Also I feel like the culture of the Netherlands is more sustainable, than in other countries I’ve lived so far, which I’m enjoying.

When I was 17 I worked in a café for refugees for a year and a half, which was a great experience. When I was in Ireland I was also volunteering with people who have intellectual disabilities. So when I arrived here in the summer I felt like it would be a good thing to get involved in the community and find a volunteering thing that I would like to do. Then someone from the university led me to an online page and that’s how I found Reach&Teach.

I’m quite new to the Hague myself and because of COVID I haven’t been out there as much but it is a very international environment. I do feel very accepted in that regard and everyone is open to speaking English if my Dutch fails, so that’s a good thing for newcomers. Now I teach A1 English, even though its online I feel like I’ve really made a connection with the students. Every week we get excited to see each other and we have things to tell each other. They’ve also started sharing their lives with me, which is such an amazing thing to be part of. I have 4 students in my class.

This is my first time teaching so I never knew anything but doing it online, but I have to say I would much prefer seeing the students in real life. Sometimes I want a blackboard and I want to draw something so I can point and show them things, but I just cant. I’m constantly battling my own fatigue, because I have such bad screen fatigue. Also, finding new interesting things all the time, trying to keep it interesting for them and not doing the same thing over and over again, that’s hard. At the start sometimes we would just sit there and stare at each other and not know what to do. But its improved so much, because now I feel very confident that they can understand me and I understand them. So that’s something I’ve seen improving for sure.

I think English is such an important tool, in any aspect of life. Even if they want to communicate with people on the street English is going to help them so much, and A1 is really just the start of a language learning process, but you have to start somewhere. And I think if they just lay the foundations so that hopefully they can continue, that will definitely help them.

I really hope my students will have more confidence in their communication skills, because all of them have a lot to say and when I get them talking they have such interesting stories and ideas but they seem scared to talk English and put themselves out there. Because they are scared of making mistakes, and I really want them to lose that inhibition.

I’m super happy I’m part of Reach&Teach, I think its such a cool idea and then the way you organize it and all of you are so young, its really amazing.

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