I had an immensely positive day yesterday, and I just wanted to briefly share my experiences with you.
As some of you may know, I’ve been tutoring a Korean student in English for a while now. Just before Christmas, she had an unexpected death in the family, and I didn’t see her for a while. However, we’re back into the swing of things now, and yesterday we had a lesson I’ll remember for a while.
In the previous lesson, my student had been explaining some Korean Christmas and New Year traditions to me, which included some board games. So this week, she brought some games along, and explained them to me. Then, she pulled out a long piece of looped string to show me something. I could tell what she was going for, and I took it from her hands and started the game that a lot of people have unknowingly stored in their minds, Cat’s Cradle. My student was totally shocked that I knew how to do it. But then, a library staff member came over and commented how she had played it as a child, and joined in! So we had a Korean, a Brit, and an Italian American sharing an almost-forgotten childhood game that requires no words. It was a really lovely moment.
But after that, my student said she wanted to speak about the aforementioned family death, as she was now ready to talk about it without getting emotional. I won’t share the details, but she spent over an hour speaking about what happened, and I was incredibly happy to listen and make the occasional comment. She mentioned how she was so happy to have me to speak to, because she doesn’t have too many friends out in California. It was a very moving experience, and I feel very lucky to be a willing pair of ears to this wonderful woman.
And if that wasn’t enough, I didn’t have to correct her English once. She didn’t stumble, she knew what she wanted to say, took her time, and was confident. That was especially rewarding for me, as it seems I’m not a terrible tutor!
Volunteering was something I rarely did in the UK. There isn’t really much of a system that enables people to do it easily. But thanks to fantastic sites like Volunteer Match, I’ve had some of the most rewarding experiences of my life in the last few months. I’m not saying it’s something that everyone should do, I’ve just really enjoyed my time helping others. I’m sorry I didn’t make the time for it before.