With week four in the books, our team is now officially halfway through with our Duke Engage experience, and I am just starting to realize how fast it is flying by. As a result, I believe the saying “time flies when you are having fun” is true because I have enjoyed every minute of being a part of the Zhuhai program. At this point, the entirety of the team, from teachers and students in China to those representing Duke University, has formed a tight-knit community; I am excited to see how our relationships will continue to develop.
Regarding the team spread across the United States, we have had more bonding activities recently than ever before. From celebrating birthdays to having game nights to brainstorming more strategies for improving our classrooms, we are continuing to grow alongside each other. Also, team meals are becoming normal before our weekly meetings for those in Durham during this time. While I am not on campus this summer, it is still nice to know that members of the program are making efforts to spend time together outside of class sessions and meetings. Also, forming these closer bonds makes the idea of meeting in person when everyone returns to campus in the fall feel more realistic. Altogether, I am truly proud to be a part of this team and cannot wait to reunite with everyone in August.
Moreover, due to the sporadic internet issues we have encountered, we have also started recording lessons with peers who we do not get to work with weekly. This amazing idea was thought of by our leaders, Professor Hsiao-Mei and Sara, in collaboration with the administrators at the schools we work with. These recordings will ensure that regardless of anybody’s internet on a given night, the students will be able to receive lessons and practice their English-speaking skills. Furthermore, the full team has also started planning to create a final celebration for everyone to take part in through music and dance. We have already divided our team into song, editing, and choreograph committees and continuously share our work with administrators in Zhuhai to keep everyone on the same page. Although planning an enjoyable “goodbye” is bitter-sweet, we still have half of the program to go, and I do not believe that our teamwork and communication will come to an end in July.
This picture was taking during our last team meeting while we were playing code names. The in-person people can be seen in the top left screen of the zoom alongside everyone who is remote. This image displays our willingness to not let physical barriers prevent us from coming together in a meaningful way.