In December 2017, the overall WOHAA winners for 2016-17 Team Oak travelled to Chennai for what would be an unforgettable experience of teaching and culture. They were in for a surprise this year as the 2015-16 overall winning team EduNation would also be joining them! On the long journey from the UK to Chennai, the teams were looking forward not only to meeting and teaching the students in Chennai, but also to learning from them and their unique experience.

Day 1: The teams were given a tour around the school, and were immediately captivated by the grounds on which it lay. Both teams immediately noticed the school’s focus on positivity and the harmonious environment this fostered. Following the tour, they were given the opportunity to jump straight into teaching, which they had prepared for and thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Day 2: The first full day of teaching was met with excitement; as well as teaching curriculum subjects like Maths, and Biology, EduNation and Oak involved themselves in the students’ games sessions. As in everything else, the Chennai students excelled at sports, and our teams also learnt some new games along the way!

Day 3: This day involved a mixture of teaching and absorbing culture for the teams. They met the Headmistress of the school as well as other key staff members, gaining an insight into the hard work that goes into running the school at its current high standard. Afterwards, they began to explore the vast culture and architecture of India. They saw extravagant temples, amongst other things, and were astounded at the amount that India had to offer - even more than they had previously imagined.

Day 4: This was our teams’ final day at the school, and they spent the morning teaching and talking to their newfound friends, making sure that they would keep in touch in the future. The Chennai students had organised a cultural show to display the talents of themselves and our volunteers. The students blew our teams away with performances ranging from the fine arts to unbelievable feats in yoga. Our teams were presented with gifts at the end of the show to express the students’ gratitude for the time they had spent at their school, and engaging in every aspect of school life. It really was an experience that the volunteers will cherish throughout their lives.

Team Oak expressed the life-changing nature of the trip, saying: “Leaving the school was a difficult task but we managed it, saying farewell to all our new companions, and getting ready to go home. The trip was an amazing, once in a lifetime, and unforgettable experience.”

And Team EdNuation summed up their impressions of the Chennai students in a few sentences: “What we found particularly compelling was the attitude that the children had during our lessons. Despite some of them speaking limited English, they were all incredibly engaged. They were so eager to learn, attentive to anything we said and had a real excitement to find out about our lives. We were also inspired by how satisfied they were with their lives and their determinations and motivations for succeeding in the future. We are very grateful to have received this beneficial opportunity and urge others to get involved in similar projects as we learnt so much from ours.”

 

Want to hear more? Head to our Instagram to hear the teams' video diaries of their experience!