by Lauren Baker

Lei Ho!! That’s “hello” in Chinese. I, Lauren Baker, just spent 6 weeks traveling around the continent of Asia! My first week was in northern China where I visited a friend who attends UGA, then I spent four weeks in Hong Kong where I taught English to middle school students, and then for the last week I traveled to Cambodia for some sight-seeing!  It was so awesome!

In my first week in northern China my friend Snow, took me to the local Chinese markets and for a grand tour of the city.  Her parents were so nice to me. Her mother took me a tailor and bought me a traditional Chinese dress called a “chee pow”.

The next four weeks is what I really went to China for.  I went with a group called English Language Institute of China and their goal is to teach English and make a positive impact on Asian people throughout the continent. I had a class of 22 students.  My job was to help their conversational English skills by not only teaching them from textbooks but also by becoming their friend. The Chinese middle schoolers adored us Americans.  My team of teachers and I, all being college-aged, took on a role similar to the “cool older sibling”.

When I wasn’t teaching, I experienced the all the excitement and chaos that the bustling city of Hong Kong has to offer, such as: battling rush hour crowds on the underground subway system, taking ferry rides to see the lights of Victoria’s Harbour, cramming into tiny noodle restaurants to enjoy some delicious local food, and bargaining with Chinese shopkeepers in the night markets of Mong Kok- one of the most crowded places on earth.

For the last week of my trip my group went to Cambodia. We spent one week there in the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.  Some of the highlights of this trip include visiting the breath-taking Angkor Wat ruins, meeting the students and faculty at Cambodia’s leading university, watching a traditional Apsara show, spending the afternoon at a local orphanage, and taking a boat ride at sunset down the ancient Mekong River.

I made lifelong friends on this trip, and I left a piece of my heart in Asia. This is an experience that I will never forget.