In college, I volunteered to teach English at the local Latin American Community Center during a time where I had no idea what I wanted to do post-graduation. In the process of discovering my own talents and interests, I was also giving back by helping other members of my community improve their English skills. While there, I found that I really enjoyed teaching and had a bit of a knack for it, leading me to pursue teaching ESL full-time.
With the city’s oversight, schools and volunteer organizations connect for their mutual benefit. Students are able to test out their interests before committing many years of study or work to that field, and volunteer organizations find eager helping hands. These volunteer programs are well published and easy to find – a quick Internet search will procure all the details and contact information needed to get involved. This accessibility plays a large part in the volunteer organizations’ success.
Volunteer work is not a one-time event; it is a commitment to a cause that you find important. Volunteering is about appreciating your community and doing what you can to improve it in some way, no matter how small. By encouraging charitable causes to open themselves up to volunteers and helping potential volunteers find those causes they hold most dear, I am confident that Haikou’s community will become stronger and more close-knit.
My suggested proposals are all about improving every day life for foreigners living, working and traveling to Haikou:
A website or downloadable bus route app that includes maps in English.
Free Wi-Fi on all Haikou busses. Bus #19 has free Wi-Fi. Increased use of public transportation will ease the traffic jams.
Bus stop signage include a map of the route
Kiosks at all entry points of Hainan: Train, Bus, Ferry, Airport staffed by English speakers with maps of Haikou, Hainan in English and copies of the latest Haikou Guide
Better distribution of the Haikou Guide to foreign residents.
Emergency notifications in English sent to social media such as WeChat (i.e. typhoon updates, power outages)
International school for families with children who do not speak Chinese
English training for emergency response teams, call lines, PSB personnel.
An annual Festival of Nations held at the Hainan Provincial Museum involving foreign expats living in Haikou to showcase the diversity of the foreign population of Haikou.