Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Stories

Almost everyone who has spent some time on the GFC campus will have a number of exciting and meaningful experiences and stories to share. Everyday, close relationships are formed between students, volunteers, staff, and other individuals around the school community. Through these friendships and connections, great things can and have been accomplished. In this section, you can hear about some of the experiences of our volunteers and interns.




"I went to the right place(GFC), worked with the excellent colleagues and taught the loveliest students, so I have no regret in my life."  

-- Ching An Peng, USA


"Teaching at GFC has been an unforgettable experience. We will never forget the warm-hearted and hardworking students and the friends we have made there. " -- Joy Orton, USA


"Teaching at the GFC has been an exceptional experience...paradise for me in many ways. The students are eager to learn and I feel that I'm able to contribute to the community, at least in a little way. The campus surroundings and the individuals I've met here are beautiful, and I feel so blessed to be a part of this school. I'm looking forward to a most excellent and meaningful semester here." -- Xing Chiu, Canada


"This experience has been for me an unqualified success, and I am lucky to have been allowed to take part in so many interesting and exciting events;  I hope that my students have gained as much from having me here as I've gained from being here.  I am impressed with the modesty and comportment of the students, and their enthusiasm for the work I made them do, and those whom I have come to know well will stay in my heart as good friends.  GFC is not an ordinary school, and the students are far from ordinary pupils, and those who know me know that I am not an ordinary teacher, (in fact hardly a teacher at all), but the care, enthusiasm and respect shown me by the students has made my work easy." -- George Knight, England


"I was reminded this year to keep in mind that teaching is a job. The student teacher relationship is scared and always a delicate balance but ultimately it is a job. My job in America was to teach art and my job in China was to teach spoken English. The job descriptions differ only slightly. My lack of Chinese language was a slight a barrier, not to my teaching English, but to my complete understanding of the students. We communicated with the vocabulary of young children to middle school age, depending on the student. Most are adults and wish to express adult ideas and that can be frustrating. But, over time we developed mutual comprehension, despite some vocabulary limitations.  After all, we lived and worked together in a remote paradise where cultural and political differences don’t seem to matter much. Our biosphere thrived.

    Life was not without complications, disillusionment and some disappointment for both students and teachers but I have no regrets about my time at GFC. The school was new and still finding its way. However, the natural environment was ever beautiful, volunteer living quarters were amazing, the food was delicious and the support staff truly outstanding. Of course, the most important factor in any school is the student body. I can only speak for the second year students and the high school students who were my population and with whom I leave a part of my heart.

    Many of them were the first of their family to venture away from the villages of Guizhou - sometimes walking miles in the mountains just to get to a bus. They were incredibly brave. Some lacked self confidence, as a result of poverty and related factors, but despite being beaten down by circumstance many will stand tall and make an impact. I am sure that some of my students will be a catalyst for change in China’s education system and workforce. Their children will grow up in a very different world. They will be on the forefront of change.

    The unique opportunity for the GFC students to interact with so many teachers from all over the world has changed their perceptions and many students will leave this school with a desire to travel, volunteer and see more of the world for themselves. That window to the world is our greatest gift to the students.

    For me, China has brought my life full circle. I was able to visit the places of my childhood stories and walk the land where my father and grandfather were raised. If there is time and opportunity I will return someday. I will miss China and all my wonderful students. Unfortunately, I must add that I will not miss the early morning music selections on the speakers outside my window. I never want to hear the Sounds of Silenceagain. Trust me, “hello darkness, my old friend” is not good wake-up music. But even that makes me smile in remembrance." -- Chaley Ayers, USA