Words from Past Interns

At orphanages, volunteers fulfill all sorts of roles: English teachers, piano instructors, translators, friends and playmates, brothers and sisters. In just a few short weeks, volunteers not only teach the orphans many lessons, but also learn many lessons from these young children. Below are some experiences from past interns.

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HCC 2010 Internship Video
Watch online here.
They had this amazing unconditional acceptance of each other... I never saw a child feel like they were inferior because they couldn't do something one of their friends could."
 
- Isabella Wechsler '13

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Teachers and Buddies
We were buddies, role models, teachers, counselors, visitors, ambassadors, and most importantly... older brothers and sisters.
- Dexter Louie '10, Luoyang 2008

One of my main roles at Bethel (a foster home for blind orphans) was as a piano instructor. My students' enthusiasm for learning was infectious. Day by day they progressed and by the end of my stay the advanced students had learned to play with both hands, and a girl named Theresa had even started using the foot pedal! Besides teaching piano, I also taught English and French, recounted highly-embellished versions of children stories, accompanied the children to their choir performances, and acted as resident translator.
- Helen Yang '12, Bethel

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A Child's Courage and Curiosity
This summer I met some of the most courageous, most appreciative, most patient, and most thoughtful people I have ever encountered. And that's just talking about the kids under 10!”
- Brittany Lin '09, Luoyang 2006

One day I took two year old Kaihui to a nearby park, and we when we went under the willow tree, she looked up and smiled so wide that I looked up too—and it was really beautiful, because you could see bits of blue sky glinting between the swaying branches. I felt like being with Kaihui made me see things as she saw it. I realized how new everything was to her; and it felt new to me, too.”
- Daphne Xiao '11, Baoji 2008

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A Goodbye Kiss
I will never forget our last day in Saiqi, especially when six year old Sisi suddenly kissed me on the cheek. In the near future, I hope to be able to visit every single one of the adorable, amazing kids in Saiqi Orphanage again.”
- Elaine Liu '10, Saiqi 2007

We were hanging out with a handful of the older kids watching music videos and making beaded bracelets. Out of the blue, this mundane scenario took a heartwarming turn. One of my favorite children, a beautiful and somewhat impish 10-year-old girl came and sat on my lap, kissed me on the cheek, and told me “Wo ai ni” (“I love you”). Her words made me feel what a tangible impact I had on their lives, and I feel so happy to have been able to brighten their lives and love them back.”
- Alexa Stern '12, Luoyang 2009

 

Below: The first "wintership" volunteers Skype with children from the Jiaozuo orphanage when they returned to Harvard.