Education Sustainable Development
Congratulations on being matched as a trainee to participate in project Education for Sustainable
Development (ESD) in AIESEC Mainland China! We welcome you with open arms and look forward to both
learning from you, and helping you to learn more yourself! AIESEC in Mainland China is a new AIESEC
country full of challenges and opportunities, and we can’t wait to share it with you! Best of luck for in your
preparation, and we look forward to working and partying with you soon!
The following is designed to help you prepare for your traineeship experience in AIESEC Mainland China.
Specially, this is intended for you to get a better understanding about project Education for Sustainable
Development (ESD). Please use it as a resource to discover what kinds of questions you need to be asking
yourself and your host LC to make the most of your time with us!
AIESEC Mainland China
ESD Project History
The High School Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) project started in Spring 2007 with round 1;
round 2 took place in Autumn 2007, and round 3 in Spring 2008 and round 4 in Autumn 2008. Each round
takes a few months to prepare and implementation is over a 2-3 month period. The project has been of
variable success depending primarily on a) the schools and b) the volunteer trainees. We are now trying to
ensure that the trainees are better selected, better prepared and better trained as well as being well looked
after. We are also ensuring that participating schools are committed to the program; giving us enough time
with the students to have an impact on them and keep the trainees happy.
Each round is different and each round we continue to make the project better and better. We are very
particular on trying to make this project as good as we possibly can. The upcoming round should be close to
'perfect' with new minimum criteria developed from previous lessons learned, new partnerships developed
and so on.
Upcoming round of ESD (Spring 2009Autumn 2008)
We are now preparing for round 54 with selection of partner schools and suitable trainees. We are aiming for
around 30 or so 30-35 trainees and expecting trainees to arrive to arrive in 2 batches. The first will arrive
before 8th Septemberat the beginning of March, when the 1st training will start. The second will arrive before
22nd September when the 2nd (identical) training will start. The training will last 1 week and focus on 2 main
areas: 1) knowledge on various SD topics (i.e. water, urbanization, migration, trade, consumption, HIV) and 2)
ability to teaching skills. There will also be information on the project details, the impact measurement system,
time to practice teaching and time to have fun and bond as a team. In the past the training has often been a
highlight for most of the trainees -but it is not an easy week!
Trainees will be able to choose which batch they want to be a part of (depending on their timing preference).
Trainees will not get a preference on location. The project will take part in 4-5 cities: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai
and, Xi'an and Wuhan, possibly with one batch of training taking place in Beijing for trainees in North China
and another batch in Shanghai for trainees in Middle China. It is not yet decided which training will be when
and the project will be broadly similar in all cities. There are benefits and disadvantages for being in each city
(and the experience you have will vary by class and school, rather than city), so trainees should not to specify
preferences -as this will make it harder for us to match and organize.
Trainees will spend about 1 or 2 hours a day teaching classes over the 6-7 weeks. The rest of the time will be
preparing and possibly doing cultural activities with students or teaching English. The teaching English
components are not yet confirmed, but we are anticipating this will take place as a way to generate income to
pay for the cost of the program. This will depend on the schools and the profile of individual trainees. There
may also be opportunities to volunteer in local NGOs and do various other activities. Once you apply and are
selected we will discuss this with you when we allocate trainees to cities (depending on trainees dates and
The project will finish around the middle or end of AprilNovember, depending on which batch and trainees
will be able to travel or do whatever they want. There will also be a 1 week national holiday around 1st
AIESEC Mainland China
October when trainees can travel/sight see as there will be no classes.
Detailed Job Description
Arrival and Training:
After arriving in China you will attend 1 week of training, this will focus on a) knowledge of SD and b)
facilitating skills. After the training you will have developed some skills and be equipped with the knowledge
and ability to use the curriculum (that is developed especially for this program). There will be between 15-30
trainees attending the training, which will be intense but interactive. You will learn a lot and find it very useful.
It is advised to do some preparatory reading beforehand (as advised in the preparation guide)., which can be
Classes and activities at Schools:
You will be teaching around 1-2 classes of SD each day; ideally you will teach those same 2 classes of students
every day (1 lesson each per day, each lesson about 45 minutes) for 2 weeks. So over 2 weeks you will teach
about 20 lessons. There will be other activities as well, including some English corners (a time/place where
students come to practice their English), Cultural presentations and other activities which will vary by school.
Every 2-3 weeks you will switch school; since you will live at the schools you will have to change
In most cases, you will live at the school in dormitories. Sometimes these are teacher dormitories with 1-2
people to a room, though sometimes they will be 4 or more. The dormitories are generally pretty nice but we
ask that (as this is a DT) you do not expect a luxury suite. You will have a bed, access to washrooms etc and all
the basic amenities as you probably have at University. At least 1 teacher will be responsible for you, who can
speak English, as well as the AIESEC members, and they will translate or arrange anything that is needed.
Some of the schools are a little far from downtown and some schools might have a curfew requiring you to be
back by a certain time, though on 1 or 2 nights they might make an exception. We will explain this once you
arrive, once we confirm with the schools. In the past some trainees have preferred to rent their own
accommodation (about 150 Euros/month/person) if they want to live closer to downtown and party a lot. This
is up to you and can be decided once you arrive.
Preparing for class:
As you will see from the presentations about the project, the classes are designed to stimulate the students to
think and be pro-active, so it really is more facilitating than teaching. You will be trained on some games and
activities (some specific to topics, others more general that can be applied to any topic) and you will be free to
develop your own as well. You can work with the other trainees to prepare, though it is likely you will each
have 1 class at any 1 time. There will be around 4-6 trainees at each school at any one time and you will
become close friends!
Each class is about 45 minutes and you are expected to do a 15 minute introduction or so and then run 1-2
activities for 25 minutes before having a 5 minute wrap-up; this will include a 2 minute reflection, where the
students will write down in their learning logs what they learned in that class. During some of the classes
AIESEC Mainland China
there may be others who can help you, such as teachers or the 'class monitor' (some classes have 1 student
who is responsible for that class).
Classes are around 40 students. The students are generally pretty obedient and their English is pretty good (a
requirement for them to join the program), though of course, you will need to speak slowly and be careful
with words (we will aim to give you some handouts with some key words for each topic in both languages for
the students). Their listening is better than their speaking, but they will be expected to speak in English as
much as possible (1 explicit objective of the program is for them to improve their English) during activities. You
are pretty free to do what you want during the class.
In each class, we are trying to get the students to see that a) they personally have a role to play and b) that SD
is a long-term process. To this end, we are trying to focus more on getting each group of students to come up
with a project, which they would start while the trainees are still in the school and continue after they leave.
If you can, try and do some research about projects run in your area, whether it be small-scale recycling
initiatives in schools or charitable food donations to homeless people. Telling students about projects that you
know may serve as inspiration for them.
You will evaluate the impact of the program according to a specific process which you will be trained on when
you arrive. This basically asks you to do specific activities in the 1st and last class to judge the change, as well
as monitor their outputs during each class, read their learning logs and evaluate their projects (each student
will do some kind of project/essay at the end of the 2 weeks).
At the end of the 2 months of teaching, we will organize an Impact day to present and discuss the results of
the impact evaluations. These have worked well in the past rounds of the project. You do not have to attend
this (it will be about 5-7 days after classes end) if you have to return home or wish to go traveling. However, a
report from you will still be required!
We have had problems in the past with evaluation of impact, as trainees have both been improperly trained
and also not cared that much.
It is very important for us that we should know how effective we are being, as well as what areas of the
project need work!
During the teaching itself, we try to monitor overall change, where students are judged according to
"knowledge" and "values". These criteria are also to be used during each class, so we can judge how effective
each lesson has been e.g. " In [school X, class X] Overall, knowledge went up from a score of 4 to 5 on a 5-point
scale; values rose from 3 to 4. During the class about health, students' knowledge stayed the same at 4 points,
but their value rating went up from 3 to 5."
You need to confirm your match online and through emails or phone calls. You also need to confirm your
start and end dates for the internships and then book your flights (depending on any extra holidays or
travelling you want to do at the end) and tell AIESEC this information. You need to get your visa, as
advised by AIESEC.
If you have a laptop it will be very useful to bring it with. Though classrooms have computers for use
AIESEC Mainland China
during class; having a laptop will be useful to prepare for classes. If you do not have one, it is ok as there
will be other trainees with laptops that you can use and we will be striving to provide access to
computers and internet at the schools.
You will have free accommodation during the training, and free accommodation and food any time you
are teaching, however there may be periods where you will not, such as during the October National
Holiday (1st-7th) when you can go travelling, or after you finish teaching (but before you actually leave
China). In these cases you will need to pay for your own accommodation and food.
In addition to the above you will need to bring money with you for other activities in the evening or
weekends as well as buying gifts or extra food/drink etc. What we will provide is relatively basic and will
vary by schools; we just aim to provide the minimum in terms of accommodation and food. Nothing else
will necessarily be provided.
Bring a phone with you, as you can get a local SIM card. All European style phones will work in China, and
power adaptors can be purchased easily and cheaply, if needed.
Since training is in Beijing and you may be working in a different city, transportation from Beijing to your
designated work city will not be covered. You can either take the train or the plane to the different cities.
The train will cost around 30euros, and the plane will cost around 80 euros.
You can read all the information on this website (esdchina.wikispaces.com) as this contains information on the
project. By reading as much of this information as possible (including some of the downloadable files) you will
get a better understanding of the project and what you will be doing.
We will not be able to give you exact details in advance sometimes, and teaching schedules may only be
confirmed closer to the start date, and may even be changed sometimes. We will try to make sure you get as
much time as possible to prepare and know what classes you are teaching when; but you will need to be
There may be chances to do other things, like volunteer or participate in other AIESEC activities during the
project. Ask your AIESEC members about this.
Cultural integration will not necessarily be easy. You should be prepared for this already, but we do want to
remind you that there will be huge communication challenges for you to overcome, due to the language
barrier, especially with people who are over 30 (and cannot speak much English). There will also be challenges
with adapting to different food, different cultures, different perspectives and so on.
We do not need to say too much now, but we do expect you to be prepared and, most importantly, to come
with an open mind and the attitude of trying to understand a different country and culture –not to say what is
right or wrong, but to try to understand why things are different here to your home country. Talk to as many
people as possible to get different ideas and perspectives and respect them and their beliefs, as you wish
them to respect yours. Bring your preconceptions and strive to challenge them!
This is especially important as you will be a role model for your country –and indeed for all foreigners-
especially to the students you will be teaching. It also means you will be in a position of responsibility with
some influence over the students. Thus how you act and interact with them, how you communicate, what you
say, how you manage them and so on will all be important –them as individuals and them as groups.
Also we’ll send you another 2 files: Beijing Reception Booklet and Shanghai Reception Guide.
Here are some links to some other very useful websites:
Understanding about Sustainable Development
During the training in the first week you will learn a lot more about Sustainable Development but, before you
come, we hope you can read some of the following to be better prepared:
AIESEC Mainland China
This ESD project is inspired by the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (DESD).
Coordinated by UNESCO there is an interesting teacher education program (if you have time, try to really get
into it), which you should explore including an explanation of what ESD is and what SD is. You can also browse
Wikipedia's page on Sustainable Development.
SD in China
Download and read this 44 page guide by Sustainability on China. It really is definitive and you will learn a lot
but if you still want to read more, try this from the UN in China
Other links worth exploring
The UN system has plenty of information including the World Bank, IFC, UNDP, UNEP etc.
For any questions, you can download the Pre-training questionnaire and send it back to us.
For more details about your flight, arrival, emergency contact numbers, etc, you can contact us or your TN
Essential contact numbers: Police 110, Fire 119, Local directory assistance 114.
Vice President of Project
AIESEC Mainland China
Telephone: +86 159 1062 1553
AIESEC Mainland China