How to set up the Beitang Project
Step 1: Make a team proposal
The project plan will be your own blueprint to which the team can constantly refer back, to keep on track. You will also need it in fundraising…sponsorship…gaining support from your medical school…and explaining yourself to cynical friends and relatives. It should include
- a mission statement
- objectives –long term and short term
- overview of how, when, and where to achieve these in terms of your resources. Your resources include the team, time, money, and other supporters.
Step 2: Allocate tasks
An action plan needs to specify who is responsible for each action and when it whould be done.
You may want to place people in charge of specific areas. Here are my suggested “posts”for the team:
The team leader will ensure that all the team members are aware of what’s going on, but they will also need to do most of the “making guanxi”which is so important in China and particularly for this project which has relied so completely on goodwill.
It is vital to make contact with
- Chinese students (ensure all partners are able to write to each other) – I hope this website will help
- Chinese university staff – Mr Liu Zhen Yong runs things from here
If you can, it would be polite to contact Dian Cheng, our host directly (You will need to translate a letter into Chinese!)
If your team is interested in having a reunion in Bath on your return, contact Lisa or Ming Keng and we will host a meal (so that we get to hear all the gossip!)
Someone practical will need to find out about
- Travel (Booking tickets, visas, what to bring, personal budget)
and keep the group updated on current affairs in China that they should be aware of.
please help us keep this up to date on our website too.
Fundraising and PR in England
This is for someone brave who has a nice smile and can also count. They may need help! You may like a team fund when you are travelling (for personal expenses e.g. meals) a project expenses fund (for gifts/equipment etc) and if you can manage it, a fund for making a donation to the family for house upkeep. The Chinese students have their own funds.
- Send proposals and budget to funding sources
- Ensure all debts are paid and all expenses accounted for
- Send a team report, budget breakdown and thankyou’s to relevant people on return.
In the past the International Office have sponsored students to go out and the Bristol Alumni foundation have offered donations for renovating the house, but so far we have been unable to make this a regular donation. See sponsors section
This person will be in charge of preparing the English course, but the main challenge will be during the summer, as they will be the link between teachers, team and students to ensure the teaching is a success.
They will need to
- Find out about who they will be teaching, talk to last years team for tips.
- Lead a team brainstorm r.e. English teaching techniques
- Plan a course suitable for the team, the students involved, and the time allowed.
- Make a budget/list of what to bring for teaching
- While in Beitang, take charge of the teaching aspects (syllabus and getting feedback)
- Write up whatever you discover/learn about teaching English, when you return.
History/ photography and journalism
Someone particularly interested in the history/culture/generally arty side of things could…
- Find out about history of house and cultural revolution; contact local history groups or cultural societies who may like to hear about or support the project, or may have some interesting information.
- Take charge of photography, trip diary and possibly publications on return? (delegation involved!)
- Ensure website is updated on return (a big task!) -liaise with Marianne
For groups of medical students, you may like to take the opportunity to:
- Find out about the local health situation
- Communicate with doctors in Beitang and medical students in China and England, and together plan a health project to carry out in the summer, possibly as an ssm. Doctors and staff in the university may be able to offer advice and support.
- Write up whatever you discover/learn during the project, when you return.
Step 3: Brainstorm other ideas
The history and health projects are just my suggestions. You may like to brainstorm ideas for the opportunities opened up by living in rural China –ways you can contribute to the village or ways that you would like to discover and enjoy the people and places around. The villagers are grateful for the English teaching and eager to offer us tea and satisfy our curiosity in return.
For example, we discovered Chinese medicine and barefoot doctors…. Learnt some Tai Chi…heard a few tantalising stories of the Cultural revolution…During the revolution the unique and ancient cultural, artistic and historical aspects of the Chinese were crushed, and in the current poverty of the countryside and frenetic capitalism of the cities, seem irrelevant. This is tragic because in all their pragmatism, the Chinese are extremely romantic. There are lots of local skills, stories and crafts which are undiscovered and dying out in this generation. As clueless but curious foreign students, perhaps we could help revive the ancient tradition and culture of rural China.
Step 4: Set dates and deadlines
- Make a year plan for the project –I have started one in this pack. Work out when you want to travel and how long you would like to teach.
- Get the dates of all the members –exams, holidays, family commitments, birthdays –and put it on the year plan. Give everyone a copy of the calendar.
- Put deadlines for all actions on the calendar and set a date for the next meeting.
This will make it much easier to work as a team and keep track of where you all are and where the project is heading!
Step 5: Get team contact numbers
Everyone should have each others’emails, telephones and addresses both at uni and at home.
Step 6: Make contact with Chinese friends
This is the crux of the project and one of our main hopes for the website is that the discussion room will ease this along.
Half of your team is in China, and good communication is vital for relationships to work and for the team to gel together. It is also important to discuss ideas at this stage in the process and agree on what each side is doing. You may choose to pair up into English/Chinese partners when the teams have been finalised.
Step 7: Learn Chinese
A basic knowledge of Mandarin (the main dialect) does wonders for your confidence, can change your whole perspective of China and allows you to pick it up very rapidly once you are in the country.
The Bristol medical school set up a Chinese course as a special study module for second year students. Our Chinese society also runs cheap Chinese lessons. If you find it hard to arrange lessons there are self-study books and tapes, and it may be worth having a few sessions as a team so you can all motivate each other, and get a Chinese friend to come along for a laugh!