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GAP TUTORS’ EXPERIENCES


India Gill from Norwich School, England

I applied to be a Gap Tutor at Harrow International School Hong Kong when I was in Year 13 at Norwich School as I’d enjoyed previous experience working with children volunteering in a local primary school and as a Sailing Instructor. My time at the School has flown by. I took pleasure in being involved with a great variety of activities and age groups, ranging from coaching Year 1 sport, to Cookery with Years 6 to 8, to Chinese Painting with Senior students. Being involved in so many different aspects of School life was a highlight of the year. I loved spending time with my House; living with the boarders five days a week allowed me to forge a strong relationship with them. Being closer in age to the students was a great advantage pastorally, meaning I could really get to know them.

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Natalie Mansfield from Repton School, England

Moving to Hong Kong may seem daunting; but I found the staff incredibly welcoming, which enabled me to settle with ease. Furthermore, as well as developing personally in terms of maturity and responsibility, there’s opportunity for professional development; I undertook a netball umpiring qualification, and applied to University while working here. The School holidays afford plenty of time to explore more of Asia, which we found was easily accessible and especially memorable when we travelled to Vietnam, in October Half Term.

Having never travelled to Asia before, I did not really know what to expect of Hong Kong. I had heard about its dazzling skyline but nothing prepared me for the diversity that this country has to offer. No matter what the weather is like, there is always something to do, from going on a junk boat, to hikes in the national park, playing for a local sports team or even jetting off to nearby countries for a weekend away. The location of Hong Kong itself could not be any more fitting for a gap year and by the end of the year I will have travelled to over 10 different countries. Life as a ‘Gap Tutor’ offers a great variety of opportunities to develop yourself, from whatever background you are from. I came to Harrow Hong Kong after two at a boarding school, an interested in working with children and the intention of going to study Physiotherapy at University. The Gap programme has really allowed me to throw myself into a completely new lifestyle and embrace a new culture. The day to day life of being a Gap Tutor varies from teaching sport to children from 3-18 years old, helping with administrative tasks around the school, cooking with the Lower School or supervising students at sports fixtures and various school trips.

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One of the best things about this job is being assigned to a Boarding House, where the kids within the House become your family for the year. It is being surrounded by these children in the House that you build many unique relationships and enjoy plenty of unforgettable laughs.

Oliver Slumbers from Winchester College, England

It has been an extraordinary experience to enjoy Hong Kong’s mix of traditional and modern culture whilst working in one of the most international cities in the world.

Although spending five years at a boarding school in Hampshire, England, has prepared me for the lifestyle of the job here, not many places can prepare you for the hectic buzz of Hong Kong. The calm and relaxed nature of life in Hampshire seems small and simple in comparison to the fast paced, always doing something attitude that you find here. Even though this means you will struggle to get a quiet moment, it also means you’ll always have something going on to keep you entertained. Hong Kong is a place of surprising diversity with a sprawling city landscape but also incredible amounts of potential in regards to hiking and exploring more rural areas. It really is impossible to adequately describe just how valuable the experience you get from working at the School is. At my age it is rare for someone to be so involved with the growth of children as young as three, and getting to be part of that is truly enjoyable. The job throws you into multiple different areas of teaching, from coaching six year olds rugby to tutoring 18 year olds to helping with the administration side of the School. This really helps in giving you a full understanding of what being involved in a school is really like.

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James Simpson from King’s College School, Wimbledon, England

One of the beautiful things about being a teacher has always been the holidays, and being situated in Hong Kong is the perfect place to exploit this. By the time I have finished my Gap year, I will have visited nine different countries. I wonder how many other people my age can say that their job opens up opportunities as good as that.

Moving to Hong Kong for my Gap Year was a big decision for me, having lived in London my whole life. Thankfully, I now realise it was the best decision I could have made. Living and working as a Gap Tutor at Harrow Hong Kong, I have been able to try things I hadn’t expected at all, such as teaching swimming, giving tours, running sport sessions and helping tutor Economics to Sixth Formers. It’s also been great to live and work in a Prep Boarding House, getting to know the kids and building relationships with them, having fun and helping with any problems they might have. As Gap Tutors, we work long hours and although it can occasionally seem like a challenging role, the work is really rewarding and our weekends and holidays are free for us to relax, recover and explore one of the most diverse cities in the world! Being able to travel in South-East Asia during the holidays has been fantastic – so far I’ve travelled to Vietnam, China and Taiwan, all within two hours from Hong Kong. I’m also planning to travel to the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia in the remainder of the year, and maybe even take the Trans-Siberian railway from Beijing back to the UK for University! 8

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Jack Wingate from Sexey’s School, England

areas of the School, the sorts of things you like but also the sorts of things you may never have thought about trying before, and you are surrounded by a tight knit staff community, who just like you, have come a long way to try life in South East Asia. Working at the School also provides a perfect platform to travel to nearby countries. Whilst term time is a time for work, the School holidays provide an excellent opportunity to travel around this corner of the world and perhaps visit countries that you may never have visited without having a base such as Hong Kong at your disposal.

Hong Kong is very different to where I am from. All my life I have lived in the South West of England, in the county of Somerset. That area of the country is known for its countryside, scenery, rolling hills, and everything else that you would see in an idealists painting of the countryside. As you can imagine, Hong Kong is different in many ways: a vibrant, happening city, full of people who are always going somewhere or doing something. There is never a dull moment, and I have come to love Hong Kong because of this. However, it is also more than just a city. Hong Kong is actually 70% green, something I did not know before I arrived. You do not have to go far from the centre to find hiking trails with stunning views and beautiful sandy beaches. It is more than just a concrete jungle, which is what a lot of people expect to find. The opportunity to work at the School is one that you shouldn’t let pass by. The work is rewarding; you get to work with children aged from 3 years old all the way up to adolescent 18 year olds. Throughout your year you will get to see the children grow, especially the younger ones, and you will have a hand in aiding that growth. The work is also a lot of fun; you get involved with many different 10

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Bi Jia Wu from King Edward VI School, Southampton, England Harrow International School Hong Kong 38 Tsing Ying Road, Tuen Mun New Territories, Hong Kong Tel: +852 2824 9099 Fax: +852 2824 9928 www.harrowschool.hk

Being a Gap Tutor at Harrow International School Hong Kong is a great opportunity for anyone who wishes to explore and enhance his or her potential in the educational field. As a musician, I am particularly involved in various music ensembles, where I get to rehearse and perform alongside the students in the School Orchestra, Choir, and Pop Orchestra. Preparing the Prep students in my House for the end of term House Singing Competition was an extremely rewarding experience as I was able to help many of them develop their talents, as well as their confidence. I also took part in many other aspects of the School’s vibrant life, especially in the boarding routine and in the House, as well as assisting in a number of lessons including Chinese, Lower School Sports and Cooking. During the School day I interacted with students of all ages, from Lower School to Prep and Senior. It is no exaggeration to say that the boarding House certainly provided a family atmosphere. The cultural diversity that this School offers also makes the workplace community appealing. Taking this Gap Year allowed me to advance my independence, interpersonal and leadership skills, as well as providing many travel opportunities especially to Southeast Asia.

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Harrow Hong Kong Gap Year Experience 2015-16