Our North Shore centre's adventure to Hamilton included a voyage by train and bus, a delightful picnic by botanical Lake Rotoroa in Hamilton and a triumphant return home, all in one piece! Nearly 70 learners, friends and family signed up for the day trip, with most aged their late 60s, and even one 80-year-old on board.
The idea was to help our learners live and travel independently in New Zealand. Teachers prepared meticulously to ensure a successful day, and the large group made it from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland to Kirikiriroa Hamilton, with no one left behind.
Joanne Lee, ELP (English Language Partners) Coordinator, says learners got enormous enjoyment from the experience. “It was wonderful to see the excitement of fellow learners as they encouraged each other throughout the trip.”
The escapade was also a fantastic opportunity to learn how to use a travel card, navigate around the station, and practise communicating with train staff.
Everyday life experiences like these are invaluable for our migrant English language learners to practise their new skills.
Joanne says she’s delighted everyone returned safely. “It’s a great reminder of the importance of looking out for one another.”
Lynn Ding led the expedition with the help of volunteers Ewan Weir and June Neil, and Joanne is immensely grateful to this ELP exceptional teacher and the leadership team. “Without their support and effort, this trip wouldn't have been possible.”
Learners were treated to a genuine and immersive learning experience and are now more confident to travel to different cities using their Bee Cards*. “Face-to-face conversations with volunteer teachers also improved their confidence for online study,” says Lynne.
Lynn says they’ll be teaching learners related vocab and cultural ‘know-how’. “About the Huntley Power Station, the meaning of Māori words like Kirikiriroa, Waikato, Rotoroa, Puhinui, Papakura and Rotokauri,” she says. “We’ll also look at how to make comparisons in English such as ‘the longest river’, and about populations and land area between New Zealand and other countries.”
Lynn says ELP’s values guided the trip. “We stuck to our ELP values of partnership and respect. We listened and responded to each other with care and cooperation.”
An added benefit was that the beautiful views and comfortable atmosphere were also great for people’s general wellbeing, and Joanne says she’s looking for more ‘outing’ opportunities.
We're eagerly anticipating more chances to use the English language learners acquire in real-life situations.
English Language Partners thanks Lynn Ding, Joanne Lee, our able-bodied volunteers and our learners, family and friends for making this event such a success.
*Bee Card https://beecard.co.nz/Pages/HowItWorks
Lihua Zhang, learner
I'm sure all our ELP learners were looking forward to the trip to Hamilton with a mixture of nerves. After the terrible period of epidemic, most of our senior people hopes to catch up with friends in this beautiful autumn. Hence, the number of learners and friends who have signed up for this trip has increased to nearly 70. Although the teachers were well prepared beforehand, the fact that most of travellers were over 67 or even 80years old made an extra responsibility for Mrs Ding.
We finally set off happily with the warm invitation from Mrs Ding and the volunteer teachers. Along the way, from getting on the bus safely and solving all the problems during the trip to everyone going home smoothly, Mrs Ding showed her care, patience, kindness, respect, enthusiasm, and love for elderly friends. It was like the warm sunshine in autumn. Really appreciated what you did for us, and I wish you all the best in your career.
Jingling Wang, learner
Mrs Ding prepared quite a lot for our trip to Hamilton. There were more than 60 senior people joined the journey on this sunny day and none of them missed anything during the trip. It showed how hard Mrs Ding had worked for us. We really appreciated Mrs Ding’s kindness.
Xiaoming Yin, learner
We had lots of fun for the trip to Hamilton today.
It was several weeks before the trip that Mrs Ding helped us to activate the Bee Card and learnt English from this process. Today, we were excited to start our trip with the help of ELP teachers and volunteers on this golden autumn day. We sang and laughed all the way, and everyone was so happy that it felt like we were back in our childhood.
Until it was dark, we had to return home although we wanted to have more fun together in Hamilton. Meanwhile, Mrs Ding was very concerned about us and kept sending messages to check whether all of us had arrived our place safely.
ELP, thank you so much for organising this trip for us!
Liyuan Ou, learner
This event demonstrated Mrs Ding’s exceptional organisational skills. It is not easy to take 60+ elderly people on a long trip, it requires good planning and implementation skills. Furthermore, the organisers need to have good leadership skills. We highly appreciated that ELP teachers and volunteers’ hard work.
Amy Zhu, learner
Thank you so much for your hard work!