‘Project Trust’ year out in China

Congratulations to former Grosvenor pupil Peter McCrory who recently completed a year out teaching English as a Foreign Language in China through the educational volunteering charity ‘Project Trust’. 

Peter returned to Northern Ireland just over one month ago following his twelve month stay in China, which he describes as “the best year of my life”.  He described the biggest challenges faced during his time away as the teaching itself, which he found extremely rewarding despite being “thrown in a the deep end” with minimal training, as well as the conditions experienced during China’a extreme winter, with Peter staying in accommodation that lacked hot water and contained only basic heating during a time when temperatures could reach as low as -20°C. 

Despite the many challenges faced, Peter felt very much part of the local community by the end of his time away.  In addition to his time spent teaching, Peter was also given the opportunity to travel to Mongolia for three weeks at the end of his trip, taking the Siberian Express from Beijing to Ulanbatar before hiring a driver to take him on a two week tour of Eastern Mongolia.

Since returning home Peter has attended a debriefing course with ‘Project Trust’ in Scotland at which he met and shared his experience with fellow volunteers who spent their year in locations such as Namibia, Ghana and Senegal.  The conclusion of his trip comes at a time when Grosvenor itself is progressing towards setting up a  Confucius Hub School within it, with Mandarin due to be taught from January 2014 and a range of extra and co-curricular activities regarding Chinese culture also set to be introduced.

‘Project Trust’, which has been running since 1967, provides ‘year out’ opportunities for young people to experience life in Asia, Africa, Latin America or the Caribbean, not just as a tourist but as a valued member of a local community. Unlike many gap year organisations, it sends only a handful of volunteers overseas each year, all of whom are 17-19 year old school leavers, handpicked and carefully matched to their project.

Well done to Peter not just on gaining selection to participate in his year out in China through ‘Project Trust’, but on making such a success of his time away.  Peter is about to commence a three year honours degree studying International Politics and Conflict Studies at Queen’s University.  His experiences in China will undoubtedly help him in this undertaking and all at the School wish him the best of luck throughout this time and beyond.

Former pupil Peter McCrory (far right) who has spent the past year participating in a year out scheme in China through the 'Project Trust' organisation.