On the forty-ninth anniversary of "Learning from Lei Feng Day", a day named in honor of the Chinese soldier Lei Feng, after he died in 1962, for his selflessness and
modesty, a series of activities took place at Ningbo Institute of Technology and throughout the country, both students and instructors participated.
NITs Cross-Culture Exchange Club, along with some of the foreign teachers enrolled in NITs Complimentary Chinese Courses, helped celebrate Lei Feng Day by acting
as "foreign Lei Fengs". In the afternoon of March 2nd, they visited the local Qiu Bi School, a primary school for children of migrant workers in Jiangdong District,
giving children an English lesson.
For some of the children, it was the first time that they had ever seen a foreigner. While some were shy at first, to break the ice, Dr. Karen Newman, a visiting
American instructor from the University of Indianapolis in Indiana, taught the children an American song. Dr. Newmans enthusiasm and passion helped them overcome
fears, and soon, they were all eagerly raising their hands, hoping to be called on to answer her questions. In addition to offering an English lesson, the visiting
foreign teachers also played a few games with the children. Although the children were primary students knowing little English, they enjoyed themselves.
Karen said that she liked those Chinese children so much and she had never seen so many children in one class in America. What makes a deep impression on her was the
childrens thirst for knowledge. After their visit, one of the children, a 10 year-old girl named Ma Jingjing, said, “I had a good time today! I used to think the
distance between foreigners and us is very big, so I did not even dare to get close to them. I also did not expect they would give us such a wonderful English lesson!
I hope these foreign teachers can come again next time!”
In the end, the 56 children sang the song "Sunshine Holds My Hand" to express their heartfelt thanks to the foreign teachers and student volunteers. As we reflect on
Lei Fengs example this week, it reminds us that goodwill transcends both culture and language, and that even simple gestures of kindness can have a powerful impact.