This (Debating) Life

As I work through all the ‘lasts’ of things that I won’t be doing again in China, debating is one of the biggies.  Since 2005 I have coached, judged, laughed, cried and had a ball with my university debating team.  I’ve watched the team grow from a handful of students to an association that has to apply a cap for applicants and now numbers over 50.  The team executive has run annual debate competitions for the western provinces of China, with the first competition attracting 9 teams, and now again, having to limit the number of teams  entering.

Most students come because they want to improve their English speaking skills and stay because they make great friends, challenge themselves and become way more connected with the world. Along the way, their English improves, they gain loads of confidence, analytical skills and create a new ‘family’ for themselves at university.  Some of the teams have been really successful in competitions, others not so, but still have enjoyment in debate.

Many of the debaters have become really good friends, stayed in contact, even when they’ve gone overseas to live or study.  The ‘local’ ones – those who’ve graduated and are working in other cities have arranged to come back for the mother and father of all goodbye parties.  I’ll be a mess.

Posted by DeborahH


I am just thinking of the difference you have made to all of these students. Giving them gifts of knowledge and ability that will be part of their entire lives. WOW.

Thanks Evi, but they gave me much more!

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