My Mandarin Language Assistant (MLA) Experience
​                             我的汉语助教经历

I came to Wellington to work through the Confucius Institute's Mandarin Language Assistants (MLAs) programme. The main aim of the MLA programme is to increase opportunities for New Zealand students to learn Chinese and experience Chinese culture. The institute carefully selects, and sends young Chinese graduate to New Zealand schools, to assist and support the efforts of those schools in the teaching of Chinese. I was selected and sent to work for Confucius Institute(CI) at Victoria University of Wellington(VUW) in 2013 and 2014, as a Mandarin Language Assistant.




My work included:

  • Worked in the office (newsgathering, translation, artist/musician guests’ reception)

  • Offered Chinese Language classes for students at Victoria University and primary aged children at a community centre

  • Offered music workshops in schools and communities

  • Performed in quality events

  • Offered traditional Chinese music lessons to the local citizens

  • Organized weekly Mandarin Corner at VUW




I still remembered my first Chinese teaching experience was an introduction of Chinese music for the students in University, although they cooperate I still feel nervous.  Apart from teaching Chinese for Adults, I also teach Chinese classes for children in a community centre. They are mostly Chinese but can’t write and read. In my last Chinese community class, some of the students looked sad, they kept asking me when do I come back and start teaching Chinese again. I have mixed feelings but much inspired. I can’t say I am a brilliant teacher but a real friend with responsibility, loyalty and love.




In the farewell party in 2014, I delivered a speech as an MLA representative. I mentioned that "I want to be a music therapist. I never give up my dream even I am still confronted with some difficulties. Furthermore, my experience made me feel more forcefully as if the voice comes into my body. Music is my passion, I can't live without music, I want to help others with my music. So, I am going to come back to New Zealand again and study music therapy."




Four years later, my dream comes true and I become a music therapist. I am grateful to have countless support, encouragement, help and inspiration from my family, teachers, colleagues, friends and students. The experience of being an MLA in New Zealand will never fade in my life.




© 2023 by Cici Jingyuan Kong

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