Culminating Collaboration and Sustained Growth – The 2022 Chinese Language Program Student Employee Appreciation Event

As the end of term draws near, members of the Chinese Language Program (CLP) came together over Zoom to celebrate the remarkable contributions of its exceptional teaching assistants, Work Learn assistants, and volunteers. All of them have worked tirelessly to help Chinese language learners improve their language proficiency and intercultural communication through various co-curricular and extracurricular learning activities. The student employees, including teaching assistants, Work Learn assistants, and volunteers (TAWLV), helped learners practice their communication skills and build their confidence in using the language, on the one hand. On the other hand, the TAWLVs themselves have also gained intercultural awareness and enhanced their communication skills by fostering meaningful connections with each other and the Mandarin learners.

The event featured a series of fun and interactive activities, all of which were designed as opportunities for TAWLs and volunteers to bond further with one another within the CLP community. Volunteers seized the moment to look back on the past year and share their personal highlights of volunteering for the CLP. As the event attendees reflected upon their work, they were joyfully reminded of their amazing teammates. As a token of appreciation for their contributions to the CLP’s success, a tiger-themed raffle game was held for volunteers to distribute lucky prizes. Volunteers were not only thrilled to take part in the raffle, but they also got to experience the warm and vibrant community spirit that the CLP offers.

“I decided to volunteer for the CLP to help other students learn Chinese…but this opportunity has become so much more than that. Volunteering has made me more confident about speaking Chinese and [it has] taught me more techniques on how to teach someone a new skill.”

Kristen Tam, a first-year Creative Writing student


“I became a volunteer for the CLP and worked with the social media team as I have always enjoyed making creative content. In this process, the CLP has allowed me to develop my abilities in communication and collaboration. Thank you to the CLP for providing me with these amazing opportunities!”

Alice He, a first-year Honors Mathematics student

A large number of Mandarin-learning students’ thankful messages evidences the considerable impacts and significant inspiration that TAWLVs have exerted on them. More than 200 students wrote on a Padlet wall with love-filled messages to thank all the volunteers and TAWLs, who have generously offered their precious time to support Mandarin learners. In particular, students from CHIN 133 produced a touching video to thank all the volunteers, highlighting how the volunteers have gone above and beyond to nurture an encouraging language-learning community.

“I have always dreamed of being a teacher and helping others, and volunteering for the CLP made my little wish come true. Every student is different, and in the process of Oral Practice, I learned how to do my best in guiding the students according to their learning statuses. [I also learned to] correct their mistakes with a gentle attitude.”

Jiaxin Yang, a third-year Finance student

During the event, TAWLs and volunteers showcased their professional knowledge and thorough understanding of their responsibilities. In an exciting game of guessing work-related emojis, volunteers and TAWLs were quick to flood the chat box with spot-on responses, demonstrating great familiarity with expressions used during oral practices. Each time they got the correct answer, the volunteers and TAWLs burst with joy, excelling at the game throughout. The lightning-quick responses to each and every question demonstrate the TAWLVs’ great professionalism and deep familiarity with workplace knowledge.

“Over the past two years as a Work Learn student in the Chinese Language Program, I had many opportunities to discover my talents and develop professional skills, especially my presentation skills during OP training sessions.”

Verona Huang, a fourth-year Psychology student

Besides their professional development, the CLP also cares deeply about TAWLs’ and volunteers’ wellbeing and personal growth. Prior to saying goodbyes, graduating TAWLs shared nuggets of wisdom to everyone in the CLP family. TAWLs Ying Zeng and Aydin Quach hosted a special Q&A session to welcome questions from the audience, being more than happy to share their insightful tips on how to balance work, study, and life at university with continuing TAWLs and volunteers. The CLP instructors and junior TAWL colleagues expressed their hearty congratulations to the graduates, commending their exemplary work as they bid a bittersweet farewell.

“I have learned valuable professional skills, including interpersonal skills, cross-cultural understandings, and leadership abilities. Most importantly, working with all my talented team members has made this journey worthwhile!”

Ying Zeng, a fourth-year Economics and Psychology student (in her second year of employment at the Chinese Language Program)

“While it was a big shock to start working in a workplace that spoke Chinese that was very unlike the textbooks I was used to learning from, I found that it pushed me constantly out of my comfort zone. As a result, my Chinese improved by leaps and bounds. It was also a super fun way to meet and work with a huge diverse team of individuals and share my own perspectives as an overseas Chinese with a different cultural background than many of my coworkers.”

Aydin Quach, a fourth-year Honours History and International Relations student (and fourth-year non-heritage Mandarin learner in his second year of employment at the Chinese Language Program)

“This process has strengthened my abilities to work closely with a team—it is so valuable to be and work with a reliable team member. It’s also exposed how many dedicated and talented students there are at UBC, because they have all inspired me to work hard and have fun while doing it!”

Kelly Tan, a second-year International Relations student (and heritage Mandarin learner in the Chinese Language Program)

A huge thanks to all the volunteers, teaching assistants, Work Learns, and professors for all their hard work and diverse talents. They are the reason why the CLP holds its prestige as the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind in North America. Everyone’s dedication to the CLP community has cultivated a supportive and vibrant learning community for Mandarin learners at UBC. Furthermore, the TAWLs and volunteers have made lifelong friendships in the CLP family and explored their own potential as inspirational educators as well.

The CLP is looking for new volunteers to take up the baton. Summer volunteer recruiting will start in early May, so keep an eye out for exciting new opportunities to join the dedicated and supportive team at CLP!

Written by Kate Cowell
Edited by Shih-wei Wang