Student to Teacher Ratio
Number of days of each programme
Children learn best when they enjoy a subject and see the value in what they are learning. When they make progress, they become more self-confident and continue to learn better - it is a virtuous circle.
SPICE aims to create an initial spark of interest in children and make them excited about learning
It is intended to show them that learning English can be fun
It aims to help some of the most underprivileged children in HK increase their self-confidence
It provides exposure to different cultures to broaden horizons and raise aspirations
The young teachers also increase their international understanding, cultural awareness and tolerance by taking part in this programme
240 children from 10-12 schools, the age range is 10 to 12 years
Three 7-day programmes each summer
Activities are all conducted in English
The daily schedule is approximately 09:30 am – 3:30 pm
The programme is completely free of charge for all participating children although all families are required to make a refundable deposit to assure attendance
Free lunches are provided to all children and teachers
No traditional language training/ grammar classes
7 days of games, competitions and English fun as well as special activities like magician shows and outings
WHO RUNS SPICE?
SPICE is managed year to year by a team of four volunteers; primary responsibility is taken by its two directors, Josephine Chesterton and Mayumi Eguchi. The directors are advised and assisted on a part-time basis by two senior advisers: Jason Ho Man Wah and Vickie Yau.
The senior advisers add expertise in the fields of technology, communication, education and team building
Each year they appoint two coordinators to run the programme on a day-to-day basis. A supervisor, who is a previous coordinator, is also appointed to guide the coordinators.
The classroom activities are led by interns and volunteers
Our Head of Pedagogy prepares interns and volunteers before the programme begins at the start of summer.
SPICE is also supported by dedicated volunteers who run, manage and design the website.
DEVELOPMENT OF SPICE
SPICE is a non-profit English Summer Programme founded in 2015 as a Just Volunteers! project by Josephine Chesterton in collaboration with the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong working with interns from the City University of Hong Kong English Department and universities in the UK
In 2024 we will run our eighth SPICE programme
In the first few years of SPICE the training of our interns and overseas volunteers was very ad hoc. Starting in 2021 our intense 2-week training period has been run by an experienced faculty member in the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester
Our interns are now from the English Department of Hong Kong Baptist University as well as the City University of Hong Kong
As of 2024 we expect nearly all overseas volunteers to come from the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester
In the early years 200 children took part in SPICE each year, now we welcome 240 children every summer
We have gone from a programme supported by one donor to having 7 donors and a modest amount of government funding
SPICE IN THE PRESS
The Donors Whose Generosity Make It Possible
Mr. and Mrs. Mark Chan
Mr. William Choy
Participating schools - various primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong
Interns - English Department students from the City University of HK and HK Baptist University
Overseas volunteers - UK students mainly from the Institute of Education, University of Worcester
Check out the video below from our 2023 programme!
Every year we take 15 young adults to teach this programme
We take volunteers from the University of Worcester of the UK and interns from City University of HK and HK Baptist University
They are young people who want to learn about teaching and wish to broaden their understanding of other cultures.
The 2-week training programme is provided under the supervision of the Head of Pedagogy, an experienced primary school teacher and Head of the Department of Children and Families in the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester in the UK
We favour applicants who can bring at least one extra skill (such as playing a musical instrument, sports & making handicrafts etc.)
All programme costs are covered each year by the donors. Chinese YMCA, HK City University and HK Baptist University provide support in a number of ways and host schools provide the venues. In addition, all participating schools apply for small grants from the HK Government's Life Wide Learning Fund
We are able to deliver the programme completely free of charge, but all families must pay a refundable deposit to ensure attendance
Volunteers from overseas will be provided with free accommodation at the Chinese YMCA (Wu Kai Sha)
They will also receive help towards local costs and local transport
Interns generally receive a small allowance from their university
All HK interns and UK volunteers will receive their offers by the end of March
University of Worcester and other UK volunteers are requested to send their CVs by end of January 2024
Training begins at the start of July for two weeks.
Summer camps start immediately afterwards and run until mid-August
INTERNS & VOLUNTEERS
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Most Recent Messages from 2023 Interns and Volunteers to Future Volunteers and Interns
"SPICE is more than just a teaching program – it’s like a big family. For us teacher interns, SPICE represents the ideal environment for acquiring pedagogical skills and invaluable practical experience that traditional university coursework alone is often lacking. SPICE helped me a lot to get a concrete direction for my future career. Not only has it strengthened my understanding of best practices, but engaging with students on a daily basis has reinforced why I feel drawn to this profession. I believe you will also earn helpful insight from this internship program. I wish you the very best experience, hope you enjoy your journey in SPICE!" (Nora)
SPICE is a great opportunity to develop multiple skills and meet talented peers. In this program, you will not only practice teamwork spirit, time management ability, organizational skills, etc., but also exchange and learn from people from different cultures. In addition, you can also improve your oral English and increase your confidence in the teaching process with children. Of course, what you take away from this internship is up to you. So I wish that future interns can enjoy SPICE with a serious and responsible attitude! (Maia)
This SPICE camp is amazing! Throughout the whole journey, from building ideas to having hands-on experience with the students, I have learnt a lot more than I expected. Perhaps you’ll feel nervous in the beginning, not knowing how to communicate with the students. But I assure you, when you have your first try, you’ll begin to love this job so so much! A small tip for designing your activities, go for interaction! Students love interaction. Among the activities, we realized that students are very energetic when they get to speak. Instead of giving them papers, let them speak the vocabulary out! I wish you all an amazing journey in SPICE and enjoy every moment about it! (Toby)
Being a part of the SPICE team was truly an amazing experience. From receiving training from a highly qualified teacher, to actually teaching a class and being in charge of educating fresh young minds. It has truly been a surreal summer. This experience is perfect for those who have a genuine passion for teaching, as it really will give you the full teaching experience! You get a chance to tackle problems and bond with the children throughout the camps. By the end, it’s not only the team that you become friends with, but also the students. No matter how tired I was from the day before, showing up each day made all the difference. The students needed us, but we also needed them. The SPICE summer programme is one that everyone should get a chance to experience, as it truly is an eye opening and wonderful experience! Good luck to the future team of interns and volunteers! It’s an experience worth having! (Basma)
One of the sad realities of life is that “everything eventually comes to an end”, which describes how my pleasant journey at SPICE ended. Words could not begin to describe how much experience and knowledge SPICE has given me. Someone who had almost no experience in the teaching field, nervousness issues as well as time management problems, SPICE helped in shaping it all. Not to mention the beautiful and kind children that I’ve encountered during this prosperous opportunity and the relationship that was created between us interns, with our directors, and most importantly, with our children was phenomenal. Without hesitation, I can say that SPICE has been presented to me as a blessing to help guide me in my longterm journey from here onwards. I believe that I have cherished it every step along the way and will continue to do so by taking all the teachings and learnings I have received here in the next level. I want to take this time to thank SPICE alongside with all of the children I met during this noble program, many of whom I will most likely not see again. Because of them, I now have a more clear vision for my future path and might have unlocked a new and different chapter of my life from here onwards. Thanks to SPICE and these wonderful little children! (Humza)
Being a part of SPICE was such a wonderful opportunity and really opened my eyes to how much kids can flourish with the right support, as well as what teaching could be beyond the typical HK education system. Something I’d like to share with future interns is that the programme truly thrives off the teamwork and collaboration between everyone; it’s not always possible to get along perfectly with each person you meet, but it’s key to remember that everyone is working towards the same goal at the end of the day. SPICE is a great chance to grow and challenge yourself, but also a place where learning truly becomes fun, so I hope you guys will enjoy the experience as much as we did! (Patricia)
This kind of opportunity helps you become a better person
The SPICE programme changed our attitude towards new opportunities and adapting to new environments. We were able to stand and talk to three different groups of children whom we had never met before. Teaching disadvantaged students in HK was different from what we originally expected, as the English levels varied within the same class. However, we learned to adapt how we communicate and teach to meet their needs. It was rewarding to see the children making progress throughout the programme.
The weather in HK was quite intense when we arrived, and it took some time for our bodies to adapt. However, the HK interns were very friendly and welcoming, and they helped us settle in quickly. We explored different parts of HK and tried many foods together. If you are hesitant about signing up for this program, just do it. It will be worth it. You will never become a better person if you do not take this kind of opportunity!
Emily and Sian
Volunteers from 2023
Not an internship where you sit behind the desk
I learned to produce detailed lesson plans and developed synergy with other interns before the program started. This was especially important as we were then divided into small groups of three and had to work closely as a team. The interns coordinated roles based on individual strengths to organize an engaging camp for the children. I still remember how the children were impressed by my drawings of different types of food, which encouraged them to learn new vocabulary. The food tastings and outdoor trips also made the children feel comfortable while learning English.
SPICE is not an internship where you sit behind a desk typing documents and constantly report to a superior. It comes with a meaningful goal of teaching through fun and interactive summer camps that you organize.
Intern from 2023
This programme reassures what you really want to teach
We had the opportunity to meet a very nice and helpful teacher who taught us pedagogy theory and provided constructive feedback before the program started. Although teaching kids could be challenging at times, it was completely worth the effort as we witnessed them applying what we taught and enjoying the activities we planned. It was also incredibly eye-opening to observe the UK interns using an interactive and engaging teaching style in their classes. They have become encouraging colleagues and lifelong friends to us!
Vincy and Edwin
Interns from 2023
Nothing like anything I have done before
It was a completely new experience to teach a class for an entire day. Fortunately, working in teams of three was helpful, and I was never alone in facing problems. We were able to come up with a wide range of ideas for activities and lessons together. The debrief at the end of each day also helped us receive invaluable advice and prepare for the coming weeks.
There is a direct bus route from the airport to the accommodation, which is very convenient. It took me some time to adjust to the jetlag and the humid weather in HK, but I had a few days to acclimate to HK and meet other interns before the teaching started. I would love to go back to HK one day whenever I have the opportunity.
Volunteer from 2023
Learning English through activities is so crucial
We were privileged to receive two weeks of training from someone in the educational field. During the workshop, we learned theoretical and practical skills, social pedagogy, and the holistic development of children. We also participated in hands-on activities and ice-breaking games to get a sense of what it's like to engage with students. The trial and error process helped me gain firsthand experience of what works and what doesn't.
Teaching has been very rewarding as we see the disadvantaged children having a lot of fun while learning about their personal lives, interests, and hobbies. There were occasional moments where we faced language barriers, but overall, the children had a great time. By incorporating games and activities to bring out the best in the children, we observed a significant boost in their confidence and self-esteem throughout the camp. I am truly grateful for the entire SPICE experience, and I plan to apply the skills and knowledge gained from this internship in my future career.
Intern from 2023
Who can participate in the programme?
HK children between the ages of 10 and 12 (P5-S1) who are students of participating schools and were deemed to qualify for SPICE by their school teachers.
When is the programme held?
SPICE programmes are held over the summer holidays. Each programme consists of seven full days. Two of those days are usually spent on outings. SPICE hosts three sets of these seven-day programmes each year.
Where are the programmes held?
Three host schools amongst the participating schools provide us with the location to hold the programme. These schools are in Tin Shui Wai and Kwai Chung.
How should children get there?
Children chosen from nearby participating schools are expected to make their own way to the host school during the programme. For those children selected from schools that are in other districts, free bus transportation will be provided every day of the programme.
What time does the programme start and end?
Each day begins at 9:30 am and ends at 3:30 pm. Children are expected to arrive by 9:15 am to ensure ample time for registration and preparation for a 9:30 am start. It is a full-day programme.
Are the lunches provided?
Yes. All participants will be provided with free lunches every day, including on outing days.
How are the classes run?
Great emphasis has been placed in making the programme fun and interactive. Activities include games, handicrafts, cooking, plays and sports that are all conducted in English under the guidance of the teachers. There is no book-based learning and certainly no grammar lessons!
What is the student to teacher ratio?
In order to make it truly interactive and meaningful, our student to teacher ratio is high, at 5:1. Each class usually has around 15 students and three teachers – two interns and one volunteer.
How much does it cost to participate for a child?
Participation is free for all children. Each child will be required to place a deposit of around HK$300 prior to the beginning of the programme which will be forfeited if children are absent for more than one day. Otherwise, it will be fully refundable upon completion. The cost of lunches, necessary transportation, outings and all materials needed for the programme is provided by SPICE.
You may also contact us directly at email@example.com if you have further questions!
INTERNS & VOLUNTEERS
What kind of person can become an intern or a volunteer?
Currently an undergraduate or has recently graduated and has an excellent command of the English language;
Interested in education, likes interacting with children and is enthusiastic about working with colleagues from diverse backgrounds;
Self-motivated and work well in an international team;
Strong sense of responsibility;
Strong role-models for the children;
Volunteers from overseas should be young people interested in travelling and experiencing new and different cultures.
What is the difference between interns and volunteers?
Interns participate from the City University of HK and the HK Baptist University that offer the SPICE teaching position as one of their officially-recognised internship programmes for the summer;
Volunteers are mainly students from the University of Worcester in the UK and are interested in volunteering as SPICE teachers;
However, there are no differences in terms of work;
Interns and volunteers undergo the same training and work in teams together and share the same responsibilities;
Each class has three teachers – two interns and one volunteer, who work together as a team throughout the three programmes over the summer.
What does SPICE provide in terms of support for volunteers from overseas?
Volunteers receive free accommodation during the six to seven weeks they are in HK over the training period and the programmes;
During the three programmes, lunches will be provided every day to interns and volunteers who are expected to sit down for lunch together with the children;
In addition, volunteers will be given a food and transportation allowance;
However, volunteers should plan to bring a small amount of spending money to cover casual outgoings during their stay - we would be happy to discuss this in detail with any interested applicants.
What does it cost to become an intern or volunteer?
There is absolutely no charge for joining this programme;
Universities offering this as an internship provide a small allowance;
Overseas volunteers are given some financial support.
How many holidays do Volunteers and Interns get during the assignment?
Saturdays, Sundays and HK public holidays will be rest days;
In addition, should a day in between two programmes fall on a weekday, it will also be offered as a day-off;
Volunteers are welcome to stay at the YMCA accommodation a few days before and after the programme, free of charge.