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Summer Programme for Immersion in Communicative English


First Established


Children Participate

Each Summer


Student to Teacher Ratio


Number of days of each programme

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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


  • 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 

  • For a number of years, she had wanted to start such a cross-cultural English summer programme for underprivileged HK children

  • In 2015 the dream became a reality thanks to the encouragement and practical support of Wenda Wong Pui Ying, Lorna Fullgrabe and Professor John Tse Wing Ling

  • In that year Professor John Tse introduced her to Dr Bonson Lee Hing Wai who enthusiastically embraced the concept; put the support of Chinese YMCA of HK behind the programme and SPICE began!

Who Runs SPICE


  • SPICE is managed by its two directors; Josephine Chesterton and Mayumi Eguchi

  • Each year they appoint two coordinators to run the programme on a day to day basis. A supervisor, a previous coordinator, is also appointed to guide the coordinators.

  • The classroom activities are led by interns and volunteers

  • Our Head of Pedagogy prepares these interns and volunteers before the programme begins at the start of the summer

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The Organisers

The Donors Whose Generosity Make It Possible
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Mr. and Mrs. Mark Chan
  • Participating schools - various primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong

  • Interns – University students from Hong Kong

  • Overseas volunteers (in normal years) - students from various universities in the UK










Sports Activities










And More!

Check out below video from our 2021 programme!

Key Information


  • Every year we take 15 young adults to teach this programme

  • We take volunteers from the UK and interns from City University of HK and HK Baptist University

  • They are young people who want to learn about teaching or who just wish to gain international experience

  • 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 School 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.)


  • 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 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

  • 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

  • Every year the children are invited for a day of activities at The Hong Kong Country Club.

  • Other outings have included EpicLand, The American Club and Chinese YMCA summer camp, etc.


  • All programme costs are covered each year by the donors. The Chinese YMCA and City 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


  • We plan to hold our regular programme in summer 2023 with international volunteers

  • All HK interns will be confirmed by the end of March

  • International volunteers are requested to send in their CVs by January 2023.  

  • Training begins at the start of July for two weeks.

  • Summer camps start immediately afterwards and run until mid-August



Open Book



More Recent Messages From 2021 Interns

To Future Volunteers and Interns (Dec 2022)

"I would like to tell the future interns that it is okay to take your time to choose what you want to do for your career as it is a long-term commitment! It is also good for them to travel while they are still young!" (Sunu)

"SPICE is a great internship program for one to connect with other interns and share the joy in teaching children. Interns can gain meaningful experience in a friendly environment. The teaching and learning with children are interactive. The program is a golden chance for one to understand what skills a teacher should require as well as to achieve collaboration through working in the cohesive work team. Additionally, SPICE program enables me to realise the job nature of a school teacher, leading students to grow, learn and improve themselves. It is a rewarding program for one to enhance experience, vision and readiness for teaching. Wish all new interns a remarkable experience taking part in SPICE 2023!" (Ching)

"One comment I can share to the interns is to communicate with your teammates in an honest manner. You are all adults, and with that comes a responsibility to communicate like one too. Avoid beating around the bush, and try tackling any issues you may have before things get to a breaking point. And of course, just relax and enjoy SPICE." (Carlos)

These blogs were written by the interns of 2021.  Due to covid travel restrictions, all interns were young Hong Kong people from a wonderful variety of ethnic backgrounds – Chinese, Filipino, Nepalese and South Asian.

December 2021

Learn From Continuous Improvement

"In this camp, we have debriefing sessions every day with other groups of interns so that we can make improvements daily, and learn from the successes and “failures”. After all, we want the kids to have the best experience! It was certainly energy-consuming after a morning with the energetic kids, but that’s the life of a teacher. After this camp, you will find out if you are suitable for a full-time teaching job ;) …. I have always wanted to learn ways to teach kids English in a fun way, and I was able to do that with my innovative teammates."


Intern from 2021

December 2021

Support From Coordinators

"During the camps, the students became more interested in learning English and confident about speaking English. I appreciated their work and participation in class. Despite the success we achieved, we encountered a few challenges in classroom management, for instance, dealing with students’ misbehaviour and promoting classroom interaction. Thankfully, with the advice and help from Maggie and Alexis, our coordinators, we were able to solve the problems and hold enjoyable summer camps for the students."


Intern from 2021

December 2021

Design Your Own Lesson Plan

"The experience from the SPICE programme is something that you will remember for the rest of your university time. Apart from developing a wonderful relationship with the kids, one of the best parts is to have the flexibility to make fine adjustments to the lesson plan according to the classes. We were given plenty of opportunities to break out of our shells by talking to many people in front of the classes. I also had the opportunity to be an MC to practise my public speaking skills, which helped me overcome the fear of speaking in front of many people."


Intern from 2021

December 2021

Learn As a Team

What makes SPICE special is that you don’t have to go through the shock, barriers, or challenges on your own. You have teammates that you work with, running successful camps that push you to try new things. ….. After finishing the camps, I myself have grown so much not only as a teacher but as a person...


Intern from 2021

December 2021

Apply Psychology in Teaching

"My decision to be an English teacher for the SPICE 21 summer programme was one of the best decisions. …. in the training, Tom* taught us about the importance of human psychology in teaching which has made me see the profession in a brighter light…... It was also a first for the students to have someone from my background to teach them. However, the ice between us was broken through constant communication and fun activities, and a deep bond was built."

* Head of Pedagogy who trained the interns for 2 weeks prior to camp


Intern from 2021

December 2021

Improve Self-Confidence

"The most important thing was boosting my confidence in speaking English. There were non-ethnic Chinese interns who knew little Chinese, we had to discuss our activities and strategies only in spoken English. You have to let go and try hard to express yourself. Sometimes it was hard for us to describe due to the cultural differences, but we could always understand each other with great hearts and lots of explanations. …... I could even joke around and have a daily conversation for more than an hour. It is unbelievable to do so before the SPICE camp."


Intern from 2021

December 2021

Establish Strong Connection with Students

"Throughout the camps, we have realized the vitality of building relationships with students…. In a traditional classroom setting, it is no easy task to cater to everyone. However, in SPICE we had the chance to chat with the students individually. The more we communicated with each other, the more we could connect and learn about their needs and preferences. Thus, we could adjust future activities accordingly. There were even times when students asked to play the same language games! Therefore, we found it incredible that the classes were so welcoming and harmonious."

Christopher, Bella and Tahira

Intern from 2021

December 2021

Forging a Bond with Cultural Diversity

"We were from different cultures, we had significantly different personalities but in the end, we were able to mould a bond that was forged in the heat of the classroom and hammered out by the challenges that we faced together……. at times, the challenge was the activity itself. It just wasn’t fun for them so the solution that we came up with was intense competition! We gave each group a quirky name like bird, brown, boat. This seems to have lit the competitive fire in them..."

Cherry, Philip and Sunu

Intern from 2021

Back to School



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 10 am and ends at 4 pm. Children are expected to arrive by 9:45 am to ensure ample time for registration and preparation for a 10 o’clock 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 if you have further questions!



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 or other people-oriented professions, 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; 

  • No background in English Language Education or Education is required although it would be an advantage;

  • In the past, all our Hong Kong interns have been English Language majors;

  • Volunteers so far have come from Edinburgh, Leeds and London Universities and have mostly been studying Education or Chinese.

What is the difference between interns and volunteers?

  • Interns participate from universities (generally in HK) that offer the SPICE teaching position as one of their officially-recognised internship programmes for the summer;

  • Volunteers (generally from overseas) come from universities which do not offer such internships but 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;

  • Volunteers are expected to cover the cost of flights to and from HK.

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 financial support but must pay their own airfare.

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.

Interns & Volunteers


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