By Katheen Yam, EF Student Ambassador
Today was my first time at an EF Life Club event; we decorated pumpkins for in the spirit of Halloween. But first I had to get there. This EF even was located near the Cloud Nine shopping mall, between a Family Mart and a Bank of China, on the fourth floor of the Beethoven building. Unfortunately, Google Maps failed me, and took me twenty minutes in the opposite direction. But I got there eventually.
I met the coolest EF teachers: Helen, Nora, and Judy. Judy waited ages for me to show up, and was incredibly patient with me when I got lost, the mark of a great teacher. Helen and Nora introduced me to life at EF, and welcomed me to join their pumpkin-decorating. The kids I met, Apple, Sophia, Jimmy, Chenchen, Evan, and Robert, were equally awesome. The whole place was a haven for children. The place had a green color scheme, and was elaborately decorated for Halloween. There was a giant skeleton hanging among cobwebs and spiders near the entrance. Opposite the skeleton was the classroom where our pumpkin-decorating began.
First, we learned about the possible features we could use to decorate the pumpkins: different triangles for eyes to make the pumpkin look friendly or evil, other triangles for noses, and a variety of shapes for eyes. Then Helen gave each child a chance to draw their ideal pumpkin face digitally on the smartboard. Some of the children were reluctant to go up in front of the class, but Helen was patient and encouraging. Every child went up, and each design was different.
Then the pumpkin making truly began. The six children were spread out at two desks. The supplies were laid out evenly. Shapes to cut out, black paper, markers, yarn, ribbons, scissors, and glue. The projector flashed through examples of Jack O’Lanterns, but the kids were creative, and used their own designs.
The general process: cut out a shape in white paper. Glue that onto black paper. Cut that out, and glue onto pumpkin. There was also the option of drawing the face directly onto the pumpkin. But everyone chose to cut the shapes out instead, for a sharper look, and use the markers for additional details.
Jimmy and Robert were the innovators, adding hats and wings to their pumpkins. Sophia turned hers into a little girl, complete with angel/butterfly wings and braids. Evan put used slanted triangles for eyes, and a jagged strip of black paper for the mouth in classic Jack O’Lantern style. Chenchen used huge eyes and a tilted mouth to give his pumpkin a unique expression. Apple was ambitious, and tried to include a little bit of everything.
And the whole time, everyone tried to keep the conversation mostly in English. I was impressed. EF’s Life Club had an environment that really promoted learning English. The kids were generally well behaved, and the whole environment looked like it was designed for kids. If I had learned Chinese in a place like that, I would probably be fluent by now. I really enjoyed myself. The EF Life Club is an awesome program. If I get the chance, I would love to go back again.
Kathleen Yam is our EF Student Ambassador. Check out her travel blog here.