A 68-year-old man from the U.S. has been offering free English classes in Chengdu, southwestern China’s Sichuan province, to make his own contribution to the local community, Huaxi City Daily reported on Nov. 6.
The retiree surnamed James was an architectural engineer from Washington D.C., and his wife is a retired college teacher in Sichuan.
His students come from all walks of life, ranging from 24 to 60. The 1-hour classes are always extended because of the students’ passion for learning.
“This is a class with human kindness,” said Luo Lixian, one of the students.
The social community-based English class has gathered a group of people who used to be strangers to each other, turning them into friends and boosting their confidence.
“The most important thing is that we are touched by the volunteering spirit of James and have followed him to make our own contribution to the community,” said Xiong Shan, director of the community.
According to James, the community’s people-oriented services are what struck him the most after he moved to Pidu District, Chengdu, in 2015. The service center for international residents has not only helped him fit in with the local people, but also improved his Chinese skills. In addition, he has acquired a Chinese driving license with the help of local residents.
“The community has helped me a lot, so I need to do something with my competence to contribute to it,” said James.
James established an online chat group for his class, and over 100 local residents have joined so far.
James’s humorous teaching style has won him a great reputation among his students. In addition to oral English, he also patiently explains all kinds of problems related with English.
“I’m very happy to be learning together with the local residents,” he said. He has become a local celebrity and is hailed as the “most beautiful neighbor” by his students.