WHIle most students are celebrating their summer holidays by sleeping in, a group of 30 teenagers arrive at King George V School every morning to train to become student teachers. Summerbridge Hong Kong (SBHK) is an English immersion programme which was established 15 years ago. It has more than 60 volunteer staff and offers eight weeks of classes for about 400 underprivileged local Form Two and Three students. The student teachers arrive at the school at 7.45am and often don't leave until after 6pm when they go home to plan lessons for the next day. But despite the heavy workload the volunteers are passionate about the programme. 'Being a teacher is fulfilling,' said Joyce Au, 20, a former Summerbridge student who is dean of students at the King George V School site this summer. 'I feel proud when I see my students develop over the summer from being shy to confident individuals. It makes all the extra hours and late nights I put in worthwhile.' The student teachers design their own course curriculum, which can vary from music and journalism to the human heart and social studies. While the programme is set up to benefit the students, the student teachers also gain a great deal. 'Our motto at Summerbridge is 'Students teaching Students', which I feel helped me a lot as a student,' said Cheung Yiu-sing, 16, a former student now acting as a teaching assistant. 'It really helps the teachers relate to their students and creates a bond of trust and understanding,' explained the SKH Lui Ming Choi Secondary School student. Visiting American staff Samuel Slavin and Shawn Udell said the programme helped them connect with society. 'I feel that through teaching, I can rectify social injustices and issues, as I can educate people on matters that are important to them. Many of our issues today are born from ignorance and misinformation - education is the answer,' said Mr Udell, who will start his first year at Columbia University after the summer. The summer volunteer programme has also inspired participants to become professional teachers. 'Summerbridge inspired me to be a teacher,' said Leo Zen, who will begin teaching English at Creative Secondary School in Hang Hau this year. 'I started teaching for Summerbridge in the US in 1998, and have been hooked ever since. Teaching in the real world, you feel like you have to fit into a box, yet I feel that my experience at Summerbridge helped me develop good ideals that I can turn to when the going gets tough.' Collin Lawrence, 27, who now teaches at the Urban Assembly School of Music and Art in the US, said: 'I've always wanted to teach, and Summerbridge helped me learn about what it really is to be a teacher. 'It is an education utopia as it provides a safe environment for everyone to learn, including the teachers. It is like an introductory course for prospective teaching students.' For more information on Summerbridge Hong Kong, visit www.summerbridge.org.hk Jason Ng is a Young Post intern.