A British teacher moved from the heart | Project Week  
A British teacher moved from the heart | Project Week  

Below is a poem written by Su Yin Chan, an English teacher from UK, who joined the Project Week, to express her gratitude.



My name is Su Yin Chen. My father is from New Territories, Hong Kong, but my mother is half-Chinese from Jamaica, and that is where I was born before moving to the UK at the age of three. I grew up in North Wales and then moved to London. I taught English in the public sector in the city centre. Back in 2005 and 2007, I joined a teacher delegation to exchange experiences of education in China, and I was lucky enough to visit Beijing for a week each time, mainly teaching in a school. Having promised my father to learn the language, I am now fulfilling that promise here at UWC Changshu, China, and loving being here.


I was so excited to be going to Xixian to visit Siyuan school and see something of the Chinese countryside and the real China. What I discovered is that like a lot of places near Changshu, there are many, many towering buildings and urban sprawl on the way and around Xixian. The land seemed very flat and fertile, and surprisingly empty of people en route, and when we arrived, very similar to Changshu.


  • 甘蔗地


Head teacher Liu of Siyuan school went out of his way to look after us all, and one of the highlights of that Sunday was visiting the farm seeing all the beautiful vegetables growing. We also got to visit the re-constructed memorial hall of a well known beauty Madam Xi in ancient China in the beautiful sunshine, and hear her story. Some students got to visit students’ homes and were overwhelmed by the hospitality they received.

  • UWC学生和思源学生合影


The size of schools in China is startling compared to the UK, and the flag-raising ceremony also a new experience. That Monday morning was the coldest we’d encountered, but our reception was so warm, there were smiles all round as we were entertained by wonderful performances given by the Siyuan students, ending up with all of us on stage, treated like popular performers.


Getting to meet the students and interact with them, was the real highlight of the week, especially as we saw the same faces again and again and came to feel really close to them. They were interested in us, and we were interested in them. As a gift, I wrote a poem that really captures this feeling of interchange.  Kimi translated the poem into Chinese. For many of us, we realized that by comparison our lives have been much easier, but their spirit, their willingness to share, and their generosity was humbling.

  • 我们与刘校长(二排左一)的合影, 作者 (二排左五)


As Mehrdod, a FP student from Tajikistan said, when he saw the amazing talent of the students, how hard they must have worked to give us such a varied performance in the final concert, he was inspired by them to give back. He’s determined that next year, when he’s a DP1, he’ll have some new skill to share. Apart from the new friendships that formed within our group of students, many of us felt that although we knew from their reaction that we’d touched the young students of Siyuan – from the beautiful flowers, fruit and sweets we’d been given – they had touched us. Seeing how other people live, and getting to spend time with them, and then reflecting on this experience has been really important for UWC students too: it was a shared experience that benefited and inspired so many people.