JPED Living Library
The Living Library, a reading concept that originated in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a way of gaining more knowledge by talking to people who are sharing. The JPED Progression Centre, in order to help the younger students build up an initial understanding and knowledge of studying abroad, we invited our bilingual teachers to share the topic.
JPED's bilingual teachers are all graduates from renowned overseas institutions and have many years of experience in studying and working abroad. Through our teachers' sharing, students will be able to get closer to the real life of studying abroad and get valuable experience that cannot be achieved through PPT or books.
In the first session, Mr. Will, a humanities teacher and event planner at JPED, was invited to share his thoughts and feelings from his 13 years of studying and working abroad.
The 13-year overseas study and work experience has brought him unique experience and feelings, and combined with his own experience, he can provide valuable suggestions for future students to study abroad.
Academics: a short-lived pain that will eventually become a gift
Back in 2005, I was ranked the NO.1 student in English in Beijing, which made me very confident, even somewhat blindly so. I thought that I had a good level of English even before I went abroad.
When I started my first month of study in the US, my English, which I was so proud of, gave me a shock since I could not understand the lessons at all. There were no international students at my school and I was the only Chinese student.
Mr. Will as a student
Suddenly entering an English immersion environment, it was confusing and at the same time a feeling of having no one to turn to. For the first two weeks of my study, my grades were basically zero. This led to the school reaching out to my host family to discuss my situation, then the host family communicate with me. Through the communication I realized that it was not just language barrier, but more importantly a cultural barrier.
Celebrate with friends
The school curriculum is completely different between the Chinese and American school. The chinese curriculum is basically Chinese history, Chinese politics and world history, but in American high schools, students learn American politics and American history, which is something that I have never experienced before. I remembered that the teacher who taught American history is excellent in teaching , but his assignments were very difficult. For example, students were required to memorise the 50 US states and their capitals in two days as part of his exam.
All kinds of challenges were extremly painful for me at the time. But my host family told me that this was a process. Looking back, I am very grateful for that.
Mr.Will during his Masters studies
So I started to improve myself. I went to teachers every day to ask for extra lessons and read a lot of books. In the process, I found out what I needed and what I interested to study. Step by step, I gradually adjusted myself to fit in the academic environment.
Throughout my 13 years study in the United States, the thing I am most proud of is that my progression was always on full scholarships from high school to Undergraduate, then to Postgraduate, I did not cost my family for my overseas study.
Work: Be a global citizen who can makes it outside there but also can be back
At the age of 18, I started my career. Due to rhe local policy, as an international student, I was not allowed to work off-campus so I had to apply for jobs on-campus.
My first job is in McDonald's, and my job description was to go to the very back of the Kitchen to make fried chicken for five whole months. When I worked at there, we all have a locker to keep our personal belongings. I would put all my belongings in that locker, including my iPod, which I saved up for an entire month, it was extremly precious to me.
with my friends
While working, I found out that my locker had been stollen and I lost all my things, including that iPod, and I was at the edge of breakdown. But with no surveillance and no witnesses, I had to accept that and call my host family to pick me up with tears.
I remembered that my host family told me that what you are going through now is actually helping you to become stronger.
Participate in on-site interview work
After my postgraduate studies, I chose to become an international journalist, a job I have been doing for about eight years. Being a journalist has opened up my view to the cultures, histories and living conditions of different countries, people and races in the world. This job has allowed me to visit many countries, such as Syria, Iraq and other countries that may be in the state of war, or some of the troubled countries in Southeast Asia, etc..
interviews with other countries' government staff
Over the years of living and working in the United States, different work experiences have brought me different insights. I have grown the fastest when I have fallen the hardest. The exposure to different cultures has shaped my world view and made me reflect on what it is really like to live abroad.
Can be out, but can make it back.
What does it mean to go out? It means taking chinese history and culture out.
What does it mean to make it back? It means being able to bring back the foreign culture and able to combine it with Chinese culture.
11 years of international journalism
I think that's one of the things that I can bring back and enjoy the most after studying and living abroad for years.
Life: Three tips to help students studying abroad
When I first arrived, I found that the loneliness was particularly harsh. During that time there were not as many media platforms to kill the time as there are now. Communication tools were not as advanced as they are now, and the only way to get in touch was to make a phone call by arranging a regular time with my family to talk about how I was coping with life and study.
This also means that for most of my thirteen years of studying abroad, I had to deal with all the challenges all by myelf. Therefore, I have summarised three points that I hope can be helpful to my students when they start their overseas study.
First, find an entertainment that you can enjoy
When I was overseas, I put all of my emotional changes in the gym and let out my emotions through exercise as a healthy way.
Therefore, you can think about a way that you like to vent your emotions when you are in trouble and have a big problem, so that you can get relaxed.
Secondly, keep reading
A corner of Mr. Will's bookshelf
I wish my students can read a lot and develop a consistent reading habit. Reading not only helps you when interacting with others, it also enriches you. It is a very good habit to live by and I have keeping it from my days as a student to present.
Thirdly, have sincere friends
Get together with good friends in America
I hope that my students can find good friends, the kind of friends who can help you, guide you in a positive way and help you to analyse and communicate when you are in trouble.
I hope that the experience of studying abroad I shared can give you some tips to think about what is your goal to study overseas. What is it that you want to achieve from university? I hope that you are clear and definite about your future path.
Will is with the students
I hope that you can be a happy person, you can learn more, and that you have the capability to cope with unknown furture and changing times.
Listen carefully to the JPEDer shared by the teacher
I am grateful to be back in China and to be able to step in the education industry as a teacher and share my experiences with my students. At the same time, I hope that one day in the future, when I meet my students again, or when they come to school again, I will be able to see that they can have a different life story through their overseas experience. I believe that would be the most wonderful thing.
What Mr. Will talked about was his own experience in the United States, which made me realize that it was not easy to live in the United States, and also made me more mentally prepared and excited for the unknown life of studying abroad.
On Wednesday's Living Library, Mr.Will shared his experience studying abroad in the United States. Leaving home alone, working in a completely unfamiliar environment while studying, the bitterness and suffering may only be personally experienced to understand. Although he encountered many difficulties, but with the encouragement of the host family and the persuasion of his parents, he still rely on his own strength to complete the test of school and life. While drawing lessons and summarizing experience, we should also learn his spirit of never giving up. After the storm, there will be a rainbow, after overcoming setbacks, the way forward will naturally become clear.
Mr. Will shared about about his study experience in the United States. He went to college, got an internship and some interesting things happened. This gives me a certain understanding of studying in the United States, and also enables me to learn the things I need to do when studying abroad, including putting all my energy into study, so that I can have an ideal life in the future .
The story of Mr. Will makes us feel the hardship and difficulty of being in a foreign country, and also shows his strong and brave heart. It is because of such efforts that he made to become so excellent!
I was impressed by Mr. Will's living library. His life abroad can be described as hard. He failed in his first month at school; Working at McDonald's, got my bag stolen, lost my cell phone I saved up for. These experiences, which I had only seen in articles before, were all reflected in Mr. Will. I sincerely admire him.
- Linda Fu
Mr. Will's experience in the United States is just like the story in the novel. He has experienced both hardship and happiness in a foreign country by himself. Some small things happened to him also made me understand the life of studying abroad
"The crystal curtain moves and the breeze rises, filled the garden with rose scent." Mr.Will combined his own experience to provide students with very effective and constructive suggestions.
It helped students to better prepare for their future study and to plan their future paths in the light of their own circumstances. In the next issue, we will invite two teachers with UK studying experience to explain how to fit in the life in the UK quickly.