My Asian Adventure began in August in 2003 on accepting a teaching position at Utahloy International School and transitioning from a South African winter to the heat and humidity of a Guangzhou summer. Ubuntu is an African term meaning “being human towards others" and it embodies the idea of connection, community and caring. It is heart-warming to find this sense of humanity here on our school campus. We are unique through identity and culture yet I have experienced a respect and concern for one another and a deep sense of belonging.
In 2003 motorbikes whizzed by, inter-weaving with cyclists carrying yokes of poultry, flowers and vegetables and tricycles burdened with two storey loads of styrofoam, cardboard and plastic for recycling. Motor cars were limited and green taxis ruled the road. A year later motorbikes were restricted to outer city zones and private vehicles became prized possessions. Now roads are bustling and busy, overcrowded with buses, private cars and taxis, green, blue, red, yellow and orange. E-bikes and Segways are driven perilously in every direction and this last year has seen the advent of shared mobikes in their hordes. The concept of bike-sharing is a marvellous as pavements have turned into race tracks. In general, the road traffic system has been enormously improved and long gone are the traffic jams of the past. Hooting was discouraged yet now echoes frequently through my apartment window.
I arrived in China without a cell phone or a personal computer. I bought phone cards and discovered which providers allowed me longer overseas talk time. Emailing was done at an internet café or occasionally during lunchtime. Over the years a laptop replaced my pencil box and diary and my mobiles became smaller, thinner and lighter yet organised my life. Skype, WeChat and WhatsApp linked me with family and friends for free and made my world feel so much smaller and yet somehow also invaded my personal space and privacy. WeChat allows me to shop electronically, to rent a bike, to hail a cab, to have conversations and to send and receive information quickly.
Approaches to teaching and learning have seen dramatic changes. At schools following the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate, strong emphasis is placed on student agency and encouraging students to engage responsibly and to be accountable for their learning and actions. It challenges students to excel in their studies and encourage both personal and academic achievement. Today, the three Rs, Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, share importance in value with the development of respect, resilience and reflective thinking. It has been interesting to note that parents no longer seek admission so that their children can learn to speak English or maintain their mother tongue. They choose an inquiry learning environment which will develop curious, independent, knowledgeable and caring young people who are personally motivated to succeed.
Being a member of the UISG family enriches one intrinsically and personal change is inevitable. Becoming more culturally aware, learning another language and appreciating the mystical and magical wonders of China empowers us all to be local and global citizens.
Having spent almost fifteen years in Guangzhou leaves me confused about where my home really is. Here or there. We are offered endless opportunities and possibilities and we have a responsibility to embrace them. Without doubt, we have the privilege and pleasure of living and learning at UISG.
Head of Primary at UISG, Utahloy International School, Guangzhou.
Dear Parents, Students, and Alumni,
I am elated to introduce myself as your child’s university counsellor. This is my first year at UISG, and I am thrilled to be a part of your school and international community. I hope to build meaningful relationships with each and every one of our students, and to collaborate with parents, teachers, and community partners to continue the legacy of success of all students at UISG.
I attended Norfolk State University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, and a Master’s degree in Urban Education and Professional School Counselling. I am a Licensed Professional School Counsellor and have served high school students for five years. I am member of ASCA to continue professional develop in current trends and needs associated with the college admissions process. I am native to the Unites States and moved to Guangzhou with my son. In my spare time, I enjoy dancing, sightseeing, and a fun bike ride.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s academic, personal/social, or career development. I look forward to working with you this year!
Your University Counsellor,
您的大學輔導員- Tiese Bright