36-year-old Liu Xi recently arrived in Finland to study the Master’s program Teaching, Learning and Media Education at Tampere University.
The experienced educator looks forward to getting to know the world’s happiest nation and its famous education system.
A link between happiness and education?
Liu Xi, or CiCi as she calls herself in English, used to live in Guangzhou in Southern China. Though the autumn in Northern Europe is dark, wet and cold, she loves it here and says that the Finns have so far given her and her 11-year-old daughter a warm welcome.
CiCi also had the chance to take a Master’s in Estonia and Sweden, but she chose Finland, because of the country’s image.
”Finland is a famous country for education. The country also has a reputation for being happy, even though people here say it’s a lie,” she laughs.
“I am interested in seeing how happiness could be related to education.”
CiCi will not only get to study the relationship between happiness and education at the university. She will also be able to experience the Finnish education system in practice through her daughter, who attends sixth grade at the local school.
“In China, learning can be painful for many kids, so, if possible, I’d like my daughter to experience more of the world.”
Teacher by coincidence
CiCi’s first education was vocational training dealing with customs matters and foreign freight. She also has a bachelor in HR related psychology.
Her first job, however, was in the education industry with the international language training provider Linguaphone. Here, she worked with HR and hired around 30 foreign teachers in Guangzhou, China.
After six years of management and administration work in the performing arts industry in Beijing, CiCi got offered a position as an English teacher back in Guangzhou.
“I have no experience, but I’d love to,” was her reply.
Her first challenge was teaching an open English course for kids at the library. After “passing that test” she was hired as a teacher. She advanced to becoming manager of the training department and recruited teachers and evaluated their performance in the classroom.
CiCi was also in charge of projects for adults and design and esports education, all while still teaching English classes to kids, who wanted to get into Guangzhou’s international school.
Lifelong learning in practice
Education is a theme that is relevant all the way through our lives, answers CiCi, when asked why she is interested in the topic.
“In Finland, lifelong learning is something that is talked about all the time, and the government seems to appreciate the idea,” notes CiCi.
As she does not have a fancy degree from a top university in her homeland, she found it difficult to further her education in China.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to get to upgrade myself here in Finland,” she says. “The concept of equality in education is really strong here.”
CiCi wants to continue learning about her new Northern home, also after she finishes her Master’s studies.
“I hope to settle down in a company in Finland, so I can support myself and my family in Finland, or then I’ll continue with a ph.d.,” she says. “Only two years not enough.”
CiCi has promised to help Sumino alongside her studies, so you will definitely hear from her again!
Already next week she will talk about how she has experienced the Finnish school system as a Chinese parent to a sixth grader.