One year on…

Hello, dear readers!

Truth be told, I haven’t even thought about this blog since the last post I wrote back in January, except when I’ve had messages from prospective students and applicants seeking advice with regards to life at LPC or one of the other UWCs. As before, just a super-quick reminder here to say that yes, I do receive messages sent via this blog and that yes, I do respond (I do aim to respond within 2 or 3 days, which I think is pretty decent).

OK, so update time – what have I been doing since Christmas? And what am I doing now? Since I’m sure everyone’s dying to know what a UWC graduate does with their post-IB days…

Law
So as most will probably know, I moved to the UK to study Law at Durham University. I enjoy Law more that I thought I would (how’s that for the logic of picking a degree, eh?) and I think I’ve done reasonably well… I placed in the top third of first-year Law students this year, and am reasonably confident in my module choices for next year (Criminal Law, Land Law, Trusts & Equity, Media Law, Employment Law and… *drumroll*… CHINESE!).

Law has been pretty decent – I have some lovely friends there (also big shoutout to my Fresher Mum – buddy equivalent – and her housemate! THEY WENT TO UWCSEA AND WE HAVE MUTUALS), and have been able to get involved in lots of company open days (like LOTS, OK. I almost feel like I spent more time on the train to London and back than actually in Durham) and careers events on campus.

Important sidenote: Law has taught me that there is never a bad time to use sub-headings. Even in a blog post. THAT’S A TIP FOR THE FUTURE THERE, GUYS. NEVER. A. BAD. TIME. #EUlaw101.

 

Hobbies
Life at Durham is pretty great. There’s about 14,500 students in total, so there’s lots of things to do. All the time. This year I did Badminton (more on this later), Rugby (new to me, LOVED IT), A-Team (Durham’s slavery awareness group – which I’m co-leading next year!), joined the Tech Crew (again, more on this later) and joined some business societies (Durham University Women In Business – which I am Web Manager for next year – and Durham University Finance Society). And did some ad hoc stuff for other groups and societies, but those are the main ones!

 

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So for Badminton I played for Collingwood College (SPORTS CHAMPIONS 6 YEARS RUNNING) – Mixed A, Mixed B, Women’s A, and, for about a month, Women’s B. So all the teams I could play for, basically. Had a really great time – the badminton team is so chill, it’s great! Next year I’m captaining Women’s A, and co-captaining Mixed A with Holly (who is also one of two of our club presidents).

Tech Crew is literally the best thing ever – I get into all of our college events for free as long as I do some work on the night, and get paid (!!) to do really awesome stuff like control all the lights during silent disco, pyrotechnics (!!!!!!) during Collingwood Day and sound/lights for musicals. See pictures below for (sadly) non-action shots. Next year, Mel (Tech partner in crime, Law buddy, housemate and the general focus of my attention) and I are going to be Tech Managers together – which means we get to boss everyone around. It’s going to be amazing. We are a teensy bit apprehensive – it’s (apparently) a ritual for the new Tech Managers to do the summer plays together (and alone). Mel was in charge of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard), while I was in charge of Hedda Gabler (Henrik Ibsen). By the end of the rehearsals and three days of performances, we were more than ready to ignore each other for a solid week. But oh well, ups and downs!

 

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I guess my final updates for hobbies is that I’ll be taking on quite a lot next year – in addition to what’s been mentioned, I’m also going to be Treasurer for a new society and volunteering for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. And trying to have a social life and scrape a 2.1! Hey ho!

Careers
Oh wow, careers, wow. Hmmmmmm… At the beginning of the academic year, I was quiiiite sure that my career plans involved law in some way or other – either academia or commercial law. By a bizarre but happy accident, I ended up doing a spring internship with a very respectable investment bank, and absolutely loved it. So my plans, at least for the moment, have changed to include investment banking as a possibility. I know – I’m a sellout. For all those despairing at my lack of UWC values, do not despair! If my extracurriculars can’t persuade you that I’m staying true to my roots… do read on.

Summer plans & the future…
SO. What am I up to this summer? Well, I’ve already moved out of College accommodation and into the house that me and some friends are renting for Year 2. Earlier this year, I was accepted into the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research & Leadership Scholarship program, which is a program that provides funding for undergraduate students to conduct their own research for twelve weeks divided over two summers. See below: some images of Durham’s finest undergraduate researchers (aka all 23 members of the first class of the program).

 

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This summer, my research is looking at modern slavery legislation from around the world – specifically as it related to businesses and supply chain due diligence, comparing the various types of legislation, examining their efficiency and using the effect to-date of California’s legislation to predict the effect of the UK’s legislation.

It sounds a lot more complicated that it actually is. I promise. (I think, at least? Maybe just to someone with a significant amount of background knowledge…)

But yeah. Next summer I want to focus on the balance of anti-terrorism/anti-immigration laws and human rights. Fun, Fun, FUN!

This post hit 1000 words… NOW, but I figured I’d leave a nice little rounding off paragraph below, as I don’t know when I’ll next be blogging (well, apart from inserting some nice links to my research when it’s published…)..

Not very eloquently put, but… All I wanted to say is that uni is pretty great – no, you don’t get the community vibes you get at a UWC, and yes, people drink a lot more here, but overall it’s still nice. The worst thing is probably how people just genuinely don’t care about issues you thought EVERYONE cared about (like climate change. Or SLAVERY). But opening people’s eyes is easier than you think, and making friends is still possible, even when you don’t live two doors down from each other.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll keep in touch with a significant amount of people from UWC (and even get closer to them and go visit, like I did with Aditi in Mumbai in December 2016). Also – even if you don’t get into your top school, it will all still be fine. Uni is uni, people are people and a degree is a degree. Breathe!

//peace.

Post-graduation vibes (#1)

Hi everyone, and, for some of you, congratulations on surviving the IB!

The LPC Class of 2016 graduated just about a week ago, and everything and everyone is now settling down and getting used to the feeling of having no schoolwork due, no exam stress and a lot of time to sleep! Lots of things have happened since last I blogged (as they always seem to do, as I am not very good at updating it!). Here is a summary of some of the events, as I remember them occurring.

Exams passed in quite a blur, and I was so tired after my final Geography exam that I forgot to feel relieved that I was done with the IB. Helen, our Mandarin ab initio teacher, invited the Mandarin ab students over to her flat on the Tuesday to make jiaozi (饺子 – dumplings). They were actually pretty good, even though it took us ages to do it properly! Then, me, Elise and Helen watched a Chinese film (I can’t remember exactly what it was called, but I’m pretty sure it was along the lines of “Girls Who Flirt”). I went back later in the week and was treated to some more super-yummy authentic Chinese food made by Helen and her boyfriend (I’m definitely going to miss having the genuine, non-Westernified Chinese food), and we watched half of a Chinese movie (the English title of this one is “Monster Hunt”). I will watch the second half as soon as I can! Later on the Tuesday, the LPC Norwegians (minus Bjørn) and some other Norwegian girls that live/study in Hong Kong had a 17th of May celebration. It was super-nice – we had waffles and Norwegian chocolate!

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17th of May celebration at LPC 2016!

On the Thursday, Simran and I had decided to go to China – not for any particular reason, but I have a multiple entry visa that expires in July, and Simran has a 10-year visa (OMG, Americans…). So, we basically just decided that since we were both done with exams, we would go just across the border into Shenzhen (深圳) and spend the day there. We crossed the border and went to the Shangri-La for directions, getting to FairyLake at around 11am. We spent a little while getting lost in an overly large temple complex, before walking around the lake to try to find the petrified trees. We were a little confused a couple of times, so I decided to suck it up and try to ask people in Chinese. To my absolute shock and amazement, it worked and we found our way to the petrified trees in the end, although they were nothing like what Simran had seen in the photographs. We decided to be ultra-radical and try to take public transport to get back to Hong Kong. We got on the first bus and then, while chatting to the bus attendant in Chinese, realised we would have to switch buses somewhere. The bus driver and attendant were very lovely and dropped us off at the right bus stop and told us which bus to get on next.

Graduation was great – it was last Saturday evening, held in the Assembly Hall (thinking about it, it’s actually a really nice touch that the last time we were in the Assembly Hall – and the Sports Hall – was Graduation). If you’re interested in watching the whole thing, the link can be found here. Graduation was a really nice opportunity to laugh at everyone else’s baby pictures, meet everyone’s parents and just generally enjoy the relaxed vibes on campus. I got to go on stage twice at Graduation – the first time to receive the 2016 Student Award for Community Service (yaaaay SAS!) and then again to get my UWC diploma. Then, after Graduation, we all went to the Sports Hall, where the first-years were waiting to cheer us in through a long tunnel. My Mum got to meet some of my friends and teachers, and then we bowed out after a while, as the Norwegian bunad becomes quite heavy after a while.

I left campus on Sunday afternoon, and spent the morning frantically packing, tidying and cleaning, only pausing to give (read: force my roommates to accept) my stuff away and to sign yearbooks. I said my last goodbyes to my teachers and went to Magan’s flat to hand in my clearance form and key. I had told my friends that I would only be in Magan’s flat for 20 minutes, but I was, as always, mistaken and ended up staying inside for almost an hour. By the time we went outside, there was still a crowd of about ten people that had waited outside for me for the full 45 minutes. Oops!

In keeping with our roomie tradition, Tiffany came with to drop me and my Mum off at the airport, and we had some dinner together (char siu fan!).

Rather than go directly back to Norway, we headed to Bangkok for three days. We attempted some sightseeing on the first day, but after some very obnoxious and irritating salespeople, successfully buying some Hard Rock Café merchandise and three taxi rides, we decided to call it a day and spent the rest of the three days lounging around by the hotel pool and getting burnt, which, in the end, I think was more relaxing than doing the sightseeing. Here are some pictures from Bangkok!

We arrived back in Bergen on Thursday night. I became very excited to get back to Bergen while on the flight from Oslo to Bergen – we flew over lots of mountains and snow, and the view on the way down was absolutely fantastic.

Now that my two years in Hong Kong have ended, there will not be many more new blog posts. The blog will stay online and the contact form will remain open, so if you are a UWC’er/applicant with any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me through it! This summer and autumn I will be moving on to new and exciting projects, including:

  • Revising and practising my Chinese and French
  • Reading all those books I’ve been saying I’m going to read
  • Working as a volunteer for RightsInfo (for those of you that don’t know – I’ve recently started working as a volunteer for RightsInfo, which is an organisation that reports and comments on Human Rights news – including summarizing legal cases for the general public. My first article, co-authored with Adam Wagner, the founder of RightsInfo, can be found here.)
  • (hopefully) getting a job
  • …and, finally, going to university to study Law. Woo!

I think there will probably be a couple more posts on this blog before I permanently shelve it. I’d like to write some more about trafficking and some post-LPC reflections, but I don’t know when I will write these or when they will be published. But, in any case, stay tuned!

Peace out,
Emma.

End-of-March update

The end of the school year is approaching at almost the same rate as the temperature is increasing. We have now officially finished all of our coursework and oral exams, and the only things remaining are our final exams in May. I have it easier than most, since I’m only taking five subjects this year (finished Norwegian last year), but I am still feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of topics left to revise in the next five or so weeks.

I have recently become more than a little obsessed with bullet journaling and note organization. Bullet journaling is great because it allows you to choose what to put in your journal – like a water or meal tracker, as well as changing the design and layout from week to week. I also realized that the way I take notes for most of my subjects is not very productive, as my Chemistry notes never seem to make any sense, my Biology notes are scribbled on the side of the presentation print-outs and my Geography notes are scattered all over the place. So, I have been spending most of my Easter weekend re-writing and sprucing up my Chemistry notes. Competence in Organic Chemistry, here I come!

In other news, here’s what I’ve been up to recently…

The Mandarin ab initio second-year classes went to Shenzhen (just across the Chinese border from Hong Kong) to practice our Chinese before our oral exams. We did lots of fun things and had lots of awkward moments (asking Chinese people if we could take a picture with their kids, trying to figure out exactly to what extent we were being ripped off and asking for directions from the police – good times!).

Technology wasn’t cooperating with me when I tried to find pictures of the Mandarin ab trip, so you’ll have to wait and ask me when you see me!

This Monday, Block 1 went to Kai Tak Cruise Terminal (used to be the location of Hong Kong’s airport – the one with the really narrow runway) and was then supposed to be going to the location of the old Kowloon Walled City. Unfortunately, it started raining just as we were leaving the Cruise Terminal, so we went straight for dinner once we arrived in Kowloon City, and left Kowloon City an hour early. Although I was actually quite interested in learning more about Kowloon Walled City (the dream of any geographer), I think not wandering around in the rain was a good decision. Poor Block 2 – they went biking in the rain.

You may or may not remember that I went to Art Central with Simran last year. There is also Art Basel going on at the same time, so this year I was fortunate enough to be able to snag a free ticket to Art Basel from Wendy, LPC’s art teacher. She told us when we arrived that she had spent three hours on each of the two floors at Art Basel, and that was by just walking around without taking a close look at any of the artworks. So, of course, I didn’t get to look at all of the artworks on display. In the end, I looked at about half of the first floor and maybe a quarter of the second. The second floor was funny though – it was very obvious that the galleries there were competing to have the highest number of famous artists (I’m talking Warhols, Picassos and Monets). A very enjoyable evening spent with Gaia and Hassan – thanks to Wendy for the ticket!

Some pictures in a slideshow below:

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And then of course, this weekend is Easter Weekend, so Friday and Monday are days off. I’ve been laying in bed watching various comedy shows for the most part (excellent use of time!), but I’ve also been studying, exercising (first swim of the year – water was absolutely freezing!) and rewriting notes. IB exams, here we go.

Emma

PS: As part of the process of preparing for my Chinese oral exams, I had to learn a little bit about some Chinese holidays (including the myths and stories behind Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn festival). So I was thinking that, since most of the people reading this blog know next to nothing about Chinese festivals and stories, I would try to post some here on a semi-regular basis. Look out for these stories – the next upcoming holiday is the Ching Ming festival – 清明节 (next Monday).

Project Week Take 2

Dear anyone who may be reading this blog post,

Depending on how long you have been following this blog, you may or may not have read my post about last year’s Project Week. I would recommend reading that post before this one, as many of my reflections are based on comparisons with the Project Week last year.

As with last year’s post, there are many sensitive details about the girls and the centre that cannot be revealed or shown online (this includes names, stories, pictures etc.), so you will have to just bear with me and my vagueness.

Our trip to the AFESIP centre this year was very different from our trip last year. Last year we went to Siem Reap centre for a whole week, where the girls were all between 14 and 34 years old. This year, my group went to Tom Dy centre for four days, where the girls were between 4 and 20 years old. The rest of the week was spent visiting NGOs and cultural heritage sites in Phnom Penh.

One of the major differences that I think affected the quality of the trip, for me, was the composition of students that went on the trip. Last year, the group that went together on Project Week to Siem Reap was very close-knit, and we had no communication or cooperation troubles. This year I felt as though there were three or four very distinct groupings of students that had just been thrown together for Project Week, which led to us not being able to work as well together as I had been expecting.

While preparing for Project Week this year, I had been anticipating that the girls and women in the centre would be of all ages, so from children all the way up to mid-30s. When we arrived at the centre, we quickly realized that there were only younger girls left in the centre, and none of the girls that Josef, Fleur or I knew from last year remained in the centre. That was tough to think about for the first couple of days.

For the duration of the four days my group spent at the centre, we danced and sang a lot, as well as carrying out art activities and various games. We walked (read: carried) the younger girls to and from school every day, and I also spent a lot of my time with one of the very youngest girls after school. She was very entertaining; she would have me carry her around the centre as she reached out to test all of the light switches, after which she would point in the direction of the stairs and have me walk up and down the stairs for ages and ages while carrying her. On the way up the stairs, she would count in Khmer. On the way down, she counted in English.

Our group didn’t get to do any drama or art therapies in the group, due to a lack of time. I found this very disappointing on a couple of different levels; lots of us had prepared to run drama and art therapies (which led to a lot of our preparation being wasted), and there were several students in my group that I thought would have benefited from seeing the therapies and how different the girls become during the therapies, going in an instant from blissfully happy to hysterical crying. Perhaps it would have helped the message we try to convey in SAS sink in a little further.

Halfway through the week, we swapped over with the second group of students, who had spent the first half of the week visiting NGOs and cultural heritage sites, and were headed to the centre to spend the second half of the week there.

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Emma (Y1, Norway) and Emma (Y2, Norway/UK). What a cute pair!

During our time in Phnom Penh, we visited two cultural heritage sites (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields) and a few NGOs/social enterprises (Liberty Asia, Chab Dai Coalition, Daughters of Cambodia). We also watched the movie The Killing Fields. I found it very interesting to learn more about Cambodia’s past and violent history.

The highlight of our time in Phnom Penh must have been when some of the members of our group walked past a café that we knew employed former victims of sex trafficking. We stopped by, originally thinking that we would ask them a couple of questions about which NGOs their employees were referred to them from. When we went in, we quickly realized that one of the baristas was a girl that Josef and I knew from Siem Reap from the year before. It was really nice to catch up with her both there and at a dinner later the same evening and to find out what the girls from the Siem Reap centre were up. It was really good to not wonder anymore about whether they were still under AFESIP’s protection.

In summary – I’d say this trip was very different to the trip last year, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I think that last year I was much more shocked by everything that happened at the centres, especially due to the therapies. This year I was not so shocked, and so I don’t feel that my time at the centre this year will have left as much of an impact as last year’s trip did. Nevertheless, I thought it was a very good use of our time in Phnom Penh to visit other NGOs and cultural heritage sites, to know more of Cambodia’s “background”.

Sorry about there not being many pictures! I am unable to post any from the centre or of the girls.

Radio Silence (aka what I’ve been doing for the last month and a half)

This blog post comes after quite a while of radio silence on my end. No apologies here; it’s been crazy busy and it’s only just calming down now. As of right now, there are very few things on my academic to-do list, but I am starting to make a list of all the things I have yet to do/accomplish in my time in Hong Kong, and frantically trying to cross some of them off before our final exams begin in less than two months.

The last update was the Hackathon, which, believe it or not, was a whole month and a half ago. February has rushed past for me and most of my co-years, so it really feels as though the Hackathon must have been last weekend or the weekend before.

What happened since the Hackathon, you might ask? WELL!

The Wednesday after the Hackathon was the UN Holocaust Memorial Day. Like last year, I went to the memorial, which in both years has featured some very memorable speeches by Holocaust survivors. This year’s speaker in Hong Kong was Dov Landau (the movie Exodus was based on his story) – a very interesting character.

Later that weekend was Chinese Cultural Evening – while it was a great show, I think nothing will ever be able to live up to last year’s storytelling and show. The dragon and lion dances improve year by year, and the second-year scene this year had me rolling all over the floor of the sports hall.

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Just a couple of days after Chinese Cultural Evening, we had the penultimate Music Night of the year. Ferna and I announced that we are on the look-out for first-years to take over leadership over Music Night, which was a little sad. We only have one more Music Night together as hosts, which will be in around a month from now. While Music Night sometimes feels like more hassle than it’s worth, I will miss the atmosphere at Music Nights, auditioning people and working with Ferna and the AV team to make sure everything flows smoothly.

The next weekend, Chinese New Year started. Besides going to Jordan’s 18th birthday party and being ill, I didn’t do much except study for mock exams. Now that we’re getting the mock exams back, I’m seeing that the studying paid off (although I think I could probably have gotten away with spending less of my holiday studying and more of it actually having fun).

The two weeks after Chinese New Year passed in a blur – I got well(ish), had my second and final Principal’s Dinner, dyed my hair pink (without bleaching my hair first, so it lasted for just about two days), took all my mock exams and tried frantically to organize all the SAS students in preparation for Project Week (on which reflections will come on the next post).

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My hair when it was pink (thanks Max <3)

Skipping to events of after Project Week, not much has happened. We got back to school on Saturday night, at which point Karen and myself stayed up until long past 3am de-licing ourselves so that we wouldn’t infect our pillows and bedsheets.

Sunday was spent attending Asia Society Hong Kong’s screening of “He Named Me Malala” and relaxing with friends, while the time back at school yesterday and today has been hectic and relatively mind-numbing. I also got sick (again) on Project Week, and am recovering. This is the fourth time this school year that I have been ill (compared to not getting ill AT ALL last year or the year before), so I am beginning to wonder if my immune system is having some trouble.

More on Project Week coming up!

Happy New Year!

I’ve neglected this blog for far too long, I know. My excuses are good, though – lots of work + a broken laptop = no blogging from me, although I have been answering emails (to some extent) and responding to any comments on the blog. Baby steps.

So, officially, Happy 2016!

Winter Break and the stuff before that in a nutshell (Sim-style):

  • Got sick after coming back to Europe.
  • Stayed with Angelos (my Greek second-year – class of ’15) for a day in London, which was really nice. We went to a really big Waterstones, snuck into the UCL library, went to the Wellcome Collection (exhibition on a Tibetan temple and some very painful-looking yoga as well as a foggy misty room/exhibit. Very interesting!). Angelos also made me food and, while in Bergen headed to London, I had an awkward experience while buying alcohol to gift to him.
  • Had a nice Christmas celebration with the UK family –
  • Went to bed very early for about two weeks, and then stayed up ’til 4 or 5am every night for the rest of my (extended) break. Oops.
  • Went to the cinema with Mum (watched Joy) and then went to eat Chinese food. Had a nice conversation with the owner of the restaurant about Shanghai and Hong Kong.
  • Skyped Simran… multiple times…
  • My laptop broke two days before I was scheduled to fly back to Hong Kong. Disaster – lost all of my files! Many tears and three days later, a new laptop was waiting for me when I arrived back to LPC.
  • A really nice trip from Bergen to Hong Kong – the first flight was practically empty (an entire row to myself, although the guys behind me were REALLY drunk), and in the second flight, I was sat next to two other students that were around my age. We had the oh-so-lovely unspoken agreement that when one of us needed to get up, we would all go at the same time.

After my laptop broke and I lost all of my files, I spent my whole first weekend back at LPC cooped up in my room, rewriting my Extended Essay and Biology Internal Assessment. I then spent the following week holed up in my room with Simran, both frantically trying to process our Chemistry Internal Assessment data and put it all into words (and less than 12 pages!).

This week has been a run-up to this weekend, when Margaux and I hosted Liberty Asia Students Against Slavery’s first ever Hackathon. We had 6 teams each researching a slavery case study, trying to find out as much as possible using open-source intelligence. I would say it was very successful, with each team presenting their findings at the end of the event.

5 Second Rule

Margaux (Discovery College ’16, France/USA/++), Christos (LPC ’17, Greece) and Catherine (LPC ’17, Ireland) – or, as they are better known, 5 Second Rule!

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Tegz (LPC ’16, Wales)

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Julia (LPC ’17, HK), Emma (LPC ’17, Norway), Sadé (LPC ’17, Jamaica).

Until next time. Hopefully not two months. Excuse me while I go finish some more assignments.

Emma

Oops… I forgot about this blog for two months

Just kidding, I didn’t forget about it. I thought about it regularly but didn’t write anything anyway.

As always, plenty of things have happened since I last wrote, so I’m going to write another Simran-style post where I list the things I have done and expand only briefly. Enjoy.

October:

  • My university applications and all my predicted grades were due at the start of the month. Since my university applications were handed in, I haven’t been too stressed about predicted grades. I took my LNAT and IELTS as well (don’t you just LOVE standardized testing? I sure do), so I’ve been finished with all of my university applications for a good while now. It feels nice.
  • My grandparents and uncle came to visit for a week, which was really nice (at least for me). I got off campus with them for a few days, and also went to see some sights with them.
  • CHINA WEEK aka no firstyear roomies for a week. I’d be lying if I said Tiffany and I didn’t enjoy the peace and quiet (sorry Trisha and Yvonna – we still love you ❤ ). It reminded me a lot of fortnight, with all the second-years running around to finish pieces of work.
  • Margaux and I attended FREEDOM INSPIRES Hong Kong, a Liberty Asia event. It was really nice to be there – we met some people working for Liberty Asia that we’re working with now, and we also very much enjoyed talking to the other guests and representing LASAS.

November:

  • No November is complete without the 24 Hour Race! Before the 24 Hour Race, some students acted as Light For Freedom ambassadors, trying to fundraise for the two beneficiaries of the 24 Hour Race, Chab Dai and Justice Centre Hong Kong, before the Race took place. Then, of course, there was the actual race, which was as great as ever. LPC (of course) took home the school spirit award, while the LPC boys team took home the prize for 3rd fastest boys team. We’re all very proud!
  • Sex CoP Day. Not highly enjoyable last year – basically all the sex education one ever receives at LPC all packed into one day. Usually a day off for all the second-years, a bunch of us were asked to help out with various sessions throughout the day. Significantly more fun when the pressure to put a condom on a banana correctly wasn’t on me!
  • Went to a really cool talk held by the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (or something like that) about the urbanization of China and the development of cities and rural areas in China (Beijing and Manchuria). Super-interesting!
  • Went to an awesome art gallery tour around Hong Kong with Wendy (art teacher) and a bunch of other students. So many opportunities for the students!
  • Skipped a European Cultural Evening meeting to join the Theatre classes at a Chinese play. Because why not?
  • Dad came to visit and brought way too much sweets and food!! While he was here, we had European Cultural Evening – a great success, in my book! We had a nice mix of serious and playful scenes (and I do make a pretty good queen, if I do say so myself).
  • While Dad was here, we also went to see the Hong Kong Ballet perform Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. My first ballet! I love the student discounts on tickets that they do here!!
  • Then, yesterday was the last Music Night of 2015. Ferna wasn’t here to help organize this one, and her presence was definitely missed – not only by me. I think Music Nights of this year have also been a success, mainly due to the diversity of talent the school possesses and the fact that Arnett, our principal, is so supportive of the students and lets us use his house (and really awesome piano).

So, yeah. Two months in a nutshell. I might expand on some of these points later – but probably not. Pictures below, on Facebook, and other places. Only 10 days until I get on the plane and get to go home for almost a month! So ready!!!

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Me and my favourite tutee, Simmy P ❤ Excellent block activity.

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Magan’s tutor group ’16, aka the best tutor group ever.

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Karen (Colombia) and Maisha (Bangladesh) trying to kill me before I attended FREEDOM INSPIRES Hong Kong.

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Me as an ambassador for the 24 Hour Race.

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Believe it or not, an everyday scene at LPC. Just kidding, this is the British scene from ECE. Willem (Netherlands) playing Prince Harry, me playing the Queen, and Maymay (HK/Wales) playing Wallace (my butler).

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War Poem.

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My promotional profile picture for ECE.

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Me looking dreadfully thoughtful at the last Music Night of 2015.

xoxo

Orientation Week – 2nd year

Orientation Week is very different in 2nd year than 1st year. While the second-years are not required to participate in all activities, they are very much expected to help out and take responsibility for various aspects of some of them. While this year it meant more responsibility than last year, I’m glad I don’t have to go through first-year Orientation Week again.

For me, Orientation Week mainly consisted of helping out with the Magical Mystery Tour and organizing Music Night with Ferna. I also had to continue my Extended Essay experiment and do (some) other schoolwork. And, of course, help the firstyears settle in.

It’s a very new and different experience to have new faces everywhere. On the one hand, it’s so much easier for the second-years, since we have to learn fewer names than the first-years. On the other hand, we remember all the students that have just graduated and are very busy staying in touch with them (so far I’ve skyped 3 of my second-years and I have no doubt I’ll skype more of them soon).

Orientation Week is seen as a very welcome break by lots of second-years – no more Math IA, TOK presentation or classes. It was a welcome break from classes, but really it was almost as tiring as a normal school week. I signed up to help out with welcoming the Hong Kong first-years, the Magical Mystery tour and, of course, Ferna and I were very busy organizing the first Music Night/International Cultural Evening of the school year.

The Magical Mystery tour was great – this year we changed up the stops a little bit to give the first-years a chance to see some different aspects of Hong Kong. Tegz and I greeted eight or nine groups at the Ladies’ Market in Hong Kong. As is tradition, the groups have to do us a favour before we do them the favour of giving them their next clue. Naturally, Tegz and I made the first-years hold a Taylor Swift sing-off, where they split into two teams and had to sing Taylor Swift songs at eachother. It was highly successful – I was sure several musical prodigies had joined LPC this year.

Music Night/ICE took a lot more planning, and it got quite hectic towards the end, when we realized we’d sent out two invitations via email – with both of them showing the wrong starting time. In the end we managed to sort it out, and it was quite the success. A couple of cultural groups performed, while we also had one teacher performance and a few first-year performances. In the end we had a second-year dance to “We’re All In This Together” from High School Musical – just to end it on a cheesy note. It felt a little weird to be hosting Music Night, though – taking over the responsibilities of friends who have recently graduated and left LPC is a very odd feeling. It’s also very odd to be gathered as a year group with some of us having chosen not to come back.

Ference freestyling to "We're All In This Together" at Music Night/ICE.

Ference freestyling to “We’re All In This Together” at Music Night/ICE. Lots of second-years dancing awkwardly in the background.

Badminton competition this weekend (we’re hoping to beat last year’s all-time record of 2nd place), so I shall be off now. See ya.

Back at LPC – fortnight part 2

I finished my ToK presentation on Thursday. Two weeks of stressful preparation, other assessments and waiting for first-years is almost over. There is lots of preparation yet to be done – Music Night, community service presentation, activity presentation and more, but the most immediate concern has passed (hopefully, Elise and I have passed) and we are not-so-eagerly awaiting the next challenge.

Since the last blog post, I have had four assessments and two papers to hand in. I think it’s safe to say I’m a little exhausted. I find that tutor meetings are one of the best ways for me to relax at LPC – definitely because of the people in my tutor group. This Wednesday, we met up to eat pizza (veggie of course) and chat, but ended up playing a board game as usual and laughing the entire evening. Always great.

Then, yesterday, we went on a Biology fieldtrip. To begin with, it was called off due to heavy rain. Of course, as soon as the Head of Department had called off the trip, the sun started shining. I had just gotten back to my room when I got the email telling me to come back to the Biology lab to complete the field trip. Sigh.

First-years have started to arrive – I have briefly met the German firstie, the Thai firsties and Tegz’ first roommate, but most of the firsties will actually be arriving today. I am headed to the airport in just under 2 hours to pick up four firsties. Both of the Norwegian firsties are arriving today, so Magnus and I are very much looking forward to seeing them and taking them out for all of our Norwegian and Scandinavian traditions. My Kenyan roommate will also be arriving this evening, so I have to tidy my corner before she gets here (hehehe). There is a tradition at LPC to leave sweets and notes for new firstyears, so I am running around with small packs of sweets and notes to pin to doors before I leave for the airport – just in case my buddy or anyone in my tutor group arrives while I’m out. I also have to finish making the doorsigns for my room – they are supposed to have names and flags on them, but, as it turns out, I am only capable of drawing the Norwegian flag and the Union Jack – I am absolutely hopeless at the Hong Kong flag and Kenyan flag.

Roll on third term (but with slightly less work, please).

Emma

PS: Elise is really awesome and like, the best person ever.

PPS: (Elise wrote the PS)

Back at LPC – fortnight part 1

I arrived safely in Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon, absolutely dreading going back to school. There was a bunch of homework I hadn’t done over the holidays, and I knew of two people who had decided not to return to LPC after the summer.

Third term is quite infamous across UWCs (and probably IB schools across the world) for being the most difficult and stressful term of our 2-year experience. Having only been in school for four days so far, it most certainly feels like I’m drowning in upcoming assessments. This term is the most important term when it comes to university applications, so it really feels like the last few years have just been building up to this term. Although I am rather stressed at the moment, I do think the anticipation of third term is worse than the actual thing. The main source of my stress so far is unforeseen events causing shifting of plans and added responsibility. There are so many things to do before the first-years get here and not enough hours in the day.

Tiffany (finally!) came back to school yesterday, and so we’ve now carefully arranged our furniture. While this room (1/106) is the same size as the one we had last year (1/105), we’ve pushed everything to the walls and so the room feels much bigger now. Our second-year roommates liked their own space, and they had curtains which created a “wall” about halfway into the room. Now the light is being let into the room and it feels lovely and airy.

Miranda mailed me this beautiful lantern and included a very cute letter. The lantern is now hanging on the curtain-rail above my bed.

Miranda mailed me this beautiful lantern and included a very cute letter. The lantern is now hanging on the curtain-rail above my bed.

This is the view from my room around sunset. It's so nice to have a window corner - no wall halfway through the room this year!

This is the view from my room around sunset. It’s so nice to have a window corner – no wall halfway through the room this year! The light reaches the whole room.

I now have a camera (yayyyy!), so I’ve been busy taking pictures of anything and everything, so you can expect to be seeing more pictures in the future. Not until after I’ve finished my Math IA, though. For my Math IA, I’m modelling the number of illegal entries to Europe via sea, then integrating my functions to get the total number of migrants. The deadline was technically last night, but I’ll probably be finishing it tomorrow afternoon and handing in my hard copy on Monday. Cool beans.

What with all the homework and TOK presentations etc, I haven’t really left campus apart from going to Circle K to get a Diet Coke every couple of days – since Tiffany and I’s roommates last year gave away the fridge to someone else, this year I’m having to survive by buying drinks on a less regular basis. I suppose not having cold drinks easily accessible can also be seen as a good thing – no more distractions in my room!

The only relaxation I’ve had so far is with Tegz and Simran – last night Tegz and I watched Tangled, and right now Tegz, Simran and I are laying on the beds in my room, doing various bits of homework (or not, in my case?) and chatting about anything and everything.

Fun fact: in Mandarin this week, we’ve been learning how to describe peoples’ looks. While watching Tangled, Tegz and I had plenty of fun describing Rapunzel and Flynn/Eugene:

她有长长的头发。(She has really long hair) 她有大大的眼睛。(She has big eyes.)

她有长长的头发。(She has really long hair)
她有大大的眼睛。(She has big eyes.)

他的鼻子很大。(His nose is really big.)

他的鼻子很大。(His nose is really big.)

There really is educational value in everything!

Have a nice weekend!