Michelle - Hong Kong Michelle - Hong Kong

Module: Creative Writing

Year: 2015

Michelle won the British Council’s UK Summer School Competition for Hong Kong senior high school students, and was awarded a full scholarship for the UEA International Summer School. She wrote the below reflective piece for the British Council blog.

Full information regarding the entry requirements for gifted and talented 17 year old high school students can be found on our eligibility page.

"I chose to study the Creative Writing module in the International Summer School of the University of East Anglia, a university in Norwich, one of the cities of literature around the world. In fact, UEA is renowned for being the first university in the UK to provide a Creative Writing Masters Degree, and their degree’s excellence is also common knowledge. Despite my high expectations, the Creative Writing lessons did not disappoint. In lesson, three things that we never failed to do was write, read and discuss. We were often told to practice our writing, be it a poem or a paragraph, and we were to read them out loud then discuss them among ourselves. With a small class of eight people, we were really relaxed and willing to share around each other. Our professor Kate always stressed upon the importance of discussions, editing and workshopping, and the motto of “show, not tell” is now stuck in my head, which was why I laughed in the middle of an English lesson when I saw the same phrase on my “how to write your personal statement” worksheet (Now you know why, Miss Kwok).

Apart from my lessons, I also did some travelling. I mean, when you get to go to the UK for free, who wouldn’t do so? As part of my lesson, my whole class went to Oxford for a tour around the colleges of the University of Oxford, and we were introduced to the rich literary background of Oxford—Alice in the Wonderland was written in Oxford by the Oxford professor C.S. Lewis, who often gathered with the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien in the Eagle and Child pub, which they nicknamed “the Bird and Baby”.  We also caught up with the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival 2015 and went to Cambridge to watch Romeo and Juliet in the garden of St. John’s College of the University of Cambridge. Needless to say, watching the characters and events come to life made the almost unbelievable whirlwind love story between the world’s most famous pair of star-crossed lovers convincing and all the more tragic. I also travelled with my new friends to London for two consecutive weekends, then made a trip to Cambridge to visit one of my old friends from the Cambridge Academic English Programme last year (Take it from someone who joined to the Cambridge Programmes twice—they were wonderful experiences which delivered equal measures of fun and knowledge. If you are thinking about joining them, do it!).

This is a programme that let me explore my aesthetic side among words, to get a taste of university life, to dive deep into a branch that I could not study specifically at school. This is a trip that allowed me to breathe outside of Hong Kong, outside of the mounting pressure of the looming DSE, and make friends who came from all around the world with vastly different cultures and interests. This is an award that opened my horizons."