K is a Japanse lady I made friends with in Hong Kong. She came to Shanghai this week so we had a dinner catchup.
Sitting in the restaurant, she gave me the privilege to know her better by sharing her stories.
‘When I was in high school my own father passed away and my mother re-married. My step father, being a bit conservative, did not like the idea of me continuing my higher education. His idea of a normal young girl is to finish high school, go to work for a couple of years, get married and have children.
I worked for a few years and found out this was not the life I wanted. So I took a distant learning program to get a bachelor’s degree in information science and economics. The university sent me many books and materials to study on my own. I needed to write essays and post them back. Every year I also needed to spend 150 hours in classrooms. After four years working and studying, I got my bachelor’s degree and accepted a job to work in Hong Kong. Now I am doing translation work. At the same time I am taking lessons to make Japanese sweets since I love making food. My dream is to organise workshops to teach foreigners how to make Japanese sweets around the world.
Listening to K, I further understood why I jumped into MOOCs without any hesitate. Without the opportunity to receive a necessary education, K would end up being a housewife to take care of households and children. Now she has the experience of living in Hong Kong, travelling to many countries and making non Japanese friends. More importantly, she has come up with her dream and has the opportunity, a chance to make it real.
I came to realise this simple fact. It does not matter that much which school we went to, maybe not even the format of our education. What matters is for one to realise to dream is not an impossible. That is such a powerful message!