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Wellington College, Shanghai welcomes Ms Helena Hicks as Director of Chinese Studies (Mandarin)

28 December 2015
It is difficult to express my excitement about joining Wellington College Shanghai as Director of Chinese Studies. To become part of the Wellington phenomenon is exciting enough, but to be there as a totally new college opens its doors is an opportunity few teachers ever get. To do this in Shanghai, a vibrant and scintillating ‘city of dreams’, is the icing on the cake! I cannot wait to work with the wonderful staff I know the college will recruit. Working together, I am sure we will make the college a centre of excellence, with a truly holistic educational experience for its students that strongly promotes the concept of ‘World Citizenship’. Chinese is an important part of this, and I am confident that every student (and every staff member) will embrace the language and enjoy learning and using it, not just by virtue of its inherent value as a major world language, but also because the language is fascinating, beautiful and fun with a rich historical and cultural background. My vision for Chinese at Wellington College Shanghai is one that draws on this richness to present a stimulating, relevant and rewarding learning experience that is truly cross-curricular and extends deeply into the college’s extra-curricular provision. Moving to Shanghai is something of a homecoming for me, as I was born in China (albeit in a different part of that vast country), was educated there and taught English language in Loudi University and the famous Jimei University for many years. When I moved to the UK in 1999, Chinese language was something of a novelty in education, and I am privileged to have been instrumental in its growing popularity and acceptance into the curriculum of schools that include St Peter’s High School, Pate’s Grammar School and the Cheltenham Ladies’ College. I have, for the last eight years, been teaching Chinese full time at the latter of these, and I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing my students achieve great academic success, developing a lifelong passion for Chinese language and culture. Many have gone on to study the language at Oxford and Cambridge, and a few have even become celebrities in China.