Helen Etheridge

Say yes

Helen Etheridge


By Helen Etheridge

Flitting through my emails one evening during my final year at Cambridge University, I open up a message advertising an opportunity with the British Council to teach English in China for a year. After a quick skim over the details I close my laptop and get into bed. Lying there in the dark I find myself thinking, "what if".

The following week my parents come for a visit. Sitting in a quaint Cambridge tearoom, catching up over a pot of tea, I remember the email. "I could go to China, you know" I say. "To do what?" dad asks. "Teach English" I reply. Mum doesn't say anything but doesn't appear too overwhelmed by the idea. "Wouldn't that be fantastic!" says dad. I nod. I can feel the little seed taking root.

With the approach of finals, the idea of going to China takes a back seat, especially with the ordeal of the German translation exam looming. The day before the British Council's application deadline I've all but given up on the idea and say this to my two friends while we're clearing up from dinner. After all I am far too busy. One of them has been to China before. He thwarts my weak attempt at avoiding the extra hassle. "It's a one off opportunity, Helen", he says, putting a saucepan back in the cupboard. With that old chestnut I’m off up the stairs to quickly put together my application.

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Editor:Liu Kan