MEET 2018; Empower the Local Youth
During this summer, with the help of the Go Abroad Fund, I managed to fly over to Macau, the oldest European colony in South East Asia and one of the richest cities in the world (3rd in per capita GDP), to supervise an education initiative founded by me and three other like-minded Edinburgh students back in 2016. The initiative, the Macau Edinburgh Exchange Tour (MEET), hopes to provide access to overseas summer experience to underprivileged Macanese students. Despite being one of the most developed cities in the world, Macau has a serious wealth disparity. In many occasions, local graduates are left with limited career options. Most of them works in the gambling industry, which constitutes the backbone of Macau’s economy, in exchange for a stable income for the rest of their lives. Overseas experience or opportunities to interact with foreigners remain to be a luxury reserved to the resourceful families.
By partnering with the Macau Government, Governments and universities from developing South and South East Asian countries, and High Schools in both Hong Kong and Macau, MEET funds 20-30 Edinburgh students each year to conduct a disciplinary-based project-learning programme for 3 weeks during summer in Macau. The programme is either offered for free or with a minimal charge, e.g. £50 for 3 weeks.
This year, we brought 20 volunteers from Edinburgh to Macau and served around 200 local students within the 3 weeks. Noting that Portuguese, instead of English, is the official language of Macau, MEET 2018 has extended its service to offering Portuguese classes by partnering with the Catholic University of Portugal, a top university in Portugal. We have concluded our programme with a graduation ceremony held on 27th July, 2018. Students presented their learning outcomes during the ceremony. I was especially grateful to see the changes they have accomplished in the 3 weeks. Witnessing some of them transformed from barely speaking up in class to being able to present in front of 200 people was the greatest pleasure I had in organising the programme for the second year. We also received positive feedbacks from our guests, including foreign Ambassadors and Government Officials, and parents attending the ceremony
I do look forward to the continuous growth of the programme in the future and hope that we can continue to impact the local society as students from the Edinburgh University.