VMU Graduate Manages Children’s Home in China
Huang Fengyi, VMU Master of Social Work, graduated from Vytautas Magnus University two years ago, and has shared her thoughts on her experiences during the studies and after graduating.
My name is Huang Fengyi. Two years ago I graduated from Vytautas Magnus University with a master degree of social work. Many people were curious about why I chose VMU. I would say it is like my destiny—being in Lithuania and studying at VMU is an experience which has had a great influence on my way of thinking and my view toward the world.
The education I received as a master student of social work was so different from my previous training as a pharmacist. I have learnt to look at the world in a constructive way. I am able to study people’s problems and social issues in a broader framework. I was taught to be down-to-earth, patient, and reflective.
Two months after I returned to China, an earthquake happened in the south-western region of China, Yunnan. I was assigned to the post-earthquake area as a program coordinator, trying to build some safe places in the villages or schools for the children, where they could study, play and learn some skills. The post-earthquake area is very poor. Many young people have to leave their villages and try to look for a living in some bigger cities. However, their children usually cannot go with them and are left behind–a sad story behind the fast economic development of China, and all over the poor areas of the country.
After the project was ended, I returned to the city and worked as a research assistant in a research institute. I started to conduct research for the government and the minor party. I have to say, the research skills I have learnt from my master degree has little to do with what I was doing in the research institute. It was a painful experience, though I have to admit it did give me some knowledge about social work development in China, which I am a bit pessimistic about. Even though now the government is pushing to promote social work service in China, the quality of social workers and their services are not properly emphasized. What is lacking? The spirit of down-to-earth service.
What I have learnt from my NGO management class is not to complain. I stopped whining about my research job, and quit. Right now I am working as a manager in the children’s home. It is a very challenging job and I am still learning how to work with the children. I feel like I am doing something I have wanted to do.
I encountered many difficulties after I returned to China. I always miss my life and my studies at VMU—it was sweet and bitter. Somehow it gives me courage to move forward—life is a journey and I have tried my best.