Reflections on Working with a We women foundation Student


In March I found myself in an extremely fortunate situation. I was given the opportunity to assist a highly motivated Kachin woman, named Hseng Shadan, prepare for the TOEFL Test. The TOEFL is an intensive English proficiency exam that is required for non-native speakers to enter universities which use English as their primary language.

Hseng Shadan is currently in the application process at Sydney University in Australia, where she hopes to major in Gender Studies next spring. On top of her dedication to these lengthy preparations, Hseng Shadan is also the secretary general of the Kachin Women’s Association, Thailand where she strives each day to create a better future for her community.

When I first met Hseng Shadan I initially noticed her good nature and kind attitude. Each meeting she would race me to the kitchen so that she could prepare glasses of water for us. She always rode in on her bike and smiled despite her long days at work. On top of that, Hseng Shadan’s job has many obligations and at many of our meetings she was under extreme stress, yet some how she always came prepared and ready to work. This combination of motivation and good nature has made working with her a true pleasure.

At a few of our meeting we have discussed what she wants for herself in the future. Her answers always have revolved around a prosperous and healthy future for her home nation of Burma. We have also had discussions on eliminating inequality and creating better access to education and each time I saw a spark in her eyes that was more than inspiring. It is this passion that I know will drive her to create the future she wants for herself and those around her.

As a tutor, I could not be more inspired by her story and the devotion she has for education and her passion for others, which I know will allow her to succeed in her goals as well as any other that she decides to tackle in the future.

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