There’s a term: “border crossing student” that exists in Hong Kong, describing the children from mainland China crossing the border to Hong Kong, on a daily basis for school. I sat down to watch 20 minutes of the programme, as it was in Chinese to improve my fluency. Despite the majority of it being in cantonese (a dialect of Chinese), I still picked up on the mandarin phrases.
According to the SCMP (South China Morning Post), in their article titled ‘Learning the hard way‘ : 25,000 children in 2015 made a daily trip to cross the border (both to and from), and it is set to rise to over 28,000 in the future due to the attraction of cheap housing in the mainland (specifically Shenzhen) and good education on the other side of the border, in Hong Kong, possibly due to the influence of British colonisation. Perhaps you can guess of the possible downside to schools in Hong Kong; an influx of foreign students leads to a quick filling up of schools, a requirement for more schools and teachers placing strain on the Hong Kong education department. Tension between Hong Kong and mainland parents battling for their child’s school placements, and the outrage that arises from low grades or missed appointments. Children as young as 8 years have to rise sharp and early (6AM), spend around two hours travelling and can only sleep at around 10:30PM.
Upon research I’ve learnt that this term also exists with Mexican children crossing the border to the USA, so it’s not an exclusive case of parents wanting to receive the best education, showing the utmost power of learning.
This programme made me so grateful that I don’t have to cross a border to get to my school. To get an education will always be a blessing my parents have given to me. Something in that documentary just struck a chord in my body, mind and heart, to really appreciate the only thing standing between my bed and my education, which is an absolutely top of the line bus ride taking about 30-40 minutes, which is nothing compared to what some border crossing kindergarteners have to do daily. I’m also so grateful I’ve never had to learn pass a language barrier, perhaps something my parents regret (as I don’t speak mandarin very well, which is my supposed mother tongue). Perhaps it’s no secret that I’m in love with learning and education, from watching this documentary I’ve only felt an upsurgence of motivation to study even harder and make use of all the tools I’ve been given.
In fact now, take some time to thank your parents (not just emotionally) for the education you have been given. I understand that most people go to state schools and therefore don’t pay school fees, but be grateful for the ability even to receive an education without a border. If there’s a slim chance you are a border crossing student, I applaud both you and your parents for recognising education as a powerful gift, and perhaps leave a comment if you feel comfortable about your short story – a personal take on crossing the border daily.
The monotony of school life will be descending upon our lives in a quick month (August please don’t go!) and I hope that this makes you walk through the doors of your school with a new, appreciative light.