Moving to Richmond, BC

By Michael Ma, an international student from China studying at Hugh McRoberts Secondary School. Read more from Michael here.

Hello, this is Michael. Hailing from Shenzhen, China, I am a social extrovert with a passion in leadership and volunteerism. I arrived in the quiet suburb of Richmond, BC in 2015. On that very first day, I was stunned by the spectacular view of the colossal mountains attached to the sparkling oceans.

As a rotarian (interact), I firmly believe in the principle of “service above self.” People around me often mocked me as a “soon-to-be politician.” I love diving into classical political and philosophical books in bed at night. Yes, that’s how I spend most of my leisure time.

Besides my intellectual pursuits in classics, I am fond of playing tennis with my schoolmates. I have great connections with my community and have a lot of potential to become a better version of myself. Recently, I was appointed by Mayor Malcolm Brodie to be the first high school student to the Richmond Intercultural Advisory Committee (a government agency under the purview Richmond City Council).

In addition to that, I was appointed by the Superintendents of Richmond School district as one of three student from the school district to the Richmond Sustainability Advisory Committee. My enthusiasm in student governance began with my involvement in student council since grade 8 (my first year in Canada), and I have been re-elected for each consecutive year.

Last year, I became the first international student in the Richmond School District ever elected to Vice President of the student council. The student council experience brings me both rewards and challenges. During virtually every election, there will be some student who opposed me because I am an international student.

But I did not give up or back down. Their bias has only made me a stronger person than I used to be. In my role as a student leader at my school, I have taken some bold initiatives in helping international students in the ELL class. This includes an international student club I founded to encourage an English-speaking culture. I have also taken a significant chunk of my personal time to help new-coming international students to be familiar with the school system in BC.

I feel grateful about the support that many family, friends and staff have given me in the past 3 years. Last but hopefully not least, I have previous experience working in the field of journalism. Recently, my article was published on Richmond Sentinel, a local community newspaper. I look forward to the great year of 2019 as I am sure there will be many wonderful news ahead.

Read more student stories here!

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