The Fascination of China

17 May 2013

Sunset-Great-Wall-300wI thoroughly enjoyed James Brodie's enlightening presentation "Where Chinese has taken me."  I enjoy learning languages and being at this presentation made me think of where I could possibly go, too. 

I expected Mr Brodie to be a lot older and more formal, so on arrival at the meeting I was surprised to see a much younger and very easy going person. He told us about his very exciting and full life from the end of his school days to the present as if it was no big deal.  He was very modest and relaxed about his achievements and made everything he did so far look so easy, which I am sure was not the case! 

Mr Brodie told us that he went to Stewart Melville College before spending a gap year in Thailand teaching English in a remote village where he totally immersed himself in Thai culture.  He studied Buddhism because he thought this would help him understand more about the people and fit into their way of life better.  Afterwards, he returned to Britain to read Geography at Sheffield University but after a year he decided to switch to Chinese studies. A third of this course was learning Mandarin and the other two thirds consisted of learning about Chinese economics, history and politics.  He met and married a French student there and after graduating with a BA Hons in Chinese Studies he and his new wife moved to Paris.  While living in Paris, Mr Brodie studied French for a year and while doing this he stumbled upon an advertisement for a job as a translator for two French documentary makers who wanted someone who could speak English, Mandarin and French. This was his lucky break and led to an adventure to find the source of the Yangtze River in China.  He then moved to Beijing with his wife and took a job at an art studio dealing in Chinese contemporary art. The dealer there wanted to sell this art in Britain and Mr Brodie was obviously the man to do this. Cbbc-300wFrom there he went on to work for a company which deals with chemicals and he is now the Scotland manager for the China-Britain Business Council.

It was truly enlightening and amazing to hear Mr Brodie's story.  He has managed to do so much with his life already and is still so young!  Being at this presentation has taught me a great deal.  Mostly, to study what we enjoy doing and if we are passionate about what we do we will do it well and lead better and happier lives.  

On a last note, Mr Brodie is like my Chinese teacher, Ms Tsai, a real inspiration.      

Phoebe Strang

The third and final presentation inThe Fascination of Chinaseries will be An Introduction to Chinese History by Christopher Rosenmeier on Monday 10th June at 4pm in the Confucius Classroom, St George's School for Girls, Edinburgh. Students, parents, friends and teachers are all welcome to attend.