'Never Too Old to Learn': Woman, 49, goes back to school

Updated: Jul 12, 2021 Women of China Print
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Xie Changhong, an English teacher in Dehui, Jilin Province, was admitted to a master's degree course in English translation at Changchun Normal University in Changchun, Jilin, at age 49. [Provided to]

Xie Changhong, at age 49, has begun to look forward to life on a college campus this fall.

"I believe that I must be the eldest among my classmates," said Xie, an English teacher at a school in Dehui, Jilin Province. "But I will try my best to be a diligent student over the next two years."

Xie took the 2021 national entrance exam for postgraduate studies in December and was admitted to a master's degree program for English translation at Changchun Normal University in Changchun, Jilin.

After the college entrance examination, or gaokao, in 1993, Xie was admitted to Yanbian University's Medical School.

"In fact, it was not my original idea, and after entering the university, I found I was not interested in medicine at all," she said. "I was even scared to dissect animals, which was an important course for medical students."

However, during her five years at the university, Xie performed well academically, and after graduation in 1998 she became a doctor at a hospital in Yushu, Jilin. "I still couldn't adapt to my job after several months," she said.

Xie got married immediately after graduation. Because her husband worked in Dehui, Xie resigned and returned to Dehui, her hometown.

"I was very interested in English and got good scores in middle school, and after several months of preparation I found a job as an English teacher at a social educational institution near my home," she said. "I never regretted giving up being a doctor."

When her son began to prepare for China's 2021 national entrance exam for postgraduate studies, she got the idea of trying it with him.

"I suddenly realized that I had found my direction," she said. "I could catch my own star if I passed the exam."

Her son gave her great encouragement, she said. Starting in October she spent many hours preparing for the exam and got a good score.

"I seized the opportunity with a positive attitude," Xie said. "One is never too old to learn."

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