My name is Sujeewa  Vavijayanthi, a current PhD student here at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Educational Research. My discipline mainly focuses on teacher training. I come from a beautiful country south of China known as Sri Lanka. There, I worked with children and youth teaching English and partook in various community activities.

Coming to China has been such a wonderful experience for myself. I never expected to be welcomed so warmly into the community of HUST and the surrounding area. Not even a year into my program and such memorable experiences already I can barely count them all.

My passion for helping and working with others followed me here to China where I have volunteered within the International Student Office to aid other new students entering HUST. There is an organization known as SICA, Student International Communication Association that brings together the Chinese community and internationals to learn from each other and grow everlasting friendships. I have to say, the experiences within this organization has been mind-blowing and will always be with me. The friendships I have made here have been a strong hold to my ability to smoothly transition into such a rich culture.

SICA has held several opportunities for internationals to interact with the community, other students, and to showcase our country’s talents. There is an event held every year called SICA night. This is when each country can come together and showcase something unique about themselves to the audience. It can be anything from dance, singing, music, or even a cultural fashion display. I held two roles. The first was a cultural fashion show alongside other countries where I displayed my traditional clothing, for women of Sri Lanka is a sari on special cultural events and in the days of national importance, the traditional garments are worn with a great pride. The second was a Sri Lankan dance that I coordinated. And guess what?! We were placed as the Best of Show. What an honour!!

SICA also held TSIS and volunteer camps. TSIS stands for Teacher Support of International Students. It is held every month or so with a local school. Several of us volunteer this time to go to the school and teach children English through games, lectures, and fun interactions of whatever topic is chosen by the teachers. My, what fun it is! Volunteer camps have made me so grateful to be a part of HUST. At these camps we go to a nearby community that is not too much in the modern technology times. That is, their lifestyles surround more of nature and the natural environment. At these events, we go and help with yardwork, handcrafts, repairing, and interacting with the locals. I have much admiration for these kind people.

With my experience as a teacher, I had decided to continue to pursue that within HUST. The doors of opportunities that have opened to me had been beyond my expectations. I work closely alongside my advisor, who has shown me nothing but kindness from day one of my arrival. She has helped, guided, and encouraged me to write and submit several publications that are now in the process of review by their respective committees. Excelling 21st Century Competencies of Education through Problem Based Learning: Trends and challenges, STEM Education in Secondary Schools in Sri Lanka, The Impact on Teaching through 5E Model: Perspectives of Prospective Teachers in Teaching Science in Secondary Schools in Gampaha District Sri Lanka, STEM Teacher Education and Professional Development and Training: Challengers and Trends are some of the articles sent for journals. Moreover, I am awaiting to attend several educational conferences in 2016.Identifying my capacity as a teacher educator of 23 years, I would be delighted to share my knowledge and experience with my fellow students in my school. Life at HUST is significant, brings me everlasting memories and teaches new lessons day by day.