Editor: The graduation season is coming again.This time, not only will students leave GDUFS, but also some teachers will bid farewell to this campus. This series focuses on three foreign teachers — Richard Johnson, Matthew Horn and Kuwabara Hideya — who are about to leave China. The three respectable teachers have been at GDUFS for at least 12 years, devoted themselves to the educational cause and achieved many honors, making them a favorite with their students. Before their departure, they would like to relate to us their stories at GDUFS and also in China in this series.
Where the Story Began
“I came to GDUFS on May 3rd 2003, and it was the time of SARS.”
Seated cozily, Matthew Horn, the legendary journalist was recalling the very year when everything took off. Despite the horrifying period of SARS, the courageous young man embarked on his adventure to Guangzhou. Accompanied by rows of empty seats on the flight to China, Matt is now leaving here accompanied by the most heartfelt memories, friendshipsand farewells.
Matt highlighted that it was the students in both GDUFS and UCLAN(theUniversity of Central Lancashire) that became the most steadfast motivation for his staying at GDUFS.
“Fifteen and a half years later, I’m still here.” sensational laughter of the affable gentleman cascaded around the room.
There was a saying spread among the campus — “If you don’t know Matt’s Rules, then you don’t know Matt.” Well-respected and highly-admired, Matt is especially known for his rules, which are a special present for his new students in every first lesson. Serving as a bidirectional norm, Matt’s Rules are not only his requirements for his students, but the “agreement”, embedded with respect, and is also an sincere expectation which the students have for Matt.
Apart from Matt’s frequent emphasis and rigorous requirements on punctuality and strictmanagement of deadlines, he always insists on maintaining an enthusiastic atmosphere in class. Fierce debate, justified questions and wise proposals are always merrily encouraged for both teaching news and acquiring knowledge.
“When someone asked about my occupation, I don’t say ‘teacher’, I say ‘journalist’.” When Matt was asked about his teaching method and attitude towards his occupation, a slight sense of seriousness glistened in his eyes. Considering the classroom to be more of a newsroom, Matt considered his students to be journalists and himself to be their editor. He emphasized maintaining a clear purpose as well as a good balance between teaching and professional techniques. Meanwhile, the significance of adapting to the boosting use of new media and keeping abreast of the progressing times was also highlighted.
A Witness of the Raging Times
“Thinking about the metro system, the expansion is phenomenal!” Emotional excitement welled up in Matt’s eyes as he recalled the changes of Guangzhou and GDUFS throughout his 15 years. Known as a boom town back in 2003, Guangzhou has witnessed rapid changes and has earned high appraisal from visitors all around the world. All those rising skyscrapers and beautifully-designed architectures; all those booming restaurants where cuisines from all around the world gather and all those resonant birdsongs on every delightful morning have undoubtedly become a moveable feast embedded forever in Matt’s mind.
“It amazes me how green Guangzhou is. You walk around the little narrow streets here and it’s just like being in a southern French city— you know, with those little back alleys and trees everywhere. And when the blossoms arouse, we are in the flower city.”
Being of the same age as GDUFS whose birthday is also the year 1965, Matt has been enjoying a period of 15 and a half years together with GDUFS and has witnessed tremendous transformations and countless heartfelt stories on the campus. He was especially impressed by the day when the new library on the North Campus was officially opened — “I remember the cultural garden in front of the new library. One day it was bare and the next day it was green! And it was literally overnight!”. The growing influence and potence of the faculties being highlighted, Matt expressed sincere appreciation for the convenient transportation connecting the North Campus and the South Campus.
“New courses and new modules have been introduced all the time, and even old modules have been updated,” said Matt.
Matthew Horn is in an interview
A Hidden Gem of Cultural Contrast
“I think showing off Guangzhou is one of the things I like the most.”
Matt mentioned that some of his friends actually called Guangzhou a “hidden gem”. He then added that he loves taking his guests on a relaxing walking tour during which obvious contrasts of new and old could be easily spotted.
“There are narrow streets and then half an hour later on the other side of the city you are walking past a Lamborghini showroom in Zhujiang New Town (an affluent area in downtown Guangzhou). It’s such a fantastic city of contrast.”. Matt highlighted that he was especially fond of CantonTower and Qilou architecture, expressing great appreciation to the fantastic balance of new and old in Guangzhou as well as fare wishes that this magnificent city would never lose the old.
A Fond Farewell
“I could never have done the courses so perfectly without the help of my colleagues.” As several respectful names and sincere appreciation were expressed, Matt conveyed his huge reluctance of leaving GDUFS, leaving Guangzhou through a heartfelt recall of all those days and nights he spent in his lovely flat.
“That balcony is probably what I’m gonna miss more than anything— to just sit there after a day of teaching, look over the palm trees and gaze towards Baiyun Mountain. We’ve got lovely sounds of nature and when there’s a huge storm, I’ll just enjoy the croaking sound of the bullfrogs after the storm.”
When it came to his students, Matt told us that when he was invited by the Guangzhou Government to report for the Asian Games in 2010, he saw so many of his students standing beside the pitch as journalists, which became one of the most treasured moments of pride deep in Matt’s heart.
“Be proud of yourself but not any other people.” As Matt expressed his most genuine advice and expectation for his students, the interview came to an end.
We will never Say Goodbye
15 and a half years have passed and now comes the moment when Matt has to leave.
“No one has ever forced me to sign a contrast, it’s always my choice to stay and I’ll be back again.”
Despite the reluctant parting of Matt and GDUFS, Matt has passed on and the wisdom he has spread will always guide us in the bright future that awaits, and the most sincere friendship between Matt and GDUFS will become an ever-lasting memoir accompanying both sides in the days ahead. We will never say goodbye, let the sun shines through.