Waiting in line is not necessarily a waste of time . . .

After a lecture on land distribution and Chinese education policy, I joined a handful of students who hoped to speak with the visiting professor. While waiting, I reached out to a student who had expressed a research interest similar to my own. Though students from different Harvard campuses, we connected over frustrations with the Chinese hukou system, the ambiguity of Chinese law, complexity of Mandarin Chinese, the U.K., and love of coffee.


A few weeks later, we then met again, and continued the conversation over coffee. Speaking in Mandarin, we joined in the diversity of voices in Harvard Square—Italian spoken at the neighboring table, Korean floating through the air from passers-by—trying to understand and brainstorm about possible solutions to international issues in education and law. We didn’t solve everything, but at least we made a start . . .

This is just one snapshot. Yet, it represents a whole slew of encounters that are both invaluable and characteristic of life at HGSE as a whole.


Rebekah Nivala is a first year Master’s of Education student in the HGSE Arts in Education program. After graduating with a degree in Piano Performance from Wheaton College, IL, she spent 20 months in Kunming, China as a music teacher where she worked to facilitate quality learning in and through the arts as well as coordinate collaborative arts performances. In addition to her focus on the arts, Rebekah also pursues her love of athletics and interest in languages by playing soccer for the Dudley House intramural soccer team and by organizing a student Chinese corner.