Five nights a week, Meggie Gan pins back her hair, puts on an apron and works as a school cleaner. On a wage of ? 4.03 an hour, the 18-year old girl from China sweeps floors, stacks chairs, empties bins and washes out toilets.
She does this work willingly in the knowledge that the work will help her to pay for her education. Now she is studying on a scholarship of ? 9.500 a year at Bruton School for Girls in Sommerset. She has just been offered a place at Cambridge, but the fee and living costs for a foreign student will be ?14.000 a year. That’s why she works every weekday evening as a cleaner at her school and does a restaurant waitress’s job in the holidays.
“I am tired sometimes,” said Meggie, who has been in England less than 18 months. “But it is a hard year for everyone who wants to go to university. And I think it has made me a more experienced and mature person. I am also proud I am making money for myself and my mother back home.”
Three years ago Meggie sent letters to a dozen schools in England. “I began studying English at the age of six,” she wrote. “I don’t have any difficulties in studying academic subjects in English, and could be treated as normal English students. My father died of cancer and my mother’s income is not enough to pay all the school fees. As I consider myself a good student, I hope I can get a scholarchip”.
Meggie’s letter impressed Bruton school, and she was offered a place. She flew to England on a one-way ticket paid for by her mother’s life savings.
In several years Meggie is expecting to come back to China where there will be lots of work for her.
to sweep — мести, подметать
pin — n. булавка; v. закалывать булавкой
apron — фартук
wage — заработная плата (рабочих)
to stack — складывать (рядами, в стопку, в кучу)
bin — зд. мусорное ведро
willingly — охотно
fee — плата за обучение
scholarship — стипендия
living costs — стоимость проживания
mature — зрелый
income — доход
to impress — производить впечатление, поражать
one-way ticket — билет в одну сторону
savings — сбережения