Her upbringing in Taiwan has instilled Yi-Fei Chen with a deep respect for authority. Disagreeing with your teachers is considered rude, and rudeness must be suppressed. Coming to the Netherlands for a master’s degree was a shock to her system. Within Western higher education, students are taught to question authority and expected to take a critical attitude. For many students like Chen it can be a confusing and emotional journey to adapt to such a new set of circumstances. The pressure they feel to step outside their own comfort zone may even cause drastic responses. Chen has visualised her personal struggle to toughen up and speak her mind with a striking metaphor: she has frozen the tears she shed during an incident where she had to speak up but couldn’t, and built a gun to fire them. Next time a teacher puts her on the spot, she will be ready to respond with equal force.
Photo by Ronald Smits