Emma Chan

Emma is a fourth year oboe player, studying on our BMus programme. Born in Hong Kong, she moved to the UK to study and has lived here ever since.

She shared with us how migration has affected her life and work…

emma chan we are migrants

What does the word ‘migrant’ mean to you?

To me, ‘migrant’ not only means moving to another country, but also to settle in with the new cultures, environment and people in a foreign land.

I prefer not to use the term ‘migrant’ to describe myself as it somehow makes me feel like a distant person; I want to break the cultural barrier I have between me and my British classmates and join in with them with life in Manchester.

Where were you born, and what caused you to move away from your birth country?

I’m from Hong Kong and I came to the UK a year before I came to the RNCM to prepare myself for my undergraduate studies here. Studying music here is definitely a lot more eye-opening; I am exposed to a lot of different platforms for music, more opportunities and most importantly, a glimpse at the high standards of the music industry through our rigorous but fulfilling training in College, and join in a big community of musicians from around the world, each with a different background. The RNCM feels like a magnet that attracts all of us together.

How have your personal experiences of migration impacted on you as a musician and artist?

Even though it’s already my second year in the UK when I came to the RNCM, back then the fact that I am already in my undergraduate studies feels surreal to me. Everything was totally different in Manchester than when I was doing my university foundation in Oxford, and I have to re-adapt to the new environment, cultures and people here. As a musician, it made me adapt more to changes in music and has definitely made me more alert as a musician. It also developed my resilience and to work harder to compete with local students here.

Where did the RNCM come into your story?

The RNCM came into my story when I was looking for schools to apply for on UCAS.

Where is home to you?

Home is where I feel like I belong and want to settle in. Even now, sometimes I still like there’s a barrier between me and my other classmates, but with the support of my kind friends and teachers here, I’m trying my best to join in. But one day, I hope I can proudly say Manchester is my second home.