The Youzi Project is a documentary storytelling initiative that explores the lives of Chinese students in Sheffield.

Chinese students make up the largest group of international students in the city; there are currently more than 2000 Chinese students registered at The University of Sheffield.

China's huge population makes competition for University places and graduate employment at home even tougher; studying abroad can offer new perspectives and the chance to develop fluency in English, a much sought-after trait in the job market. In China, many more families can support a child through overseas study due to the rise of the middle classes, but also events in China's recent history can go some way to explain the increase in students from the the mainland.

This generation's parents experienced the Cultural Revolution, a time in China when creativity was effectively suppressed, and travel abroad banned; many Chinese parents want their children to have the opportunities they themselves were denied.

The Youzi Project aims to offer more personal insights into this recent phenomenon; it is about sharing the unique stories of a number of students, to demonstrate the varied lives of young Chinese people in our city.

Youzi translates as 'wanderer' and is from a well-known poem, Youzi Yin (Song of the Wanderer) This poem has a deep meaning for Chinese people living abroad, speaking of the bond between a mother and her son who leaves home.

The Youzi Project is a collaboration between photographer Gemma Thorpe, academic David Forrest and Chinese students at The University of Sheffield.

For more information see blog.youziproject.com

游子 yóu zǐ