“It feels so good to speak Chinese”

[Source]    Guangming Daily [Time]    2014-04-18 15:12:15 
 

Dear readers of Guangming Daily and my Chinese friends, my name is Alexander, aged 23, and I come from Ulan-Ude, Russia. Now I would like to share with you a story about me and Chinese learning.

Intensely interested in international economic and trade development and foreign languages, upon graduation from high school I went to Irkutsk State University and began to study international trade and Chinese language there. Maybe because I had a flair for languages or because I had invested enough into my study, soon I excelled at Chinese and became an outstanding student in my class. Although it was not easy to obtain the Confucius Institute Scholarship, my application was approved. Both my teachers and classmates said that I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go to China to study for free. In 2008, I got admitted to Fudan University, so I embarked on my journey to Shanghai to study Chinese language and culture. I still remember how excited I was when I arrived in China for the first time. It was really good to set my feet on the land of China. Everything was so wonderful and refreshing that I immediately fell in love with Shanghai, with China. I lived and studied in Shanghai for one year, where I met many people and befriended some of them. Chinese enabled me to communicate with classmates from all over the globe, opening a window and a door for me to better see and understand the world. In Shanghai, I not only improved my Chinese language competence but also participated in the volunteer program of the Shanghai World Expo. During the days when I volunteered in the Russian Pavilion, I genuinely felt the deep-rooted friendly ties between the Chinese people and the Russian people.

In 2010, I went to China again as an exchange student. Together with a group of Russian classmates, I went to Shenyang, a city located in northeast China, and studied at Liaonning University, majoring in International Economics. During the stay there, I found that the life in Shenyang is completely different from that in Shanghai, even in the way they talk, their living habits, and their personality, looks and build. For instance, northerners are generally taller and more romantic than southerners; northerners speak Mandarin and often joke about the “niaoyu” (which literally means “bird-language” or “gibberish”, and here it refers to the dialects in southern China) spoken by southerners, while southerners consider northerners “boasters”.

I added many new items to my list of hobbies when living in China. Every weekend, I would go playing table tennis with my Chinese classmates. I learned how to bargain with the shop owner while shopping in China. I grew to like on-line shopping as well. The on-line shop Taobao was very convenient, and its goods were inexpensive. I fell in love with traveling and went to many places in China: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Dalian, Weihai, Guilin, etc.. During the two and a half years spent in China, I have learned much about Chinese history, culture and traditional customs, and seen Chinese people and society as what they were in person.

I returned to Russia after graduation, hoping to put what I have learned in China into practice. I also have my own dream: to strengthen the friendly ties between Russia and China and push the bilateral relations, the economic relations in particular, to the next level through my hard work. To realize this dream, I decided to leave my hometown Siberia for Moscow, the capital city of Russia, where I could get more opportunities to express myself and attain what I desired. In 2013, I went to Moscow to pursue the degree of Kandidat Nauk (Candidate of Sciences, a first post-graduate scientific degree awarded for original research in a scientific field) and took a part time job in an international law firm. Now while I am writing my dissertation on Russia-China economic relations in the Far East Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, I am working for the firm to lend legal support to Chinese entrepreneurs doing business in Russia. I love my job and the study on the issues of Russia-China economic relations. They will help me realize my dream step by step. Every time others laud me as a good Chinese speaker, I always think to myself, “Thank you, teachers from Irkutsk State University, Liaoning University and Fudan University! Thank you, China!” I want to say it out loud, “It feels so good to speak Chinese!”

 
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