Dream-pursuing Process of Chinese Teacher from Mozambique

[Source]    Confucius Institute at Eduardo Mondlane University [Time]    2017-09-22 17:53:06 


Editor’s note:

This is an inspirational and delightful story. The hero of this story enhanced his capabilities, made friends and found his true love through the process of learning Chinese. His life is now destined to be different from others’ and he can experience the scenery that others have no chance to experience thanks to his ties with Chinese. And this will become his source of pride.

“My Name is Sergio” and I Come from Mozambique

My ties with Chinese began in 2012 and back then, I had just graduated from college and heard that a Chinese class was opened in the most famous school of my country—Eduardo Mondlane University. I was full of curiosity about this, thus getting to know more about it. Yet I have never expected that Chinese would change my whole life.

I have learned various kinds of languages. Portuguese is my mother tongue, and I majored in French and Portuguese Translation in my undergraduate study. Therefore, both Portuguese and French are my working languages. In addition, I also have a command of English, Spanish and a little German. But I have never thought I would learn Chinese. Like many other children in my country, I have seen plentiful films made in the Chinese mainland when I was young and I also like Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan. However, I didn’t develop any interest in Chinese. At that time, “the language of Chinese people” was such a strange language for us and they all write like painting, so that no one will learn the language.

That year, my best friend asked me to learn Chinese with him, and I said to him without any hesitation, “I do not want to learn Chinese.” He said, “Why?” I replied, “I do not want to be a painter so I do not want to learn this language.” It was such a long arguing before I was finally persuaded by him. We both went to the Confucius Institute to register and then began to learn Chinese. I have never expected that I would instantly fall in love with Chinese at first “hearing” on the first day in the classroom. Although the words on the book and what the teacher wrote on the blackboard were indeed the same as painting, I still fell in love with it. I have always been a person who loves challenges, so I accepted this challenge eventually. About a week later, my friend headed for Germany and never learn Chinese again when he is back. Yet I have been learning Chinese until now, and I will soon become a Chinese teacher. From the moment I entered the Confucius Institute, it was destined to accompany me for a whole lifetime.

Repeatedly Defeated but Never Giving up, Finally Get Scholarships at the Initial Stage of Chinese Learning

I used to be one of the first group of students to participate in the Chinese class in Mozambique. Because of my wholehearted love toward Chinese, I have put in a lot of effort in learning it. I think Chinese is such a fascinating language that I must learn it well. In 2012, the Confucius Institute at Eduardo Mondlane University announced that there would be scholarships for three students and they planned to recruit Mozambican students to study in China. My first reaction was, “This is a great opportunity to improve Chinese and I can never miss it!” However, it was because I couldn’t get the documents required ready in time that I missed this opportunity. I was fairly upset.

The setback, however, enabled me to be determined enough to work harder in learning Chinese. In 2013, there were two more students who could win the scholarship than that of the year of 2012, while the competition was more intense. Applicants were required to take an examination, yet the examination was just on the same day as my relative’s wedding day. “What should I do? To attend the wedding or the exam?” After some thoughts upon this, I went to the wedding on the very morning of the examination and left for the examination at 12 o’clock in a hurry. And the exam was so hard! I had always been among the top three in the Chinese examination held in Chinese classes every time, but I was not even sure whether I could pass it this time. The following few days felt like an eternity to me. But when the teacher called me to tell me that I had won the scholarship for one semester of that year, I almost cried out.

Becoming a “Chinese Hand” in Dilemma after Coming to China

After coming to China, I began to learn more about Chinese. Compared with my mother tongue, Chinese is completely different. At that time, everything was beyond reach for me, and I was almost in absolute despair. But every time I had the thought of giving up, a sentence would pop up in my mind, “Learn Chinese, double your world”. Moreover, when I thought that currently, all countries in the world have close communication and cooperation with China and Chinese occupies a very important position; let alone the fact that at present Mozambique still lacks talents proficient in Chinese, so this would be a precious opportunity for me to learn Chinese. This can be both an opportunity and a challenge.

I have learned Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and German, but none of them impressed me so much as Chinese. Why is it? French, Portuguese and Spanish are all developed from Latin; German and English are developed from the Germanic language and to a large extent, my dialect was greatly influenced by Portuguese and English. The structure of my dialect is closely related to these languages so when I learned and used these languages, it seems that I was analyzing a broad language system. However, Chinese is very different from what I have learned and it has put me into a new language system. The more I learned about Chinese, the more difficult it felt. Learning Chinese is tantamount to challenging yourself, and in the process of reading Chinese, I gained a lot of language-related cultural knowledge.

I have never been satisfied with my own Chinese level. In March of 2015, I passed the HSK (Level V) with a score of 226, but I did not think it was high enough. Therefore, in May of the same year, I took the exam again and scored 246. In 2016, I passed the HSK (Level VI). In the process of writing a master’s degree thesis, my Chinese has also been constantly improving.

I often talk to Chinese classmates about problems encountered in learning or in daily life. My classmates often say that I have already become a “Chinese Hand” and have developed a way of thinking of the Chinese people. I have also established deep friendship with these Chinese classmates.

Back to Motherland to Spread Chinese and Chinese Culture

In January of 2014, I went home and returned to Mozambique. Yet in my mind, Chinese still attracted me. Therefore, I kept trying and achieved excellent results. With the help of my teacher, I finally won the scholarship of “One School Year + Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages”.

My further study as a Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages has opened a new chapter in my life. Since I started my professional study in 2015, my understanding of China has improved to a great extent. I am not only interested in Chinese, but also quite interested in Chinese culture, among which the Confucianism of the sage Confucius influences me the most. When studying my major, I have written two articles on Confucianism to express my views on Confucius and his thoughts. In order to gain a better understanding of Confucius’ thoughts, I often read two books, namely, The Analects of Confucius and The Life Wisdom in the Analects of Confucius written by Zeng Shiqiang.

My dream lies in being a good Chinese teacher to actively spread Chinese and Chinese culture after returning home, so that more people can know about China. This is also a goal that I am eager to achieve at the very bottom of my heart. In order to realize this dream, I will do my utmost to study new knowledge, especially in the aspect of teaching, thus laying a good foundation for my future work.

Harvesting Love Through the Bridge of Chinese

In 2016, I participated in the Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai International Chinese Teaching Skill Competition, which gave me a great motivation and help. Although I only won the third prize, I have benefited a lot from the questions and suggestions of the judges as well as the evaluation and guidance of my supervisor at the end of the contest.

Even more interesting is that I also found my lover because of “Chinese”. My girlfriend comes from Ethiopia and on September 8th, 2014, we took the same plane and sat next to each other to the same destination of Zhejiang Normal University. From that day on, both of us can no longer leave each other. If I had not come to study in China, I would definitely not have known her. My ties with her originated from my ties with Chinese.

Now, I am a Chinese teacher at the Confucius Institute at Eduardo Mondlane University and I believe that Confucius Institute is a stage for me to realize my dream. At the Confucius Institute, I will encourage more Mozambican people to pursue their Chinese dreams.

This is my story with Chinese. My future will be associated with Chinese as always.