Maryia Uporava, the Republic of Belarus
“You just need to enjoy the process of studying and take all of the opportunities. You need to take all the information around, explore and absorb everything that you see.”
Maryia Uporava, a senior of Tourist Management at Nanjing Normal University, has studied in China for about six years. After one year of Chinese Language Program at Southeast University, she was awarded Chinese Government Scholarship and continued to study at NNU. “The applying process for Chinese Government Scholarship is simple. But if you want to apply for a certain university, you’d better contact the university itself. You can write an email or try to come. It can assign you a professor. It will assure that you get into the exact university you want.” Maryia said.
Maryia had many teachers during the past six years and Junlian Ge is her favorite one. “Hopefully, if I ever choose to be a teacher,” said she, “I could teach at least half as good as she does.” The teacher imparts knowledge to students as if she is telling a story. Instead of infusing theories directly into students, she shares with students her personal stories or research experiences. In this manner students can master the knowledge in a simpler and a more relaxed way.
Apart from the basic and essential courses, Maryia is keen on the extracurricular courses like Sign. These extracurricular courses with relatively lighter and more creative assignments are aimed at encouraging students to expose themselves to different fields rather than be confined to their own majors. As Maryia sees it, the open mindset is crucial to all the students.
Initially fascinated by Suiyuan Campus, Maryia is gradually getting used to studying in Xianlin Campus. “Life here is more relaxed and less rushed than that at the city center,” said she.
After coming to China, Maryia becomes a travel buff. She has been to numerous cities in China such as Hangzhou, Hainan and Suzhou. She takes up a new hobby of yoga which can help her meditate and gain some power. “It can cleanse your body and mind at the same time,” said she, “After all the stress, you come to yoga and you feel as if you are a new person.”
Chinese cuisine has countless and fantastic dishes. One of her favorite Chinese food is Sautéed Potato, Green Pepper and Eggplant which is cheap and delicious. The potatoes contained in this dish taste much like the cooked potatoes in Belarus which domestic people are fond of. In addition, Maryia is surprised by the similarities between the weddings in China and those in Belarus. “A groom has to go to the bride’ place and go through difficulties like paying some money or some other challenges so that he can take the bride from her parents’ place. We also have this kind of thing and it is surprisingly similar,” said she.
Martin Oruc, Turkey
“Prepare your mind for studying hard. Don’t be afraid of Chinese language. Learning Chinese is very interesting. All the Chinese can help you when you have a mistake. No need to worry about all this. Just come here.”
Martin Oruc, who comes from Turkey, is a student majoring in law. This is his fourth year in China. The first time he came to NNU for the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) at Suiyuan Campus, he was impressed by its ancient architecture and selected Nanjing Normal University for further education.
Like most foreign students, the language barrier is a key challenge for Martin, especially legal terms. “It was difficult for me to distinguish some teacher’s accent as they spoke Nanjing accent or something else,” said Martin. At first his Chinese classmates helped him translate but now Chinese language is no longer a problem that worries him.
Despite the difficulties, Martin has lots of fun in studying law at NNU. His favorite part of this major is discussing and solving law cases. Once a case is given, he and his classmates will discuss and then get various results. Among all the courses he has selected, Martin likes the History of Foreign Legal System and International Private Law best. And his criminal law teacher, Professor Tao Jiang, leaves him the deepest impression. “At that time, I was too shy to talk to others,” said Martin, “One day, he came to ask me to prepare a presentation on capital punishment and this was my first presentation in China, from where I gained confidence.”
Martin has a colorful life beyond books. He plays in the school basketball team during his leisure time and finds a new hobby of hiking in China. He and his Chinese friends went to the Qixia Mount and Zijin Mount and visited the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum at night. Martin usually cooks for himself. Sometimes he cooks Chinese food like shredded potatoes and shares it with his roommate. “I also tried to make steamed stuffed buns by myself one day.” In daily life, he uses ofo or mobikes, bikes that you can rent with an app. DidiChuxing, the largest Chinese ride-share service, is also one of his transportation forms. “It’s really convenient, “said Martin.
Daria Mamonova, Russia
“Don’t be afraid. You can always go back to your country but you cannot always get the opportunity to study abroad.”
Daria Mamonova is a girl from Russia and she is now learning painting at NNU. She has been in China for one and a half years. To see if she could or not, Daria decided to study further as an overseas student, believing that this experience would make her more mature. Chinese culture and Chinese arts also attracted her a lot.
Studying abroad is full of joy and happiness but can sometimes be a little bit challenging. For Daria, the biggest problem is probably the language barrier. However, the fun finally surpasses the difficulty. She thinks that studying at NNU is a unique experience which will make her grow up and will open up a great many opportunities for her in the future. She enjoys the process of painting. Among all the courses, the sketching class is her favorite one as the teacher always gives them some philosophic topics to think about. “To be a good artist is not just to be good at painting or drawing but it is how to express yourself,” said she.
University is not only a place where you can learn knowledge, but also a place where you can learn the customs and culture around. Studying painting at NNU offers Daria a chance to make some friends, try new things, and visit new places. She often walks around the Xuanwu Lake and enjoys the scenery with her friends. Daria has some interesting experiences here. She said, “I once took part in a dragon-boat race. When the starting signal is given, we try our best to make the boat forward.” During her stay in China, Daria paid a visit of about three days to the Anhui Province and Shandong Province in China.
Daria tastes different food at the university canteens such as Taiwanese food, Korean food and etc. She likes to eat Muslim food like the fried hand-pulled noodles. Celebrating the Spring Festival every year is a memorable event for Daria. “Even this year, during the Spring Festival, I was at home in Russia and celebrated it with my family,” said Daria. “We cooked some food and fortunately found the CCTV channel on the web. So we watched the Spring Festival Gala Evening together.”