HANOI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Lying on her bed, Hoang Cam Tu, a 21-year-old Vietnamese student slowly turned the pages of a photo album, reminiscing about each moment of the recent three-week camp she experienced in China.
As one of the 40 Vietnamese students sent to the Yunnan University of Economics and Finance in the Chinese province of Yunnan for academic and cultural exchanges last month, Tu, together with her companions, brought home touching stories about the host nation.
With special support from the Chinese Embassy to Vietnam and Yunnan's trade promotion agency, the summer camp aimed to boost cultural exchanges between the two countries' youngsters.
During the three-week trip, Tu and her friends had classes in the morning, during which Chinese lecturers introduced them to the province's culture, history, socioeconomic development and cooperative relations with Vietnam.
"The classes were interesting," the girl said, "and it was even more enjoyable in the afternoon, when we had outdoor activities like visiting famous places or experiencing cultural events."
They visited the Ethnic Village in Yunnan's capital city Kunming, the flowers and birds market, and the Snail Bay. They also joined a tea ceremony and sampled a local, well-known dish: rice noodle soup. Tu and her friends, however, were particularly impressed by the Chinese people who welcomed the foreign students warmheartedly.
"There is a female cook in the university's canteen. She not only sold us food at half price but also gave us more food than normal. She couldn't stand looking at our skinny forearms," Tu recalled with a warm smile.
Like Tu, 20-year-old Nguyen Bich Phuong said that the people's friendliness was the most valuable experience she gained.
"There are hardly any difference between Vietnamese and Chinese people. We quickly became close to our Chinese roommates without hesitation or difficulties, like we had been friends for years," Phuong said.
At the same time, Phuong admitted that her impression of Yunnan in particular, and China in general did change somewhat after the camp.
She had an image of China as being a polluted crowded country, but the girl was totally surprised with the airy atmosphere and green space of Kunming, known as "Spring City" in China where flowers blossom all the year round.
Moreover, visits to headquarters of large companies in Yunnan helped her better understand about the mechanisms behind China's path to success, the world's second-largest economy.
Even the road systems in Yunnan are so well-organized, she said, adding that shared bikes are available throughout the city.
"You don't need cash or credit cards to get around," Phuong told Xinhua excitedly about her overwhelming experiences.
Choosing the Chinese language as their major to study at university, the Vietnamese students all embrace a passionate love for China's cultural values. They, whose childhoods were nurtured by novels and TV dramas like "The Journey to the West" or "Princess Pearl," now find Chinese cinema, literature and music as a natural part of their entertainment life.
After returning home from the summer camp, the students realized that their passion not only brought them closer the country they love, but also promises them a rosy future if they can catch the opportunity.
"As long as I have a good command of Chinese and economics, I can work for one of China's world-class companies as they come to Vietnam," said third-year student Thai Thi Khanh Ly.
Meanwhile, Tu and Phuong have made up their minds that joining a post-graduate course in China is what they will strive to achieve from now on.
"Living and studying in China will be as familiar as at home, since Vietnam and China share so many similarities," Phuong told Xinhua.
"I want to know more about China, visit more beautiful places, meet more people and taste more delicious food," Tu beamed, while exuberantly opening her suitcase filled with Chinese specialties she bought home as presents for relatives and friends.
Describing the camp as "the journey of youth", the Vietnamese girl said her summer could not have been better.
"Everything there is adorable, including the spacious campus and lovely canteen. There were so many facets of China we could we experience in person for the first time like the endless green of the trees and the blue sky above," recalled Tu, adding that she wished she could've spent more time in the beautiful country.