Across China: African youths in China fascinated by technology, culture

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-03 20:22:13|Editor: ZX
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by Xinhua writers Zhou Xiaoli, Wei Mengjia, Fan Pan

BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- NourEldin Mohamed Abdelaal, from Egypt, declined offers from a number of elite universities in Western countries and entered the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) to study computer sciences in September.

The 20-year-old had received multiple offers from universities in countries including the United States and Britain. The University of Cambridge also reserved a spot for him for his post-graduate study once he achieves his bachelor's degree.

He said he was attracted by China's booming computer industry and decided to come to China for his bachelor's degree study.

NourEldin won the honor of "Best Arab Young Innovator in the World" in 2016 for his creation of a parallel network which exceeds the current internet speed by 32 times.

"China's computer industry has been developing rapidly. I want to study here and find entrepreneurship opportunities," NourEldin said.

NourEldin's decision to study in China was supported by his father, who worked for a Chinese automobile company in Egypt for many years. His father has made more than 20 business trips to China and deemed the country a "unique" place with good study conditions.

NourEldin came to Beijing in August 2017 to take a Chinese language course. Apart from the language, NourEldin found it interesting to learn traditional Chinese culture.

He is now a big fan of Chinese tea and enjoys watching Beijing Opera. After class on his first day at BIT, he went to Lao She Teahouse and watched a Beijing Opera show with his dad.

He found the exquisite costumes and the singing to be mysterious. "The high-pitched tunes were like a nightingale's singing," he said.

Living in China for a year, NourEldin has fallen in love with Chinese cuisine and started to cook it on his own. He can cook Chinese braised eggplant very well. He said he loves Chinese noodles, and his favorite were braised beef noodles and Lanzhou ramen.

"Chinese culture made my life in Beijing more colorful and helped me see the world from a different perspective," NourEldin noted.

His interests in Chinese culture are shared by his classmates.

Kembabazi Barbara, 21-year-old half Chinese half Ugandan, said the Chinese celebrations of Spring Festival are her favorite time of the year when all her family members sit around the dinner table and eat delicious Chinese dishes.

"My favorite dishes are lotus root soup with pork ribs, braised Wuchang fish, and tofu skin," she said.

Her Ugandan father met her mother when they were studying at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in central China's Hubei Province.

Her parents moved to Uganda after their marriage, but their affection for China continued and had an impact on Kembabazi.

"I feel close to China because of my half-Chinese identity," she said. Every two or three years, her mother went back with Kembabazi to her hometown in Hubei province, visiting the scenic and landmark places of Shennongjia Natural Reserve and the Three Gorges Dam.

The Ugandan is a Tai Chi fan. She learned the art from her grandfather and won the first prize for her part in a Tai Chi group at the Xuzhou China International Wushu Competition in May. At the start of BIT's new semester, she was happy to pick up a weekly Tai Chi course.

"Chinese Tai Chi is famous in Uganda. It can help people maintain balance and keep tranquility under various conditions," she said.

Kembabazi enjoys the convenience of Beijing's modern lifestyle, riding shared bikes around the campus, shopping with mobile payment apps and exploring fun places in the city with her smartphone.

"I want to bring the advanced technology that I learned in China back to Uganda and make Ugandan people's life more convenient," she said.

Kembabazi is ambitious to start her own business in Uganda after her graduation from BIT.

According to the Ministry of Education, 61,594 African students were on campus in Chinese universities, research institutions and other educational institutions in 2016, up 23.7 percent year on year and representing 13.91 percent of total international students in China.

The ministry's statistics showed that China has offered 43,000 training programs, over 20,000 governmental scholarships and more than 1,300 degree programs to African countries.

Sovi-guidi W. Lionnel Pyrrhus, 23, from the Republic of Benin, is pursuing his master's degree in Teaching Chinese as Foreign Language at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU).

Lionnel Pyrrhus started learning Chinese at the Confucius Institute at the University of Abomey-Calavi in 2014. Last year, he attended the 16th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition and won the second prize for the Africa region.

Lionnel's motivation to learn Chinese derived from his fascination with Chinese Kung Fu. At an early age, he watched plenty of movies and TV series about Chinese martial art heroes and was especially impressed by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

"I have been fascinated with Kung Fu ever since I was little. My father told me if I wanted to know a country, I need to learn its language first," he recalled.

The 23-year-old dreamed to become a Chinese teacher in Benin after earning his Ph.D. from BLCU.

"I wish to bring the Chinese language and culture to Benin," Lionnel said.