On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of GDUFS, our journalists have been dispatched to scour the campus for some lively stories of international students and teachers. Last Friday, Bruna Morelo, an international teacher from Brazil, accepted my interview and shared with us her story at GDUFS and something about China.
Bruna has been teaching here for only two months since September, 2015, but she was deeply impressed by the people and the environment. At first, she was obsessed with so many worries about living in another country before she came to China, mainly because of the language barriers. However, the people around her made it much easier to live in China. One of her students helped her a lot. He taught her how to buy things on the internet and took her to a place if she needed to go somewhere. In addition, her colleagues also did her a favor without hesitating when she needed help. “They are very nice. I’m very lucky to be working with them. Every time when something difficult happens, they are always there to help me.” When Bruna talked about her friends in China, I could feel her heartfelt gratitude vividly. In addition, she is enjoying the environment very much. She said: “The scenery is gorgeous: the continuous mountains, the tall trees, and the fresh air. All of them make me excited.”
When we talked about education, Bruna told me about the biggest difference between Chinese students and Brazilian students. Brazilian students speak a lot in class. They feel freer and are more likely to share their ideas. In contrast, usually, more efforts are needed to encourage Chinese students to speak out. Is that because the way they participate in class are different? Chinese students seem to be more serious in class. But in her opinion, you can be serious and participate in the class at the same time. Maybe it’s more about language. She reckons that, for her, as a language teacher with Chinese students, it is more difficult to encourage the students to speak out in Portuguese. If it’s a Chinese class, maybe it’s easier to do that. Frankly speaking, Bruna is still confused about this phenomenon now, and is striving to find the answer.
The last question was about how her impressions of China had changed during the last two months. To my surprise, her answers were quite interesting. Firstly, it’s about people. Before she came here, she had already learned that China has a large population, but she never expected that it was so large that she had to be prepared for traffic jams every time she went out. Next is about food. Although she is a complete foodie, Chinese food is still strongly appealing to her. She told me that, unlike food in Brazil, Chinese food is more diversified and delicious. Each meal is so inviting that it tickles her jaded palate very often.
“I love Guangwai. I love China. Though it’s a great challenge for me to teach here, I will never regret my decision.”
After the interview with Bruna, a mixed feeling wells up in my heart. On the one hand, I’m happy that the international teachers can enjoy their lives on our campus and I’m proud of our marvelous Chinese culture. However, I’m deeply concerned about the Chinese education system. Our exam-oriented education system allows little place for personal preferences and little tolerance for idiosyncrasies. Therefore, how to preserve our students’ variety and diversity is really a thought-provoking question.
Faculty of European Languages and Cultures
Lecturer of Brazilian Portuguese Language and Brazilian Culture