Patricia, an international student from Australia, is applying for a scholarship from the Chinese government for next year. We are very fortunate to have her share some experiences about her life in China.
Studying at GDUFS
Our interviewee, Patricia, had applied for a one-year program to learn Chinese which started in January last year. When the program ended, she reapplied for it. Now she is in her second year living and learning in China.
In terms of the learning schedule, Patricia said that they have two classes, four hours a day. “For a language course, it is quite intense, especially for Chinese, because it is such a difficult language,” she joked. To speak Chinese fluently, Patricia worked very hard. When she mentioned that she studies for 8 to 10 hours after class a day, every journalist on the scene was amazed. We were all curious about the reasons why she’s so enthusiastic to learn Chinese.
Patricia then told us her story. She was an independent filmmaker in Australia and often used the salary obtained from her normal job to make films in her free time. After watching lots of Chinese films, she started to admire Chinese film makers and became a fan of one of the most famous Chinese directors: CHEN Kaige. She told us that she wanted to be able to understand Chinese films in the original language-not just from subtitles. As she said, apart from this reason, the Chinese culture brought by the immigrants and tourists to Australia also influenced her.
“At the beginning of learning Chinese, it was very hard because I knew nothing about what the teacher was saying”, said Patricia, “so I had to put in more effort after class.” As for the biggest problem that she encountered during the studying, “Everything sounds exactly the same to me,” she said. She found that it was difficult to recognize differences between the tones and to associate a character with its pronunciation and concept. But after several months of hard work, now she can figure out the meaning of the texts without looking up every character in the dictionary. Another example is that the first time she received a call from a Chinese person, she couldn’t understand him totally; but when she received a call from the delivery company last summer, she could understand what the staff was talking about and used Chinese to respond to him. At that moment, she found that she had made great progress.
About the scholarship
The government will provide 3,000 Yuan per month for each student who is awarded the scholarship, after paying tuition and accommodation fees for them. Essentially, it is enough to cover eating, sleeping and book-buying. But actually, to be honest, whether it is sufficient all depends on the way students are willing to live. For Patricia, a healthy diet is more important, so she would like to spend more money on food.
The process of applying for the scholarship is not difficult. But applicants must pay attention to details and be patient. Leaving enough time to check every document before the deadlines is crucial. It is also important that applicants should make some plans to find out how long each step will take and have the documents ready for the next point in time.
Life in GD
From the conversation, it is easy to see that Patricia has now adapted to living in Guangdong Province. She likes having morning tea, climbing Baiyun Mountain, and even doing some treatments with traditional Chinese medicine like acupuncture. She is on her way to becoming a part of China.
So far, among all the cities she has been to in GD, her favorite is Guangzhou. “I think Guangzhou is a real Chinese city,” she said, “it is a combination of modern and tradition.” She mentioned that once she went to the Huangpu Village, a ten-minute cycle ride away from the Pearl River, and she discovered a well built 500 years ago with water still drinkable inside. According to our interviewee, this experience was very impressive. What’s more, she thinks highly of people in GD, who are friendly and easy to approach.
We journalists spent a pleasant time with Patricia, during which we found that she is a very communicative talker with many interesting stories. Through the conversation, we know that she is a very optimistic person with the motivation for improvement. We sincerely hope that she can have a great time in China and have a good command of Chinese in the future.