Editor's note: Zadorozhna Oleksandra, also known as Wang Shasha in Chinese, is an international student at the School of Humanities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and a recipient of the Chinese Government Scholarship.Fall in love with China
Although Oleksandra is only 19 years old, there is a long story between her and China. Even before she was born, her mother hoped that she would learn Mandarin Chinese, one of the most difficult languages in the world.
Under the influence of her parents, Oleksandra learned to read, write and count in Ukrainian before she started school. Later, she was successfully admitted to Kyiv Gymnasium of oriental languages №1 and to receive a formal education in Chinese.
Kyiv Gymnasium of oriental languages №1 often held activities and invited officials from the Chinese embassy to attend.
In addition, the school annually convened its "Chinese Bridge" competition, some courses of which were given by Chinese teachers.
Zadorozhna Oleksandra visits the Great Wall in Beijing in 2019
Oleksandra went on to take part in a summer camp in Kunming, capital city of Southwest China's Yunnan province, from 2015 to 2019. She fostered deep affection for Chinese people and culture, though there remained work to be done to improve her Chinese proficiency.
Doing the utmost to prepare for the "Chinese Bridge" competition
Oleksandra didn’t make much progress in her Chinese learning till she was in the ninth grade. Inspired by her dream of going to China, she started to follow a young female Chinese teacher, who came to Ukraine to continue her education in music, and started to learn Chinese with her in September 2017.
During her participation in the HSK-4 Chinese language examination in March 2018, Oleksandra met another participant who had been awarded a scholarship from the Chinese government to support her academic studies in China.
Upon learning that winning students would have the opportunity to be provided with opportunities to study in China free of charge, Oleksandra became resolute in her goal to win the "Chinese Bridge" competition in 2019.
Due to some minor missteps in her diablo performance, Oleksandra only won an award for her outstanding oral expression and missed the opportunity to study in China for free.
With the encouragement of her Chinese teacher, she eventually emerged from this failure and regained her confidence in learning Chinese.
Winning the long-awaited scholarship
During the 11th grade, Oleksandra invested more efforts in studying Chinese and preparing for the HSK-4 Chinese language examination.
On November 27, 2019, she learned that the Chinese government would provide Ukrainian students with 45 categories of scholarships during their academic studies or internships in the country.
Oleksandra passed the HSK-4 Chinese language examination with a high score of 272 and submitted her application to the Ukrainian Ministry of Education less than a week before the deadline.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Education congratulated Oleksandra's father on the success of his daughter’s application in a phone call on February 18, 2020.
She attended an online entrance examination held by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) on April 7, 2020, and received a pre-admission letter from the university about a week later.
Pursue dream at SJTU
Oleksandra and her classmates at SJTU had to attend preparatory courses and their first-year academic studies via video link because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
Despite the time difference between Ukraine and China, Oleksandra still managed to get up at late night to catch up her classes. The participation in preparatory courses fundamentally improved her Chinese proficiency and helped her pass the HSK-5 Chinese language examination later that year.
A photo of Zadorozhna Oleksandra
Oleksandra recalled that, compared with her classmates, she was afraid to speak in Chinese in her preparatory courses because of her accent. Thanks to her perseverance, she made a huge improvement in her spoken Chinese throughout the course.
Oleksandra is now living in the Czech Republic as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and is planning to apply for her visa to come to China in October. She is looking forward to meeting her teachers and classmates face-to-face, taste Chinese food, tour Shanghai, and share her stories related to China.
Oleksandra has called on other international enthusiasts of Mandarin Chinese to follow in her footsteps and try their best to realize their dream of mastering Chinese.
(From China Daily)