I used to study on my own using the sequence of Flavio’s books, there were two books per semester, I was finishing the third book.
The Chinese take English language very seriously, they know the importance and strive to learn it; well, at least the young college students. Today in the “English Corner” I met Henry (or Adiekber his name in Uighur), he was Uighur and was working on summer holidays as a guide at the tour agency in Kashgar, he was tall and looked like mixed-race like most of the Uighurs. Henry was studying English at Xian. We meet by chance 3500km away from Kashgar, China is really small!
All the colleges in China were paid, there is nothing free in this communist country. So, life for many Chinese were not easy at all, many have to work to get to pay for their college around USD 800 per year plus dormitory accommodation, almost USD 2000 per year, few for some and a fortune for others. The young people take their studies in this country very seriously.
Many parents kill themselves working to put their children in a college, peasants want to see their children in better condition in the future, and guarantee their livelihood when they are elderly. Putting a child in college represents for some a lifetime of work, savings and sacrifice. And the labor market is extremely crowded, China has an excess of labor, which throws wages down. The pressure on the individual ends up being very strong, it is very stressful for the young student, some can not stand the pressure and end up committing suicide. The government doesn’t bring it up.
College students must live in college dormitory, even if they have a place next to the college they have to pay for the accommodation, even if they go to sleep at home every day!
Being a foreigner here in China was an attraction, even though I looked like an Han Chinese, although everyone found me looking Japanese or Korean, when they knew I was from outside, they soon wanted to talk to me. In fact, I seemed like a foreigner by the way I walk, dress, appearance and behavior, and when I opened my mouth then, I left no doubt, my accent and poor vocabulary denounced me.
The flustered Chinese asked everything, like: what was my age, if I had a girlfriend, what I was doing here, how long it would stay, how was Brazil, what I thought of China, what I studied, if I was a Christian, if I played football, etc. For the foreigner that was in the center of the circle, always answering the same questions it became very tiring, besides having to talk non-stop for hours.
Many were curious about Christianity, after all it is a novelty, it was the “religion of the West”, even being Atheists, Materialists or Buddhists, for some of them their philosophies and religion did not fill the emptiness of their souls.
As life is not easy here, many want to leave China and envy the American standard of living seen in the movies. The Chinese are super patriotic, even with all the defects and corruptions of the party and government, they were taught to watch over the homeland.
Xian is also known not only for the historical side, for having been the capital of several dynasties in the past, but also for having dozens of colleges here, more than forty. So there were many young people in the city, many were from other provinces.
Today a guy knocked on my door, it was the collector of the water bill. It was not like in Brazil, everything electronic/automatic. The collector came with a “paper” notebook containing the history of payments and consumption, he read the “clock” (hydrometer) and already made the charge. It was supposed to pass every three months, but it took six months since the last time to show up and charge, according to what Flavio told me, he seemed honest, without charging any extra, made the receipt in the exact amount to be paid and handed me.
Written by Traveler Ni