Young benefit from charity group exchanges
Updated: 2011-11-08 07:29
By Guo JI (China Daily)
BEIJING - Taitelova Karina, a 22-year-old Kazakh student at Beijing Language and Culture University, never thought charitable work and caring for kids would help her assimilate into Chinese culture.
Russian and Chinese primary and middle school students dance at the Beijing No 80 Middle School on Aug 2. About 450 Russian students came to Beijing during a 12-day trip throughout China, which was organized as part of a summer camp. [Photo/ China Daily]
Having won scholarships from Beijing's education administrations, Karina is now entering her senior year at the university and is getting a bachelor's degree in international political studies.
"I'm now preparing every necessary material to establish my current studies on Kazakhstan's role in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization," Karina said on Sunday. "And I think (the organization) is running pretty well."
Karina's dream is to become a diplomat who would work to improve relations between China and Kazakhstan, and she is now planning to further study international relations and pursue a master's degree at Beijing Language and Culture University.
Starting her studies in 2008, Karina became the first international student in the university's politics department.
Someone who wants to try to understand Karina's life in China could easily start by looking at her scores at various Chinese speech contests and her participation in a dance team and at cultural festivals on campus. But a far better way to learn about it is to consider the experience she had with the charity Sun Village on June 1, in Beijing.
Sun Village, a non-governmental organization that accommodates hundreds of kids who do not receive regular parental supervision, has been giving foster care to the children of imprisoned convicts.
In the spring semester this year, Karina, along with other students from Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries, decided to raise money and collect clothes for those children.
Their quest for donations was carried out without the use of a massive campaign but instead by word of mouth among friends and through donation boxes placed at the campuses of Beijing Language and Culture University, Renmin University of China and Beijing Jiaotong University.
"Some may question our integrity, and it is hard to persuade people like this because of our low profile, which has haunted us sometimes," said Karina. Karina and four of her friends sent cozy clothes and more than 1,000 yuan ($156), raised through donations, to Sun Village on International Children's Day, which is celebrated on June 1.
The international students' reach into Chinese communities is showing signs of bearing fruit. That's especially evident in the exchanges of talent that are occurring among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, experts and officials said.
The scholarships are provided by the China Scholarship Council and were officially proposed by President Hu Jintao in 2007.
Since 2008, the council has paid for 20 students from each of the five other member countries to study every year.
Sun Lailin, an education official with the Chinese Embassy in Russia, said the embassy has selected the recipients of the organization's scholarships for the year. Both countries, Sun said, have paid for large student exchanges, involving about 200 from Russia and 400 from China this year.
About 1,000 Kazakh students are now studying in China and 1,500 Chinese are studying in Kazakhstan, said Lang Youchi, an education official with the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan.
Despite improving trade ties and the increasing demand for employees who speak Chinese, few Kazakhstan students come to China simply to study the language, Lang said.
"Economy, trade and international relations are among the hottest options," said Lang, adding that the study of traditional Chinese medicine, telecom technologies and petrol have received more attention from Kazakh students.