Russian twins live China dream

Updated: 2013-03-25 13:45

By Wu Yong and Liu Ce (China Daily)

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Two sisters settle down in Shenyang and call it a city full of opportunity

Like many other late 20-somethings in Shenyang, Vera and Tomara Kulebyakina dream of buying an apartment in the city.

"We love Shenyang and we want to live here, but we can't afford to buy an apartment," says Vera, the elder of the two 29-year-old Russian sisters from Barnaul, administrative center of Russia's Altai Krai.

They have lived in Liaoning's capital for eight years, working for Shenyang Brilliant Elevator Co. Vera is responsible for product sales to Russia, while Tomara is a technical data translator.

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"We do like our jobs here and working together in Shenyang makes us happy. Opportunities are scarce back home," Tomara says.

The twins majored in international relations at Altai State University in 2000 and initially chose English as their foreign language.

"English letters are similar to the Chinese phonetic system and we were very lucky the school opened a Chinese-language course - even though our teacher wasn't that good," says Vera, explaining how they started learning Mandarin.

At first it was a challenge, they say, but their mom encouraged them to keep at it and the more they learned the more they liked the language.

In order to practice speaking the language and at the behest of their parents the twins went to Shenyang's Northeastern University in 2004.

"We knew little about China at that time and were afraid of leaving our parents," Tomara says.

"I sobbed in our mom's arms when I was about to leave," Vera admits. "But we never regretted the move because we like traditional Chinese culture and its values, which suit our characters."

Liaoning Provincial Education Bureau data shows 2,847 Russian students studied in the province in 2011. That makes Russia the second largest source of foreign students in the province, after South Korea.

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