A China Story Told by an International Chinese Language Learning Student

April 03 12:00 2023

“Looking back on my Chinese language learning journey, I find that it is my first Chinese language teacher, Mr. Wu Qunbin, that has opened the gate to a new world for me. Thanks to him, I have kept on learning Chinese, and he has always encouraged me anytime when I wanted to give up.

“My Chinese language learning experience is like a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs; it is also like venturing in a jungle, in which I cannot see where I am going. My Chinese name is Zhang Hongyi, chosen for me by Mr. Wu in the hope that I would learn Chinese language with perseverance.

“I am now a doctoral student in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages at Yunnan Normal University, and I attribute all my achievements to Mr. Wu. I served as a local Chinese language teacher, and Mr. Wu has inspired me to understand that a good teacher is not only to impart knowledge, but also to encourage students to move forward.

“The story of Mr. Wu and me began in 2013. In that year, the bank I worked for started to downsize. Fearing that I would be laid off, and with a diminishing sense of job satisfaction, I had been trying to find another way out. On my daily commute to work, I had always passed by the Confucius Institute at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria. One day, I thought I might go in and have a look. At the Confucius Institute, I met Mr. Wu, but I couldn’t even manage to utter the word “你好” at that time. During the conversation with Mr. Wu, I shared my experience with him and he listened quite attentively. Having learned the situation, Mr. Wu suggested that I might consider studying Chinese, which would be beneficial to my future. These words from Mr. Wu gave me new hope for my future. At the end of that month, I submitted my resignation letter and started to study Chinese at the Confucius Institute.

“I still recollected the day I resigned from my job. Initially, I was excited and felt that finally I would not have to rush to work in the morning. However, as the money I had saved at work ran out, the gasoline bill became unaffordable for me and I had to switch from driving to school to taking the bus. I started to realize that the hard days were upon me. Many people considered me irrational for quitting such a good job when I resigned. And I did feel hesitant and depressed when life was a struggle, doubting why I quit my job in my 30s and if studying Chinese language was worth it.

“Whenever I felt I couldn’t move on, Mr. Wu cheered me up and my father also gave me his encouragement. After some time, I passed the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) Level 4 and obtained a job relating to Chinese language with the help of Mr. Wu. But with the deteriorating condition of my father’s health, I resigned again to look after him.

“As time approached for the HSK Level 5, Mr. Wu suggested me to take the test. I felt hesitant to do so, but Mr. Wu encouraged me that it would not matter if I failed. I finally plucked up the courage to attend the test, and my gratitude went beyond words as Mr. Wu covered the exam fees for me. Since I had not spent much time on study, my score was just above the passing line for HSK Level 5. Mr. Wu cheered me up again, telling me that to pass HSK Level 5 on my own had been a great gain, and he encouraged me to keep it up.

“Prior to studying Chinese language, my undergraduate major was Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and then I worked in a bank, but neither my major nor my job is what I like. I did feel frustrated about my future when I switched to learning Chinese language, but over time, I finally found the field that I preferred. After a period of studying Chinese language, I applied to study at Hebei Normal University, and those days were wonderful and memorable. Then I applied to Yunnan Normal University for my doctoral studies and now I am in my third year of my PhD.

“By writing about these experiences, I wish to tell Mr. Wu that he is the one who has led me into the world of Chinese language and brought me to a brighter and broader future, for which I am forever grateful. I do hope this article can reach him, and I want more people to know that there is such a good teacher. How I aspire to tell Mr. Wu that the efforts he put into me have been paid off. I expect to help my students in the future the same way he has done to me.”

original source: http://www.chinese.cn/page/#/pcpage/article?id=1366&page=1

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