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Feature: “You have attached wings to our dreams”: Vietnamese winners of Chinese scholarships

by Wang Di, Bui Long

HANOI, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — “After completing my master’s course in Beijing, I will come back here to work as a university lecturer, passing what I learn in China to Vietnamese students,” Nguyen Khuong Hong Ngoc, a female graduate from a Hanoi university, said confidently.

Ngoc was one of the 79 winners of the Chinese government’s scholarships in 2019, who were all invited to a ceremony held on Thursday by the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam to receive their admission notice and share their expectations for study in China with peer winners.

Before the ceremony, Ngoc glued her eyes on a smartphone screen which displays both Chinese and English words and a loudspeaker symbol. She has learnt Chinese for only one month, but is already determined to get a master’s degree and even a doctoral degree in philosophy in China.

“I’m going to pursue a master’s degree in Beijing, centering my intensive studies on great ancient Chinese philosophies such as Confucianism and Taoism,” Ngoc, who graduated from the Philosophy Department at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi in 2018, told Xinhua.

To get the degree in China, Ngoc will study in both English and Chinese, and to make her further studies of Eastern philosophy more efficient and her exploration of Chinese culture in Beijing and other Chinese localities more enjoyable, she decided to jump on the bandwagon, studying Chinese.

“I installed applications on my smartphone to study Chinese at least 15 minutes every day,” Ngoc said. “Having a good command of Chinese will help me explore Chinese localities like Beijing and Shanghai, and fully enjoy other aspects of impressive Chinese culture such as Peking Opera, films and architecture,” she stressed.

“Seeing is believing,” she said with a grin, adding that it is an opportunity to have first-hand experience of what China is like.

Like many other Vietnamese youths, Ngoc’s affection for China has grown naturally since young age when coming into indirect contacts with Chinese culture mainly through TV series, novels and stories told by her compatriots who have toured China.

“Among China’s cultural factors, I like ancient architecture, fine arts and Peking Opera most because their aesthetics value is very high. I also love Chinese gastronomy, especially kourou (pork steamed with spices),” the young lady in a fashionable black and white costume blossomed into a warm smile.

Now, with a Chinese scholarship which allows her to further study philosophy in China, Ngoc has decided to probe into ancient Chinese philosophy and its impact on as well as contribution to modern societies. Believing that ancient Chinese philosophies have time-honored values which still have their roles in different spheres in modern societies, Ngoc chose the impact and contribution of Confucianism and Taoism in contemporary Vietnam and China as a topic for her master’s thesis.

She has been digging deep into works of Chinese educator and philosopher Confucius, as well as “Tao Te Ching” by another Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

“I think Confucianism highlights and dignify studying and cultivating oneself to become honorable people, and it focuses on Ren (benevolence) among the harmony of Wu Chang, the five constant virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and fidelity,” Ngoc told Xinhua.

Just like Ngoc, many other Vietnamese winners of Chinese scholarships also said that impressed by China’s rich and valuable culture, they will spare no efforts to enrich their knowledge in China and then disseminate it in Vietnam.

“You have attached wings to our dreams,” Vietnamese graduate Tran Thien Tu said in her Chinese speech at the ceremony. “China’s Central Academy of Drama is cradle of many famous Chinese artists and it is also my dream school, now (with the scholarship), I will learn to become a professional director there since September.”

Tu told Xinhua that she has deeply researched the life and works of famous Vietnamese playwrights such as Luu Quang Vu, and now with the Chinese scholarship, she will have great opportunities to directly probe into Chinese drama which is most well-known in East Asia in many aspects, from researching manuscripts to organizing and building up plays, and giving instructions about acting, costumes and decorations.

“I have watched famous Chinese plays, including “Thunderstorm” and “Sunrise” by Cao Yu, and “Rickshaw Boy” by Lao She. When returning to Vietnam after three years of further studying in China, I want to direct good plays and teach drama directing in my country,” the young woman stated.

At the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Xiong Bo said he expected Vietnamese winners of the 2019 Chinese government scholarships to seize every opportunity to achieve academic results, and get better understanding of China-Vietnam relations as well as development of China’s various fields, contributing to the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, lead specialist in charge of education with China at the International Cooperation Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, said: “With its advanced education and prominent features in culture, gastronomy, geography and lifestyle, China is now a favorite destination of many Vietnamese students.”

Last year, nearly 11,300 Vietnamese students studied in China, of whom 18 percent got different kinds of scholarships from the Chinese side, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Education.

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