Man­darin key for An­golan’s am­bi­tions

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By XIN­HUA in Guangzhou

“You’re go­ing to study in China and get a bet­ter job back home af­ter grad­u­a­tion.”

An­gelina Dodis­sea Al­berto Gomes, an An­golan woman in her 20s, re­peated the words in Chi­nese.

Those words rep­re­sent the great ex­pec­ta­tions her mother placed on her be­fore she came to China to fur­ther her ca­reer.

“A per­son with a di­ploma from a Chi­nese univer­sity is most wel­come in the An­golan la­bor mar­ket,” Gomes said.

The 27-year-old came to the south­ern Chi­nese city of Guangzhou a year ago to learn Man­darin, in hopes that she could find a promis­ing job back in her home coun­try.

Gomes, cur­rently a stu­dent at the Col­lege of Chi­nese Lan­guage and Cul­ture of Ji­nan Univer­sity, plans to stay in China for five years.

Gomes’ home

coun­try, An­gola, is a re­source-rich for­mer Por­tuguese colony in south­west­ern Africa, which has en­joyed dou­ble-digit eco­nomic growth in re­cent years.

It has at­tracted a large amount of for­eign in­vest­ment, in­clud­ing from China, which has been used for roads, rail­ways and bridges.

“An­golan em­ploy­ers some­times ask whether you can speak good Chi­nese,” Gomes said. “That’s why I am here.”

She worked at her brother’s com­pany for six years af­ter her grad­u­a­tion from a vo­ca­tional high school where she ma­jored in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing.

Gomes’ life in China was fi­nanced by her mother, a doc­tor who lost her hus­band and raised her nine chil­dren on her own. “Study­ing and liv­ing in China is rel­a­tively cheap, ex­cept taxi fares,” she said. Gomes spends roughly 2,000 yuan ($320) a month in the south­ern Chi­nese city.

Gomes, who failed to get a govern­ment schol­ar­ship due to fierce com­pe­ti­tion, must pay 9,000 yuan in tu­ition for an aca­demic year as well.

At Ji­nan Univer­sity, there are about 3,800 for­eign stu­dents from 92 coun­tries, with 73 of them are from Africa and three from An­gola. Dozens of An­golans are study­ing in other Chi­nese cities such as Wuhan, Shang­hai, He­fei and Ningbo.

Gomes feels at home in China. She uses WeChat, a Chi­nese mes­sag­ing app, to com­mu­ni­cate with her teach­ers and class­mates. She even has a Can­tonese friend named Zhang Xin. “I taught her Por­tuguese, and she taught me Chi­nese,” she said.

In her spare time, Gomes reads books, surfs on the In­ter­net, chats with friends and goes shop­ping like many Chi­nese young­sters.

She usu­ally has her hair and nails done in a com­mu­nity on Xiaobei Road in Yuexiu district, which is home to a large num­ber of Africans liv­ing in Guangzhou.

Around 70 to 80 per­cent of res­i­dents around Xiaobei Road are from Africa, said Chen Xiaob­ing, a man­ager of the Tianxiu man­sion on there.

African shops, beauty sa­lons and restaurants are packed in rows, while African na­tion­als, some in tra­di­tional at­tire and some in T-shirts and jeans, are seen every­where in the neigh­bor­hood.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics, 4,222 Africans are liv­ing in Guangzhou, and nearly 50 per­cent of them are stu­dents.

De­spite be­ing home­sick some­times, Gomes said she has got­ten used to liv­ing in China.

In sum­mer, it is hot and rains a lot in Guangzhou. “The cli­mate here is like that of An­gola,” she said.


Drum­mers from Africa per­form at a cul­tural event in Kaili, Guizhou prov­ince. African mu­sic continues to have an in­flu­ence world­wide across many mu­si­cal gen­res.


An­gelina Dodis­sea Al­berto Gomes hopes to find a bet­ter job af­ter fin­ish­ing her stud­ies in Guangzhou.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.