For­mer hair­dresser chases hoop dream

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

($4,400) tu­ition fees, and ar­rived in Wuqiao to be­gin the one-year train­ing pro­gram last Oc­to­ber.

Mu Hongyuan, who runs in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the ac­ro­batic school, said it has trained around 400 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents. The first group of stu­dents came from Africa in 2002, as part of an aid project spon­sored by China’s Min­istry of Com­merce.

For Doolin, the most frus­trat­ing thing at first was not hard train­ing, but the lone­li­ness.

“Un­like in Bei­jing, where many peo­ple speak English, I could barely find any­one to talk to here,” she said.

The sit­u­a­tion prompted her to study Chi­nese. Eight months af­ter ar­riv­ing, she knew enough to con­verse in the lan­guage.

“Now I have made some Chi­nese friends,” she said.

Doolin earns around 1,000 yuan per day for per­form­ing at tourist re­sorts, 1,500 to 2,000 yuan per show at the­aters, and 2,000 yuan per day for TV per­for­mances.

“My in­come is not sta­ble, but it’s much bet­ter than be­ing a hair­dresser back home,” she said. “Chi­nese au­di­ences like my show.”

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