Learning lessons for today and tomorrow
Walking around the campus of Peking University in Beijing, it was noticeable that Song Xi had darker skin than many of the other women on the campus. That wasn’t surprising, given that for the past year, while the rest of her classmates have been busy working on their graduate theses, the 22-year-old “student soldier” has been training with the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Last year, she suspended her studies and enlisted for two years.
“All the people who join the army voluntarily have always dreamed of becoming soldiers — the idea has always been firmly rooted in their minds,” she said, explaining that she enlisted because she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father, a career soldier.
Army life has changed Song, who always seemed to have a spring in her step. “I have become more tolerant of people’s differences and am more considerate to others,” she said. “All the changes are the result of the tough training I have undergone and the isolated environment that helps people to understand each other better and teaches them about sharing and responsibility.”
As a member of the Naval Special Warfare Force, the two training exercises that impressed her most were a swimming and diving course, and a wilderness survival challenge.