You can read the article in French here.
Behind their foreign-sounding names, Victor and Laura are very much Chinese. Both their grandparents emigrated to Mauritius from China, and they were born and raised in the island nation.
Victor and Laura have called Mauritius their home, and they speak fluent French, but the desire to trace their roots and ancestry has never left their minds.
Be inspired by Victor and Laura’s story, their eagerness to learn basic mandarin and master their native tongue, reconnect with the Chinese culture and experience a life that they’ve only heard from their grandparents!
Mauritius has one of the most stable economies in sub-Saharan Africa.
Hi, Victor and Laura!
Victor: Hello, my name is Victor, I am 18 years old and I am from Mauritius. Both of us are students at BLCC in China, we are studying to learn basic Mandarin. It’s been almost a year, and I came to China mainly because my grandparents are from China.
Since they came to Mauritius, I had the feeling that my family, was a little bit disconnected from their own origins. Hence my main reason was to learn a little bit more about my own culture.
Mauritius is popular for its beautiful beaches.
Laura: Hello, I am Laura, I am 21 years old and I am from Mauritius as well. It’s sort of the same case for me, my grandparents are all Chinese. They came from China. I thought once I finish secondary school, it would be better for me to come to China.
I want to experience the culture of my ancestors and learn basic Mandarin. I also want to know where my grandparents came from. It’s also out of curiosity.
In Mauritius, almost no one speaks Mandarin. I want to learn basic Mandarin so I know how to think, how to speak, how to listen in Mandarin. We decided to enroll at BLCC in China. It’s a big adventure here. We have been studying to learn basic Mandarin at BLCC in China for almost 8 months. When I compare my Mandarin level from the beginning, there is huge progress.
There is still a lot more work to do in order to speak Mandarin very well, but we are advancing. In my case I am a little bit lazy, that’s why my progress has taken more time compared to other people.
Mauritius is a melting pot of cultures. The Chinese Spring Festival is an annual event in the country.
How are the teachers at BLCC?
Victor: Teachers at BLCC in China are very good and professional. We learn quickly and we don’t get lost, it’s very easy to follow in the classroom. Teachers do their best to make it easy for us to integrate at school. They help us through every problem we face and they do not hesitate to correct us in case we make any mistake.
Laura: I find it good, they always keep pushing us to do better and I find that they have a lot of experience. The teachers are very encouraging. In my case, it was my mother’s friend who recommended this school.
BLCC, located in Beijing, is one of the few universities in China that focuses on Chinese language teaching and promotion of Chinese culture.
How did you find out about BLCC? And how are you finding Beijing?
Victor: We heard much positive feedback that if you want to learn Mandarin, BLCC in Beijing is the best. When it comes to living conditions, Beijing is the best. We’ve made quick progress in Mandarin. We are very well-coached.
For me, it was also a friend of my mother’s who offered me the opportunity to come here. Since he knew that I really wanted to come to China. He told me that he could help me and I do not regret seizing this opportunity at all.
The world’s longest pure electric bus is found in China.
Laura: Beijing is huge, we thought we’d get lost every day. After a few weeks, we realized that public transportation is very well-designed and it’s easy to access. It’s very easy to navigate Beijing. The subway system is well implemented, we never got lost.
China is very developed, modern and technologically advanced. Virtual wallets are awesome. We don’t need to have paper money, we don’t even need a wallet. Everything can be done through telephone, it’s very practical.
The Chinese rarely carry cash as mode of payment turns mobile with apps such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.
What’s the best thing about studying in BLCC in Beijing?
Victor: For me, it’s the peace of mind. We can study without being disturbed. It’s enjoyable and I like living here a lot. BLCC is an international school. There are lots of students from different countries. We take this opportunity to learn about other cultures and meet new people. It changes us for the better and gives us a lot of experience.
For the budget, you have to know how to manage your finances. I would say that RMB 2000 is enough. Anything from 2500 to 3000 is enough, but it depends on your lifestyle. If you eat every day in the canteen, you won’t need a lot of money.
Laura: Chinese food is very different from Mauritius. In the beginning, it wasn’t that much of a drastic change for me. It was normal sometimes, we miss Mauritian food.
Chinese food is one of the most diverse in the world. Here’s a table full of Chinese New Year food.
What are your plans after completing your program at BLCC?
Victor: My plans for the future is to stay in China. I want to pursue my studies in China. In order to survive in China, it’s better to learn basic Mandarin first. Studying at BLCC in China helped me a lot.
Laura: For me, I decided to opt for a sabbatical year before starting my graduate studies. I wanted to discover the world. I plan to go to Canada and continue my studies in finance and accounting. Once I get my hands on the degree, I intend to return to China to be fluent in Mandarin.
International students say they feel a sense of belongingness in China because of the people.
What’s your advice to international students who want to study in China?
Victor: Don’t be shy when you go out of China. Don’t hesitate to talk to local people so you can practice your Mandarin. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because we learn from our mistakes. Even if Chinese people seem a bit careless, they will not hesitate to help and correct you.
BLCC is renowned for its outstanding Chinese teaching and professional service. It is now the training center for highly qualified Chinese teachers, R&D center of Chinese education and learning center for international students interested in Chinese language and culture.
BLCC ranks among the first Chinese teaching bases authorized by OCAO and the first training bases of language application authorized by the State Language Commission of China. The college is also an HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test) site.
In the past more than 60 years since its establishment, there have been nearly 100,000 students, teachers and officials from over 130 countries coming to study and do research in BLCC, which has won high international reputation for it. Learn more about BLCC or apply to Chinese language programs at BLCC now!