Hi Begoña, could you explain to us when and how did your relationship with Mandarin Chinese begin?
First of all, I want to thank my parents for the wise decision they made in their day, when I was only a two-year-old girl and they entrusted me with my education in the educational project of the CHI -Colegio Hispano Inglés. A cutting-edge project that currently, from very early ages and within school hours, offers students the simultaneous mastery of up to four languages: Spanish, English, German and Mandarin Chinese. During my schooling, I have studied the Chinese language, surpassing the different levels of the official exams of the Confucius Institute: YCT-1, YCT-2, YCT-3 and, right now, I am preparing the HSK-3 level. I would like to highlight, also, in this trajectory, the excellent Chinese native teachers and bilingual teachers in English that we have always had in the school, coming from Chinese universities and specialized in Mandarin teaching for foreign students.
How did your learning evolve to achieve this university scholarship to study in China? What institution and for what reason have they granted it to you?
The scholarship has been granted to me by the Confucius Institute and Hanban, official bodies that directly depend on the Ministry of Education of China, on the occasion of my success in the regional and national phase of the Bridge to China contest. That success of overcoming the Canarian phase and, later, the national one meant on the one hand the granting of this university scholarship that I now receive; and on the other hand, that she was chosen as the Spanish representative in the world phase of the contest that was recently held in Beijing.
What are the main objectives of the Confucius Institute and Hanban in the world?
Its main goals are to spread the Chinese language and culture so that the world can know its traditions. China is opening a bridge to the world, both economically and culturally. The Chinese care very much that their culture is known and accepted throughout the world. Precisely, the idea of creating bridges with other countries implies a reciprocal interest in the culture of the other. These are the consequences of living in a globalized world in which it is very important to pay attention, not only to economic issues, but also to cultural ones.
What does this university scholarship consist of and where will you reside during your stay in China?
The classes will be at the Normal University of Changchun, it lasts for one semester, between five and six months starting at the end of August; in particular, on Monday 26, and it would end on January or February, I still do not know the exact date, but I imagine it will coincide with the traditional Chinese New Year holidays. As for accommodation, the scholarship includes a stay in a university residence for foreign students that is located on the campus of the university, as well as a monthly support for maintenance.
What do you have in mind when you finish your stay in China?
After the scholarship and Chinese experience, I will return to Europe to start my career in aerospace or civil engineering in Germany. Given the time frame that I have, since the classes will start in October 2020, I plan to land on German soil in advance enough to take a previous course at the university, review the main engineering subjects, as well as refresh my knowledge and fluency in the German language.
As you continue studying your university career in Germany, how do you plan to continue perfecting Mandarin?
During my university studies in Germany, I will be able to continue studying Chinese at any of the Confucius Institute headquarters there. The idea is to continue perfecting the Chinese language for the future, to try to do an internship or a year of engineering study in China. Several German universities have agreements with Chinese companies and universities, so that their students can do work internships or continue their studies. We are in a world, increasingly globalized, where universities have international agreements.
We know it will be your second time in China, what will you miss the most?
When I was in China for the first time, on the occasion of the contest, the experience was wonderful: we were a large group, we were not the only European, we had organization staff always with us, we visited many beautiful and interesting places and, in general, we had all the agenda occupied with new and fun things. However, now the situation will be different, the stay will be much longer with a full semester duration. Given the distance, I can not come either at Christmas or in any non-school period, which is an added handicap, both for my parents and for me. To summarize it telegraphically, what I like the least is the cold of winter, which is more the fact that it is a unique experience. My biggest concern is that the airline only allows me one suitcase. The most boring, the more than 24 hours of travel due to the numerous stops. But, without a doubt, what I'm going to miss most is leaving my family and friends, not being able to enjoy the sea, nor be able to eat Spanish omelet.