Samoan students off to China

By Mathias Huckert 20 August 2016, 12:00AM

Leaving your home country is never an easy process, but if there is a chance to see the world, most young people will not reject to take this opportunity. 

The Chinese government has, along with the Chinese Scholarship Council (C.S.C.) provided such a chance to 32 students from Samoa.

The group, which includes students from all different subjects, was farewelled by the Chinese Embassy in Apia on Thursday. 

Ambassador Wang Xuefeng spoke of the “wonderful opportunities to study and live in China for the following years”, mentioning that this important station for the students brings them “one step closer to fulfilling their dreams”.

To provide a first impression of what to expect from the Chinese culture, two students who had already been to China with the help of the scholarship program and successfully finished their studies, shared their expressions with their successors. 

Lui Enoka, who had had the chance to complete his studies in International trade in Dalian, a city located in China’s Northeast, was even able to retell some of his impressions in Chinese – an impressive achievement that was rewarded with an enthusiastic applause by the Chinese delegates at the embassy. Enoka also explained to the evening’s hosts from China as well as Samoa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which was represented by its CEO, Mrs Peseta Noumea Simi, that “all the students gathered at today’s event will do their best to represent their country for the future years at their universities in China”.

But China is indeed not as unknown to the Samoan students as one might expect it to be.  Some of them already had the chance to spend time in the country that will be their home for the next five to six years. Like Philton Solomona. 

The 18-year old already had visited Asia’s far east as he had taken part in a journey organised by the Embassy and Samoa’s National University just earlier this year. During the ten-day long trip, Philton had seen the great wall and visited the city of Beijing.

But even though he had experienced China before, the scholarship that makes it possible for him to return to Asia was not his first choice, as the future student of music was able to tell Samoa Observer: “I originally applied for the university scholarship at N.U.S., and I wanted to study in Fiji, but unfortunately, there is no music programme over there. So I was looking for alternatives, and after I had learnt that the Japanese scholarship programmes do not include arts scholarships, I applied to China”.

For his future studies for the next six years in the city of Wuhan, located in central China, Philton Solomona pursues another goal – besides achieving his degree of course: becoming more independent. 

“I am just getting ready to realize that I won’t see my family for the next six years and that I will have to live all by myself. But I also think that’s one of the advantages of this opportunity, because I want to improve my self-dependence. 

Also, with my trip to China a couple of weeks ago, I think that the cultural shock won’t be that hard for me”, he said.

Not all of the students which will soon leave Samoa to complete their education in China share the advantage of already knowing what to expect from their future home. “It is a privilege and an honour for me to take part in this programme. I know it might get hard to get used to the new environment and the culture but it will definitely be worth the struggles, that’s what I’m sure about”, told Fiaalii Henry Pula, who will soon begin his Civil Engineering studies for the next five years in Asia’s far east.

The students were also encouraged by the representatives of their own home country: “Always remember that as a Samoan in a foreign country, you always carry the spirit of your home with you and you will be representing our nation during your stay”, explained Peseta Noumea Simi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to the 32 students who will leave for China in the next two weeks.

By Mathias Huckert 20 August 2016, 12:00AM

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