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Russian stewardess shines on Hainan Airlines

By Wang Wen (China Daily Europe) Updated: 2016-01-10 13:09

It has been more than five years since Bazhenova Evgenia, 31, joined Hainan Airlines, but to this day she still gets nervous recalling her first flight. "I couldn't sleep the night before."

It was an early flight from Beijing to Xiamen, Fujian province. Sleepless, the Russian flight attendant had to force herself to work. It involved going through the various processes she had learned during three months of training.

Hainan Airlines is a major operator in the Russia-China market. It has introduced several flights to Russia in recent years. Two of its popular routes connect Beijing to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The company started to recruit Russian employees in 2006. It now has seven Russians, including Evgenia. Their biggest challenge, she says: dealing with cultural differences between Chinese and Russian passengers.

Evgenia recalls work was not easy in the beginning. She was used to the slow pace of life in Russia, but suddenly found herself flying across continents in a matter of hours.

Russian stewardess shines on Hainan Airlines

"We (Russians) work slowly, talk slowly and eat slowly. But I have many things to do quickly while at work," says the blue-eyed stewardess.

Fortunately, Evgenia received help from her instructor, which enabled her to cope with the fast-paced lifestyle. "My instructor is the person I appreciate the most in this job."

Evgenia speaks fluent Chinese. She received a bachelor's degree after studying the language at Beijing Language and Culture University.

She says her father thinks China will soon graduate to a developed country, and that having skills in the Chinese language will be useful. His conviction persuaded Evgenia to go study and work in China. "I know he was right."

After graduation, she just wanted a job to support herself - so landed the job with Hainan Airlines.

The carrier pays her well, she says. "Back then, I wanted to work for one year and then buy a car." But her life goals changed after just a year in the job.

Evgenia's hard work has also been appreciated by her employer, which featured her on its branding poster in 2013 as a representative of the airlines' foreign flight team. In the poster, Evgenia's clear blue eyes are like the water of Lake Baikal, which is near her hometown of Irkutsk.

Evgenia has been away from her hometown for seven years now. She says she misses it, as well as her family, but Beijing is her second home now. She never thinks about leaving Beijing. "I love this historical city, which has helped me to grow up."

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