Angolan young woman studies in China for better job back home

Updated: 2014-05-04 18:13


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GUANGZHOU, China - "You're gonna study in China and get a better job back home after graduation," Angelina Dodissea Alberto Gomes, an Angolan woman in her twenties, repeated the words in Chinese that she can speak the best in an interview with Xinhua.

Those words are the great expectations her mother had placed on her before Angelina came to China for her future career dreams.

"A person with a diploma from a Chinese university is most welcome in the Angolan labor market," Angelina said in not very fluent Chinese.

The 27-year-old Angolan woman came to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou a year ago to learn Chinese language, in hopes that she could find a promising job back in her home country.

Angelina, currently a student of the College of Chinese Language and Culture of Jinan University, plans to stay in China for five years.

Angelina's home country, Angola, is a resource-rich former Portuguese colony in southwestern Africa, which has enjoyed a double-digit economic growth on average in recent years.

The African country has attracted a large amount of foreign investments, including those from China, which mainly go into Angola's infrastructure such as building roads, railways and bridges.

"Angolan employers would sometimes ask whether you could speak good Chinese?" said Angelina. "That's why I am here." The young woman had worked in her brother's company for six years after her graduation from a vocational high school majoring in mechanical engineering.

Angelina's life in China was financed by her mother, a doctor who lost her husband and raised her nine children on her own. "Studying and living in China are relatively cheap, except taxi fare," she said. Angelina spent roughly 2,000 yuan (about 320 U.S. dollars) a month in the southern Chinese city.

Angelina, who failed to get a government scholarship due to fierce competition, has to pay 9,000 yuan (about 1,440 U.S. dollars) in tuition for an academic year as well.

In Jinan University, one of the renowned universities in China, there are about 3,800 foreign students from 92 countries, and 73 of them are from Africa and three from Angola. Scores of Angolans are studying in other Chinese cities such as Wuhan in central China, and Shanghai, Hefei and Ningbo in China's coastal areas.

Angelina feels at home in China. She uses Wechat, a Chinese messaging app, to communicate with her teachers and classmates. She even has a Cantonese friend named Zhang Xin.

"I taught her Portuguese and She taught me Chinese," she said, with some Chinese words pronounced with a heavy accent of Cantonese.

In her spare time, Angelina reads books, surfs on the Internet, chats with friends and goes shopping like many Chinese youngsters.

She usually has her hair and nails done in a community on the Xiaobei road of the Yuexiu district, which is home to a great number of Africans living in Guangzhou.

Almost 70 percent or 80 percent of the residents around the Xiaobei road are from Africa, said Chen Xiaobing, a manager of the Tianxiu mansion, center of the Xiaobei road.

African shops, beauty salons and restaurants packed in rows around the Xiaobei road, while African nationals, some in traditional attires and some in T-shirts and jeans are seen everywhere in the neighborhood.

According to official statistics as of March 25, 4,222 Africans are living in Guangzhou, and nearly 50 percent of them are students.

Despite being homesick sometimes, Angelina said she has gotten used to living in China.

In summer, it is hot and rains a lot in Guangzhou. "The climate here is like that of Angola," Angelina said.