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Russian teacher finds home comforts in Xinjiang

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-06-16 12:48
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Gulnara Tolmacheva from Russia has settled down in Xinjiang. [Photo/Xinhua]

URUMQI - Gulnara Tolmacheva from Russia has settled down and realized her dream in Karamay, a Chinese city about 1,000 kilometers away from her home in Novosibirsk.

Tolmacheva now teaches Russian at the China University of Petroleum-Beijing at Karamay, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Though having had an interest in the Chinese language and culture since Tolmacheva was young, the 46-year-old did not pay her first visit to China until 2009.

"In Urumqi, I saw different ethnic groups, bustling night markets, and restaurants serving various kinds of food," she says.

Captivated by the vibrant and culturally diverse city, Tolmacheva chose to study Chinese in Urumqi, Xinjiang, in 2013.

Tolmacheva and her family moved to Karamay in 2019 after getting a job offer from the China University of Petroleum-Beijing at Karamay.

She knew little about the city except for its rich petrol resources, but she now sees Karamay as her second home.

During the pandemic, the companionship of her students and colleagues, and the care from management personnel, made her feel at home.

"Every morning we would write a list of food we need, which would be delivered by the evening," Tolmacheva recalls.

"I told my parents that we have food, my work is going well, and my son is in good health."

Tolmacheva worked hard to inspire her students.

"Language environment is very important," she says. "So I tried my best to teach them Russian songs and organize short plays, even during online courses."

Tolmacheva also marveled at the way people of different ethnic groups get along in Xinjiang.

"Last year, I gave lectures to people in the petroleum industry," she says.

"They're from different ethnic groups. All of them have a good relationship, and all of them are working hard."

Having realized her dream of learning Chinese in Xinjiang, Tolmacheva is ambitious about finishing her doctoral degree and is planning to compile some Russian textbooks.

"I've realized my dream of studying Chinese, and I love my job," she says.

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