Gunay wins a medal in a volleyball game in University. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
“How to say ‘Hi’ in Chinese?” Gunay, an 18-year-old Azerbaijani girl, asked her classmate, a shy boy who was the only Chinese in the class – in English, seven years ago. At that time, they were college students of geophysics major in Azerbaijan State Oil and Industrial University. Several years later, the boy greeted her with a phone call from a remote Chinese village where neither WiFi nor cell phone signal was available. In order to make that phone call, he walked far until he could borrow a telephone. Gunay had already come to China then.
Love blossomed between the boy and the girl and overcame their differences in nationality and culture. One year ago, Gunay followed her boyfriend, the boy who was greeted by her seven years ago and has become her husband now, to China.
Gunay participates in the 6th Competition for Female International Students. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
“I think I have met my true love,” Gunay said, her face beamed with happiness. In order to pursue her true love, she had to cope with many problems. Three years ago, she started learning Chinese. “Chinese was very hard for me. I need to memorize characters, pinyin, meanings, and particularly intonations,” she said. She had passed HSK level three before she came to China. “I have made rapid progress in Chinese after I came to China. I passed HSK level five at the beginning of the year and I’m preparing for level six,” she said proudly.
Besides the language, there is parents’ concern. Gunay said, “I knew little about China before and my parents worried that I would not accustom myself to the life in China. What’s more, I could have a stable job in Azerbaijan, but I have to start from scratch here in China. Luckily I was admitted by China University of Petroleum to study for a doctor’s degree. This year I also got Beijing Government Scholarship and the teachers here would like to help me too.”
Time flies and she has been in China for a year. According to her, the life in Beijing is amazing.
Gunay attends the Chinese Bridge summer camp. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
Gunay participated in the 6th Competition for Female International Students held by the university this May. “There were not many participants. Most people lacked the courage to stand on the stage, but I wanted to have a try,” she recalled. To perform at the competition, she learned playing cucurbit flute from her mother-in-law for a month and practiced Jing Hong Wu, an ancient Chinese dance by herself. “I love watching the TV series Empresses in the Palace and admire the courage of the heroine Zhen Huan. I want to be a brave girl. Though my performance on the stage was not so good but the experience was quite interesting,” Gunay added.
Gunay is busy studying, making friends, traveling and taking part in competitions. She often shares what’s going on in her life on WeChat moments. “But what fascinates me most is Chinese food, especially the dishes cooked by my husband like braised spare ribs, braised prawns, hot pot, squid and crabs,” she named them one by one, happily.
Now a direct flight between Baku and Beijing has been opened, cutting the air fare almost by half. Gunay is very happy with this. “More and more Azerbaijanis would like to and can come to China for business and study now and I won’t feel lonely any more. I’m looking forward to a better future in China,” Gunay said with expectation.
Gunay and her university team take part in Fei Chang Xiang Shang, a Chinese TV program. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
Gunay and her husband get their marriage certificate. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
Gunay and her family visit Mount Heng. [Photo provided to Qianlong]