Dengshi Bihe attends the graduation ceremony at Beijing Language and Culture University in 2012. [Photo by courtesy of Dengshi Bihe/Qianlong]
In May, with the approaching of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Dengshi Bihe led Vietnamese students in Beijing to prepare for the visiting of Vietnamese leaders. The day quickly passed by from sunrise to sunset as she learned reception etiquettes, prepared for work reports and communicated with the embassy and Vietnamese students. When the bustling campus became quiet at night, Dengshi Bihe felt that her own day just began and she had to read literature and write papers during this time so as to receive her doctor’s degree as soon as possible.
At 3:00, Dengshi Bihe was finally ready to fall asleep. However, she would be busy for another day after five hours.
At present, Dengshi Bihe has been able to calmly cope with all of these things, but not in 2009. At that time, Dengshi Bihe came to Beijing for the first time and she studied at Beijing Language and Culture University for the master’s degree. “I carried my luggage to walk in the campus from the south gate on my own and I didn’t know anyone. I was arranged to live in the No. 8 dormitory, but I couldn’t find the dormitory after walking around several times. So I called home and I cried on the phone…”
With intense studies and serious teachers, Dengshi Bihe dared not relax for a moment. She seldom contacted with the outside world except participating in the activities for international students in the school. However, on the eve of graduation, “My tutor repeatedly advised us that our dialect accent should not be too heavy and we should wear formally and have a correct attitude when we are interviewed for a job. I felt that he is like my father.”
After returning to Vietnam, she missed Beijing and the campus of Beijing Language and Culture University more and more. But at that time she had worked as a Chinese teacher in a university and had her own family with two lovely twin daughters. “I have to go on to pursue a doctor degree if I want to return to Beijing.”
Dengshi Bihe (5th right, first row) leads the Vietnamese student union in Beijing to hold a charity activity in Vietnam, January 17, 2017. [Photo by courtesy of Dengshi Bihe/Qianlong]
In 2015, she finally came back to Beijing.
When Dengshi Bihe entered the south gate of the Beijing Language and Culture University again, two young men hurried up to help her when they happened to pass by and saw she carried luggage alone. “Suddenly there was a feeling of coming home,” she recalled with happiness in her eyes.
Missing her daughters in Vietnam, Dengshi Bihe wanted to graduate as soon as possible, so she was under great academic pressure. But this time, she did not give up the opportunity to contact with the outside world. She found a part-time job serving for international students in the school, and she was also engaged in establishing the Vietnamese student union in Beijing and served as chairwoman.
All good things come to an end. Now the second doctoral year is close to the end as time flies. Dengshi Bihe begins to worry that she will not stop missing Beijing back in Vietnam.
“I don’t know why, but I just feel here like a home. I cannot have the chance to stay here for a long time anymore, so how can I come back here next time?”
Speaking of this, Dengshi Bihe suddenly raised her voice and said, “Maybe I can come back as a parent! After 10 years when my daughters grow up, I will send them to study at Beijing Language and Culture University if they like. Then I can have a reason to come back here again!”
Dengshi Bihe (2nd right, second row) and Vietnamese students in Beijing take part in the international cultural festival at Beijing Language and Culture University, May 21, 2017. [Photo by courtesy of Dengshi Bihe/Qianlong]