On 16 January 2020, students from Jiangsu Second Normal University (JSSNU, Nanjing, China) who participated in the student exchange programme between their university and Russian New University (RosNOU) were granted course completion certificates.
The programme lasted from 19th September 2019 to 15th January 2020. Before coming to RosNOU, 15 JSSNU students who had been studying the Russian language for one year underwent a selection process at their home institution.
At RosNOU, the curriculum of the JSSNU students included Russian as a Foreign Language (RFL), History of Russia, Russian Literature and Regional Studies of Russia. Apart from that, their Russian Language teacher Marina Y. Antropova arranged for them out-of-class activities such as sightseeing tours and visits to museums. She was assisted by RosNOU’s third-year student Tatyana Podlesnykh and first-year master student Fariza Kendzhayeva.
On completing the course the students passed exams, including a comprehensive exam in RFL which consisted of Vocabulary & Grammar, Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking sections.
Our website editorial staff spoke to the JSSNU students and found out that most of all they liked their teachers, Marina Y. Antropova and Natalia G. Dergunova, convenient schedule and student dormitory with the kitchen where they could cook corn, Chinese pancakes and pig’s trotters. The students also noted the atmosphere of friendliness at RosNOU and amiable Russian students.
RosNOU’s website reporter also interviewed three students from JSSNU and their RFL teacher.
LI WENLI (chosen name ZOYA)
What did you like best about Moscow?
I really liked historical museums of Moscow, Okhotny Ryad, the Pushkinskaya Square, and the Museum of Cosmonautics. We also went skating to two big ice skating rinks in Moscow – at VDNKh (the abbreviation in Russian stands for the Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy*) and the Red Square. We visited the Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve and Kuskovo Estate with their beautiful palaces, the State Tretyakov Gallery; we went to Moscow State University on Open Doors Day and walked around Moscow a lot. Apart from that, our teachers took us to Sergiev Posad where we visited the Toy Museum and the monastery. We saw that Russian architecture is very different from the Chinese one.
What subject was the most interesting to you?
Grammar. This discipline is very difficult but it is an essential one. It is impossible to learn a language without studying its grammar. That is why, despite all the difficulties of Russian grammar, I love this discipline.
Is the Russian language difficult for you?
Yes, very difficult. But I love it because of all the great works of famous Russian writers. Besides, you’ve got a really interesting culture, traditions of celebrating different holidays, especially the New Year. I found it intriguing even before coming to Russia when I was in China.
ZHANG XINYUE (chosen name ADELINA)
What do you like most about Russian people?
I like that Russian people are hardworking and pleasant to socialize with. I find these qualities estimable.
What are you planning to do in the future?
I want to work as a translator of the Russian and Chinese languages.
How did you celebrate the New Year in Russia?
In the evening, we went to the Red Square and then we walked around GUM (the abbreviation in Russian stands for the State Department Store; the store faces the Red Square*). Red Square is very beautiful and there are museums there. Plus, I liked skating. Chinese ice skating rinks are not that large. They are usually in supermarkets and the ice is artificial.
Would you like to come to Russia again?
Yes, I would love to because I really like winter and snow. In China we rarely have snow and it is scarce.
YAO RUISI (chosen name ALINA)
Why did you choose to learn the Russian language?
I’ve been interested in foreign languages since I was a kid. When I entered university I decided to choose a difficult language. I like overcoming difficulties. Russian is more difficult than English and that is why I chose Russian. In China there aren’t many students who study Russian yet, the majority chooses English. At our university, only 30 students in my year study the Russian language.
Have you tried reading Russian writers?
I’ve read Pushkin, Chekhov, Sholokhov and Bulgakov translated to Chinese. By the way, we have been to the Bulgakov Museum in Moscow and it made a big impression on me.
What subject at RosNOU was the most difficult for you?
For me, grammar is a challenge. But I passed the exam for the B1 level very well, I made only one mistake. The exam consisted of the oral section (speaking) and the written section (165 assignments in total).
What are your most vivid memories of Moscow?
We watched the Nutcracker ballet; it was a truly fascinating performance.
Where else would you like to go in Russia?
I really want to go to Saint Petersburg.
What Russian dishes have you tried?
Borsch (a sour red-coloured soup, made with beetroots as one of the main ingredients*), pancakes and pelmeni (Russian ravioli*). Everything was delicious. And we also ate cakes that are popular in Russia – medovik (honey cake*) and napoleon (cake made of thin layers of pastry with custard filling*).
What profession would you like to pursue?
I want to teach the Russian language at a university in China. To do this I need to be diligent and hardworking and I also need to get a master degree.
What did you like at RosNOU?
We had very comfortable living conditions in the student dormitory. Our classrooms were in the same building and in the evenings we cooked dinners in the dormitory’s kitchen. We also had an international celebration of the New Year with other RosNOU students from different countries. At the celebration, we sang a song in Russian called “Ancestral Home”. Apart from that, we participated in a meeting of the literary club “Green Lamp” and cooked our traditional Chinese dishes for the International Cuisine Festival. All these events were interesting and exciting.
How do you celebrate the New Year in China?
In China, the New Year is called the Spring Festival and we celebrate it on different days as it depends on the Lunar calendar. Last year it was on 5th February, this year it’s on 24th January. On this day the Year of the Pig will be over and the Year of the Rat will begin.
Was it easy for you to communicate with Russian students?
At first, it wasn't very easy as our cultures are so different. The Chinese are timider than Russian students. We need to learn how to be more open and socialize with more freedom but I think we’ll manage to do that.
MARINA Y. ANTROPOVA, RFL teacher
The Chinese are ones of the best students. They are very serious and responsible when it comes to studies. They always do all the assignments as they understand that translation is their future profession and they need to be diligent students. The Chinese are very disciplined and it makes my work easier and more efficient. The exam results showed that this exchange programme was a successful one for the students.
The teachers who work with Chinese students need to understand peculiarities of their way of thinking, they need to see when the students understand the material and when they don’t. The Chinese have a totally different culture and language and, consequently, their way of thinking is also different. We have some similarities but we are still different. I think the Russian language can help the Chinese to develop creativity and outside-the-box thinking.
Working with Chinese students is always interesting and we, teachers, constantly learn from them and discover something new.
Interviewed by Elena Zhiludko