ISU student considers the time spent on her language internship in China the best time of her life
4 August 2023

A language internship in China of a student of the ISU Faculty of Foreign Languages Sofia Alekseyuk has ended: from March to July 2023, she was in Changchun, the host university – Northeast Normal University (PRC).

Sofia is a 4th year student at the ISU Institute of Philology, Foreign Languages and Media Communication, educational program “Linguistics”, major “Linguistic support of complex regional analysis”. The student got the internship at the Chinese university after preliminary online testing, where she showed a good result, thus entering the high language level group.

At the Northeast Normal University Sofia studied three required subjects (figurative expressions, general and colloquial language) and chose five additional subjects: Chinese films, calligraphy, neologisms, business Chinese, 5HSK vocabulary. The student notes that it is not difficult to study in general, but you need to be able to juggle several things at the same time, since you need to do tasks sent from ISU, besides that you also need to be prepared for the awkward situations caused by the language barrier.

Sofia Alexeyuk about her stay in China and studying at a Chinese university:

“I consider this only five-months-long trip to be the best time of my life. Before the internship, I was worrying about everything – I was afraid that I would not be able to adapt, I was afraid of the journey itself, since I had never traveled by airplanes before and had not been abroad, I was afraid that I would not understand the Chinese speech. It was only later that I realized one simple thing – I studied Chinese language, culture, economics, geography and law for 3 years, I can't give up halfway. I went to China ready for surprises and difficulties, but on the advice of one of my dear and beloved teachers, with an open heart and soul.

In 5 months I changed my approach to study and rest completely, I could sleep for 2-3 hours a day because of the homework and preparation of the graduation thesis, but every morning I got up with the thought that I should take everything I can from this trip. In China, I met a lot of people from different countries – some only spoke English, some only Chinese, but that's the beauty of foreign internships – regardless of the language, you will always understand each other if you want to.

During the holidays we found time to travel – we visited Harbin and Beijing. I could not even dream of going to the capital of China before – I saw this city only in a textbook picture and read about it in a text. The Great Wall of China, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen, the Summer Palace – I've seen it all with my own eyes, and I still can’t believe it.

It's not difficult to study in China, the main thing is to understand what kind of load you can handle. Thanks to the additional subjects, I have learned so much information that I can now watch Chinese movies, practice calligraphy and learn the 5HSK words at the same time. Going to a Chinese university means not only studying, but also always receiving positive energy, emotions and feedback from teachers and classmates. Teachers are always ready to help, from homework questions to planning a trip, many have given their contacts in case their advice is needed in the future. Very often they treated us to various Chinese sweets or advised us on traditional dishes that are a must-try in China.

After passing the exams, it's already difficult to think about anything other than returning to your homeland – no matter how much you miss your relatives or your cat, you want to come home, relax, see your friends, and even just hear Russian speech. It was naïve of me to think that I didn't know how to miss Russian water or tvorog so much, but in the end I gave in. When I returned home, two personalities were fighting in me – one could no longer live without adventures, without China and without Chinese friends, and the other wanted to finally return to my native lands and to my dear university.

Going forward there is only the persistent preparation for the exams and a whole life, which I can no longer imagine without China, which has become so dear.”