I met Go Chin Ciang in the gala concert of the “Fest–ART.by” festival of foreign students studying at Belarusian higher education institutions.
Together with his compatriots, 4-year students of the Philological Faculty of BSU, he came to support his friend Yin Tziaweng who had been selected by an exacting jury from among more than 2,000 contenders. There were just a couple of minutes left before the concert, but still we managed to talk about the studies and the future and about the Russian language that is both very difficult and very interesting to Go Chin Ciang. “You speak so fluently!” I could hardly withhold a compliment. Go Chin Ciang joked in reply, “This is because I little slept and little went out, when in my first years”.
All in all, more than 5,000 foreign students from 69 countries study at the Belarusian higher education institutions. And the Philological Faculty is one of the three faculties that have been enjoying the greatest popularity among the future foreign specialists.
Together with the coordinator of work with the foreign students Yulia Kurovskaya we are thumbing the lists of foreign students: Poles, Serbs, Germans, Spaniards, Italians, Iranians, and Czechs — for them and for many others the Philological Faculty has become their alma mater. And it is not only Russian that they study here, but Belarusian as well. Dan, from America, has been studying Belarusian here and he can already speak the language better than most people who were born in Minsk. And the girl form China ye Yungmay has been heroically trying to master Czech philology, while a number of subjects at this department are taught only in Belarusian!
The alumni of the Philological Faculty face no problems when looking for an occupational job in their native country. Many of them work in the system of the Ministry of Education in China, Vietnam. By the way, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China in the Republic of Belarus, Mr Wu Hongbin, once was one of the first to come to Belarus for a linguistic internship. The special honour of the faculty is the doctoral students Lee Tzing who combines her studies with a prestigious job, and Veih Veih, the owner of the famous restaurant “Peking Duck”. Professor of the Department of Applied Linguistics, Vladimir Karpov, gratefully recalls a Chinese MA student Van Daogh who had mastered the Russian language so well that he managed to find three inaccuracies in his teacher’s monograph “Language as a System”. “I am proud that I am studying in Minsk, at BSU, at the Philological Faculty“, says ciang Zhangsiang, a third-year student. “This is our second homeland. I am not yet sure about what I am going to do next — whether I will go back home and become an interpreter, or I will stay here to continue my studies. But I am sure that, thanks to my excellent professors, my future will be connected with the Russian language”.
“Yes, foreign students have to pay for their education, but one shouldn’t think that money is everything. The most important for us are the prestige of the faculty and quality of knowledge that our diploma guarantees”, stressed Vice-dean on Science and International Cooperation, Pavel Navoichik. “We have severe requirements and a lot of assignment. Dean of the Philological Faculty, Ivan Rovdo, is not apt to overpraise students. “In every group and in every branch there are excellent students, good students and mediocre ones, there are those who stew over books and those who have academic debts”, says Ivan Semyonovich. “However, I should admit that I am pleased with the foreign students. More than that, for my long-term practice I cannot remember a single instance of dissatisfaction with the educational process — everyone has been pleased. The University, in its turn, does its best to create worthy conditions for our country’s guests.
We have renovated some dormitories and we try to lodge our foreign students, especially interns, there. I believe that in the short run the number of the enrolled foreign students will increase even more. First of all, because the Belarusian diploma is valued high. There is a chain tendency: one comes after another, a brother comes after his sister, a boyfriend comes after his girlfriend. And after the visit paid by our President to China, one can be sure that cooperation with this country will enhance in all the spheres of economy, there will be a higher demand for Russian-speaking specialists in China and Chinese-speaking specialists in Belarus.
Theoretically, we could enrol twice as many foreign students as we do now. In practice, however, there are not enough rooms in dorms and not enough classrooms. But with the help of the government we hope to solve all these problems in the nearest future”. This is good news for foreign students who want to study in Belarus. As well as for the country in general. Because its image and its authority are promoted by every specialist who has learnt here to appreciate Chekhov and Kupala and who will pass to his compatriots, as the baton, his love to Slavonic culture.