Sisters are stars at Xi'an college
Updated: 2013-09-10 02:01
By Lu Hongyan and Ma Lie in Xi’an (China Daily)
Kazakh sisters Usmanova Kamila Hasanovna and Usmanova Nargiza Hasanovna are star students at Xi'an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi province, where many Central Asian students study.
With encouragement from their mother, who got divorced when they were very young, the two girls joined a famous dance troupe and performed around Kazakhstan. It gave them a sense of independence and a skill. It also taught them discipline, and this served them well when they had to study in a foreign country.
Kazakh sisters Usmanova Kamila Hasanovna (left) and Usmanova Nargiza Hasanovna pick tea leaves in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province. They said they are really interested in Chinese culture.[Provided to China Daily]
"My mother was employed by the local power authority and she also had two part-time jobs in medical firms to try to provide better living conditions for us. Mom's example taught us to be strong and independent," said Kamila, the older sister.
"Although we had a lot of performances, we paid great attention to our studies and got good grades in school," Nargiza said.
When they graduated from senior middle school in 2006, their grandmother suggested to their mother that the girls should quickly marry.
But with memories of her own unhappy marriage still fresh in her mind, the mother insisted on further education.
"My mother told us that China's economy was booming and we would have a future there," Kamila said. The sisters, who could not speak a word of Chinese, came to China to study.
Their first stop was Xi'an Boai International School, a private-invested primary and secondary school established in 1997. The two Kazakh girls studied hard and left a deep impression on their schoolmates and teachers.
In 2009, when they graduated from the school, the teachers of the Institute of International Education under Xi'an Jiaotong University visited the Boai school to promote the university, and the sisters felt encouraged to apply for places there.
"I was surprised when I saw the campus. I thought the university was like a palace and my sister and I knew we would like to go there," Kamila said.
With outstanding academic grades and recommendations from their school, the sisters were enrolled in the university to study Chinese language. Both received full scholarships.
"I thought the campus was so big when I first stepped into the university. It seemed like a town, and I was even afraid of getting lost on campus," Nargiza recalled with a smile.
Despite such doubts, the busy campus life suited the sisters and their dancing skills were very much appreciated.
Lan Xueping, a teacher at the Institute of International Education, said that the sisters are very popular among both teachers and students.
"They study hard and diligently and their dances are excellent and charming, and they are always ready to help others. I like them very much," Lan said.
Now the sisters have been recommended for postgraduate study, which means they will spend another three years on campus.
There are 1,668 foreign students from 70 countries studying in Xi'an Jiaotong University, said Song Yuxia, dean of the university's institute of international education.
The university received its first group of foreign students in 1959 and later established the Institute of International Education to take care of the recruitment, training and management of foreign students.
The university focused on providing undergraduate degrees to foreign students in both Chinese language and business studies, Song said.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org