In Brazil's capital, young weigh what China offers

Updated: 2015-05-19 07:55

By LIA ZHU in Brasilia,Brazil(China Daily USA)

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In Brazil's capital, young weigh what China offers

Joao Casseb (left), Carla Xavier (middle) and Matt Oliveria, all Brazilian university students, pose before a Chinese restaurant in Brasilia. According to Oliveria, a student of the University of Brasilia, Chinese cuisine is popular among the local people, especially the youth. [Photo by LIA ZHU/CHINA DAILY]

From kung fu to acupuncture to Chinese cars and construction, young Brazilians have a lot of observations about China.

To Joao Casseb, an undergraduate student from Cuiaba, the capital city of Mato Grosso state, China is close to his hometown.

"My state is well known as a producer of soya, and China is a major importer," Casseb told China Daily while meeting with a friend at a shopping mall in Brasilia.

"A train is going to be built by China there to connect with Sao Paulo, so more soya could be transported out," he said. "When the construction is completed, the local farmers would be able to pay less for transportation, and China could save cost, too."

"It's a win-win situation," said Casseb, who traveled to Brasilia on Monday to apply for a US visa at the US embassy.In Brazil's capital, young weigh what China offers

He explained that he was going on a government-sponsored exchange program in June.

Casseb said he had hoped to study in China, but his English was not proficient enough to put him in the program, because he would need to spend the first year learning Chinese through English instruction.

Showing photos of a friend who has successfully landed in the Chinese exchange program, Casseb said he would like to study in China after he finishes the program in the US.

"I want to learn China's construction technologies. It's amazing how fast they can build a house," said Casseb, who is majoring in civil engineering.

Upon learning that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang started an official visit to Brazil on Monday with the goal of raising bilateral cooperation in areas such as agriculture and people-to-people exchanges, the student was enthusiastic.

"China is the world's second-largest economy, and Brazil is the largest in Latin America," he said. "It's a good thing to both countries [to cooperate with each other]."

Casseb said he also expected further cultural exchanges between the two countries as he himself has benefited from such exchanges.

"I received the treatment of acupuncture from a local doctor for the acne on my face," he said. "It turned out to be very effective, more effective than the medicines I had tried before."

He said an acupuncture clinic had been in his hometown for some time, and the doctor, a Brazilian, acquired skills in China after years of study.

"I trust the doctor, though I was a little scared of the needles at first," he said.

To Cezar Ferreira, 27, a receptionist at the Royal Tulip Brasília Alvorada, the hotel where the Chinese premier is going to stay in Brasilia, the Chinese culture has long been close to his life.

"I was fascinated with Chinese kung fu as a young boy, and Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan are my favorite stars," he said, adding that he has been practicing wushu for three to four years.

"I will continue practicing," he said. "It's good for my health, too."

As a receptionist at the hotel, Ferreira has witnessed a number of high-level visits by Chinese officials.

He said he believed the distance between China and Brazil was getting closer.

"Chinese automaker Chery has established a factory in Jacarei, and Jac Motors [a Chinese automaker] is going to build another one in Sao Paulo," Ferreira said.

"I love Chinese cars," he said. "They are cheap, but you have all the functions that expensive cars have," he said, adding that his mother bought a Chery QQ on his recommendation.

To bring Brazilian youth and young people from other countries closer, Casseb and his friend Matt Oliveira, a sophomore at the University of Brasilia, are working with a non-profit organization called AIESEC, which helps young people visit other countries through social programs.

"Sometimes we meet with such problems as visa issues, which prevent Chinese students from coming over to participate in our programs," said Oliveira, who works with the Brasilia branch of the organization.

"But I think we can ultimately address those problems through communications and improving relations between the two countries," he said. "We are encouraged by the visit of the Chinese premier."