Anna: A Polish girl charmed by Chinese culture

By Lin Jianing / HICN / Updated: 17:39,01-July-2021

On a sunny day in June, a dark eyed blond haired beauty wearing a red Chinese Hanfu, and holding an oiled paper parasol, emerged gracefully from Haikou's Five Officials' Temple. Anna is a Gen-Z university student from Poland. A design student in her home country, she had a strong interest in Chinese culture and—three years ago—moved here to learn the language and more about the culture. After two academic years spent respectively in Shanghai and Wuhan, Anna made the decision to enroll full time as an undergraduate at a Chinese university as she felt this would give her the opportunity to systematically learn Chinese in a more rigorous environment.  

(Photo by HICN)

Applying last year for a government scholarship, she moved to Haikou and began studying at Hainan University. From the minute she first stepped off the airplane, Anna had already begun to fall in love with the tropical island's climate. "My hometown in Poland is much colder, and very dry. Nothing at all like Hainan. Hainan is very humid." Anna was particularly attracted by Hainan's 'island style' and, whenever she wasn't busy with schoolwork, she'd head off to the beach for a swim in the ocean and a romantic 'date' with the tropics. 

(Photo by HICN)

 "Traditional Chinese culture is both broad and deep. As Confucius said, 'the things which one can be educated in are without limit', which—given that it comes from an ancient philosopher—is a suprisingly modern idea," said Anna. Anna is able to fluently recite a number of pithy quotes from the Analects including: "三人行,必有我师焉" (Whenever three people are together, there is always one person the other two can learn from). Anna said that, during her high school days, she had a teacher who often talked about ancient Chinese philosophy in class and that these lectures were one of the many flames that ignited her enthusiasm for exploring Chinese culture. Other than these, Anna is also very interested in Chinese food culture. For example, Chinese restaurants are different from European ones in that the tables are often round and tend to feature a rotating lazy Susan at the center. Allowing everyone the opportunity to conveniently and easily try every dish on the table, these round tables also show that—in Chinese culture—everyone at the dinner table is equal. 

(Photo by HICN)

"For many foreigners, learning Chinese is very difficult. The grammar and the writing rules are particularly hard. However, my teachers encouragement is enough to help me perserve." Sighing, Anna stated that the harder things are, the greater the sense of accomplishment one has when achieving mastery. According to her, perseverance is the most important thing she learned in the process of studying Chinese.

(Photo by HICN)

In Anna's eyes, the construction of Hainan as a Free Trade Port is a very good opportunity for foreigners, and foreign companies. The new policies and benefits available for people coming to Hainan are able to provide many employment opportunities. Anna's home country of Poland has many famous poets and poems, however, the translations of these into other languages do not manage to carry their essence across. As a result, she hopes that the next three years of studying Chinese in Hainan, along with the construction of Hainan as a Free Trade Port, will allow her to become a messenger of cultural exchange between China and Poland. 


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