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[2017 Fall International Students' Orientation] Zhao Zheng: Study in Yanyuan, A Worthwhile Trip

SEP . 26 2017

Peking University, Sept. 8. 2017: More than 1,500 international students came to Yanyuan in 2017 fall. On Sept. 1 and 2, excited freshmen, enthusiastic volunteers and students from International Student Association together formed a warm and vibrant scene. The new series of orientation of international students will be presented in a story-telling way to show all aspects of the new welcoming activities for overseas students.

My name is Zhao Zheng, the 'Zheng' of 'Zheng Rong Sui Yue'.

My name is Zhao Zheng, the ‘Zheng’ of ‘Zheng Rong Sui Yue’. With a pair of bright blue eyes, thick but tidy beards, the cheerful and friendly Australian boy surprised everyone with this self-introduction, which not only showed his Chinese language proficiency, but also his love of Chinese culture. "My previous Chinese name is Ya Li Shan Da, translated directly from my English name, but I want an authentic Chinese name, so my Chinese friend gave me this name.”

Zhao Zheng at orientation sessions

Zhao Zheng grew up in Canberra. He learned politics at University of Melbourne and also had a minor degree of Chinese language. After graduating from university, he successfully received ae scholarship from the Chinese government. He has learned Chinese in PKU for one year as a non-degree student. Now he has been admitted to the School of International Studies for master’s degree and will start his study this fall. Among the reasons why he came to China to study, he considered language learning an important factor. "I had studied Chinese for three years before I came to Beijing. I would forget it in the future if I give up learning it now, so I’ll stay in China for a couple of years to really master the language.”

Give Himself a Challenge

The influence of the outside world and his individual interest are also factors that Zhao Zheng started to learn Chinese. He mentioned that the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had made great efforts to support all Australians to learn another Asian language, "because Rudd felt that the 21st century is the world of Asia and that and Australians should actively integrate into this new world." China is one of the major Asian countries and one of Australia's largest trading partners. Also, the Chinese community in Australia has been increasingly expanding. China has growing influence in Australia, several close friends of Zhao Zheng are all learning Chinese. In addition, Zhao Zheng has a great interest in learning the language. Before he started to learn Chinese, he had learnt French and reached a fairly good level. "I think college presents fairly good opportunity to learn another language, so I decided to give myself a challenge."

And this is indeed a more challenging task. For Zhao Zheng, Chinese is more difficult to learn than French. "There is only one aspect easier than French, the Chinese grammar is relatively simple. Chinese has no tense changes. For example, the word ‘le’ indicates past tense, and ‘hui’ shows future tense, while learning European languages requires memorizing many grammar rules of different tenses. Despite the relatively simple grammar, Chinese is very difficult to learn, especially the pronunciation and spelling.” But after hard working and continuous training, now his daily Chinese communication is clear and he is capable of using various words and phrases. 
He has overcome the challenge.

Zhao Zheng climbing Fenghuang Mountain in Beijing

From Nanjing to Beijing

During the undergraduate period, Zhao Zheng participated in an exchange project at Nanjing University for a year, which was the first time he came to China. As the University of Melbourne's Chinese Department merely provided basic language learning courses, he did not know much about the development of Chinese history and culture. Besides, many Australia's medias tend to portray China as a relatively backward developing country. Zhao Zheng was very surprised the first time he set foot on the land of China.  "I did not expect China to be such a developed country," he still remembers the shock he felt about China, "your big cities are even better than our big cities!” While aware of the development of China, Zhao Zheng is also keen to observe China's social conditions. "I think Australia is more equal, but if you go to rural areas in China, you will find people’s way of life tremendously different from that in cities. I think this is a very difficult problem facing China.”

From Nanjing to Beijing, Zhao Zheng has gained increasing understanding and has developed his love for China. While in Nanjing, he was enchanted by the local scenery. “Nanjing has landscapes such as Xuanwu Lake, Purple Mountain. The Ancient City Wall is also very good and interesting with its long history.” Recalling the time in Nanjing, Zhao Zheng become more exciting, his crystal blue eyes become more shining. Now studying at Peking University, he has a new opportunity to experience traditional Chinese culture. His favorite site is the Great Wall. In this summer, he hiked the Wild Great Wall from Jiankou to Mutianyu.  Some precarious areas in the Wild Great Wall brought him a kind of adventurous excitement.

Zhao Zheng on terraces in Yuanyang, Yunnan Province

Zhao Zheng has set foot on more than these two cities. The steep Huashan, the peculiar Fujian Tulou, and the ancient quiet Old Town of Dali all amazed him. A word frequently appears in his Moments frequently is “Bu Xu Ci Xing”, which means “a worthwhile trip”.

Written by: 
Lu Linlin 
Edited by: Wang Yuqing
Source: PKU News (Chinese)