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How We Met at PKU: From Perú to Colombia

APR . 27 2021
Editor's Note: Peking University offers a unique international campus environment for students of all nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds to pursue their passions and interests, welcoming students from all walks of life across the globe, as we gather here at Yanyuan, sharing the same PKU identity.

"How We Met at PKU" is an interview series showcasing the close-knitted bonds formed by various Pekingers across geographical borders at PKU, documenting these peculiar cross-cultural friendships formed into our shared PKU Family memory journal.

We welcome all current Pekingers and alumni to submit your stories at the end of this article.


Peking University, April 27, 2021: Cinthya Vanessa Garcia Rojas (辛美芳 Perú) is currently studying in School of Chinese Language and Literature at Peking University taking Chinese as a Second Language while Juan David Nieto Robayo (倪俊杰 Colombia), is taking his Master of Public Administration at the School of Government in Peking University.


The Perfect Symphony

Vanessa and David first met at one of the booths during the annual Student Association Recruitment Festival at Peking University. David was one of the representatives managing the booth for Youth Association of Foreign Affairs (YAFA) where Vanessa stopped by to ask for more information. It was then where the duo realized they were both Latin, and started communicating in Spanish, and eventually added each other on WeChat.


Vanessa performing on stage for Peking University's International Culture Festival

Nonetheless, it was not until the duo realized their common passion for singing, that they began working closely with each other and eventually blossomed their friendship.

Transcending Cultures - A World Without Borders

With great enthusiasm, the two quickly delved into hectic preparations for the upcoming stage performance at the International Culture Festival, and Vanessa's final round of competition at Peking University's Top 10 International Students Singing Competition. Though they did not know each other for long, the connection makes the friendship seems like eternity.



David and Vanessa singing together for PKU's Top 10 International Students Singing Competition

“We had a lot of big memories of singing and partying together. But one thing I always remember in my heart is when every time we came back from rehearsing in PKU, he would ride his bike and we would go together back to Global Village, singing songs, talking, and having a good time. Those little moments feel so special to me.” Said Vanessa.

The duo sang and danced "Vivir lo nuestro" by Marc Anthony and La India at the 2019 PKU's  International Culture Festival and "Hoy tengo ganas de tí" by Alejandro Fernandez & Christina Aguilera at the Top 10 International Students Singing Competition. The two was then invited to also perform at PKU's 2020 New Year's Party where they convened with "你不知道的事" by Wang Leehom.


David (second from left) and Vanessa (middle) with other performers at PKU 2020 New Year's Party

Vanessa said she "will never forget the first time I saw the snow. David told me to go downstairs because it was the first snow of the year. We spent a couple of hours trying to make snowmen and playing with the snow.”

When asked what was the biggest challenge they overcame together, the two chuckled and replied "We didn't really have any challenges. If there is, it will probably be thinking about what to eat for Christmas or what to cook together?"

"Our friendship is very calm, we haven't had any fights or arguments. One day, I was feeling really uneasy about a personal issue. I went to David's room to talk to him about the problem… I could not stop crying but he peacefully calmed my heart with a prayer together." David is like the big brother I never had. He was always there for me, he gave me really good life advice, and we shared our experiences with each other. When I was around him, I felt truly protected." David also mentioned how Vanessa is a really special girl who is always nice and humble, and someone with whom he has shared several of the best moments in Beijing and with whom he hopes to continue to have a beautiful friendship.


Vanessa in Beijing


The two have always wanted to travel around China with each other, and visit some places together in Beijing. Unfortunately, the duo had to return to their own countries when the pandemic hit. Regardless, they are always hopeful to reunite in Beijing to complete this plan of theirs.

Last but not least

Vanessa's word for David: "I appreciate our friendship very much. He has a lot of interesting plans and I'm so sure that he will accomplish his goals. That he has a big heart and dedication for what he's passionate about. It's about following one's heart and not getting influenced by external factors."

And, David wants to tell Vanessa that "to think big about her future, to continue being the strong and intelligent woman she is, to have fun and enjoy the process of life, and to come visit me wherever I am in the world."

No borders, Just Horizons.

Share with us the amazing friendship between you and your close international friend(s)!

Writer: Goh Chia Chia
Contributors: Cinthya Vanessa Garcia Rojas and Juan David Nieto Robay
Editor: Pu Hairui
Source: P
KU Wechat Platform