Serbian student discovers China's charm

By Peng Yukai, Cao Xinyue (People's Daily Online) 09:49, May 07, 2024

"I want to know why China is so powerful in the 21st century," said Yovana Marsenic, a Serbian student majoring in international politics at Beijing International Studies University, when asked why she came to China to study Chinese.

Marsenic's affinity with China began in 2017 when she excelled in the entrance examination and enrolled at the University of Belgrade to study Chinese, marking the start of her journey in learning the language.

In 2019, Marsenic had the opportunity to go to Xi'an Jiaotong University for an exchange program. Setting foot in China for the first time, the Serbian student was awestruck by the beauty of the country which felt both strange and familiar. "China is a great country with a long history and fascinating culture, and I can't get enough of it," Marsenic recalled, reminiscing about her experiences visiting famous sites such as the Terracotta Warriors and the Datang Everbright City scenic area in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Although the exchange program lasted only a month, the precious experience planted a seed in Marsenic's heart. After graduating with a master's degree, she decided to travel to China again for an in-depth experience of life in the country.

After arriving in Beijing last year, Marsenic visited cultural monuments like Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall, as she had wished. In addition to historic sites, she also enjoys immersing herself in Beijing's local culture and exploring the city's hutongs – the intricate maze of narrow alleyways and traditional courtyard residences.

"I like the hutongs very much because I can feel the authentic traditional Chinese culture, communicate with the local people, and eat delicious local delicacies," Marsenic said.

Now, eight months into her stay in China, Marsenic has witnessed the dynamism and energy of Chinese society up close. Her Chinese proficiency has soared, complemented by firsthand experiences of life in Beijing. "I think Beijing has a rich history and culture. It is also a very tolerant city, open to all kinds of views and opinions. In addition, the pace in China is also very fast, with the culture and technology constantly evolving," said Marsenic.

In Marsenic's view, China's mobile payment system has brought great convenience to her life. Without carrying a wallet when she goes out, she can easily travel with her mobile phone and a power bank. Her favorite means of transportation is the subway. "The Chinese subway is very convenient and fast, and I don't have to worry about being late or getting stuck in traffic," Marsenic added.

The past eight months have bolstered Marsenic's determination to stay in China. She hopes to continue her studies in professional field and become a friendly envoy between China and Serbia.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Du Mingming)


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