Ateneo Confucius Institute Scholarship Student: Trizha Ko

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1. How did you know about the CI scholarship?
Trizha: I was introduced to it when I took a class in CI. I expressed to my teacher how interested I am in studying Mandarin in China, and she told me that the CI does offer scholarships.

2. Why did you choose to apply for the CI scholarship?
Trizha: My Mandarin teacher recommended me the CI scholarship.

3. What type of CI scholarship did you apply?
Trizha: I applied for the one-year language study together with my sister.

4. Was the process for CI scholarship easy? If not, what were some difficulties?
Trizha: The application process is only a little tedious, but can be easily done. It is a six-step process online in Chinese, wherein the most challenging part is you have to write a 300 character essay about your Chinese educational background and your purpose for wanting to study in China.

Trizha: P.S. you need to pass both HSK3 and HSKK basic in order to qualify for the one-year study program.

5. Which school did you apply to? Where is it specifically located? How long did you stay? From when until when? How was your stay in that school?
Trizha: At first, my choices were Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and Fudan University, but I got assigned to Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan. I am currently still on the program since I started Sept 2015, and will end on April 2016.

Trizha: Actually, I like the school that I am in because the campus is nice and the environment is clean and fresh which is contrary to Wuhan’s smoggy atmosphere. The school also has a lot of flora and fauna which made it become known as the “Forest University”. Furthermore, the commute to and from the school is quite convenient as well.

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6. Can you describe your learning experience from studying in China?
Trizha: If you’re lucky, you will be classmates with people who can’t speak English, which means you are forced to practice Chinese more. The teachers are excellent and they really speak in full Chinese. They seldom use English to explain something to us.

Trizha: To add to our learning, we were introduced to a tutoring program by a student organization, Students’ International Communication Association (SICA), where fellow students help you with Chinese for free. In fact, since many Chinese students here speak proficient English, they are able to communicate with us conveniently and teach us without any language barrier.

7. Apart from the studying, what other experiences can you share to us?
Trizha: Apart from the studying, I enjoy meeting people from different cultural backgrounds. In our class, we have Americans, Spanish, Ukranians, French, Koreans and Africans (Côte d’Ivoire & Madagascar), whom we became friends with as well.

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8. Can you highlight your most unforgettable experience during your scholarship in China?
Trizha: Maybe the first day I arrived in China since there were some adjustments and problems with our dormitory. It was a bit rough at first.

9. What were your major challenges during your stay in China?
Trizha: The odd thing about China is that, when it comes to the language, tones are usually taught to be followed, but a lot of Chinese people actually don’t pronounce the right tones, depending on the region. So at the beginning, it was really a struggle to understand what the locals were saying. Though after listening to a lot of records and podcasts, I was able to pick up the common speech patterns, and then things eventually got easier. Furthermore, speaking is also something that I still need to work on, and I guess finding a language partner might be a good way to improve my speaking skills.

10. How did the CI scholarship affect you in your life?
Trizha: Despite the fact that I come from a traditional Filipino-Chinese background, a lot of Chinese traditions, attitudes, behaviors and social concepts are completely alien to me. Also, as a student from Manila, I have always been fed information from the Western perspective, and it feels as if this made my worldview somehow skewed and narrow. Perhaps this ironic circumstance is unique to our country–the most Westernized of all Asian countries.

Trizha: Right now, I find myself delighted that I am slowly able to read Chinese texts. I’m continuously seeking out for ways to broaden my understanding of things.

11. What advice will you give to those who are also interested in the CI scholarship?
Trizha: It is a life-changing experience so grab the opportunity, you have got nothing to lose.

(More pictures below)

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Ateneo Confucius Institute Scholarship Alumni: Alfred de Jesus

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  1. How did you know about the CI scholarship?

Alfred: I just finished a year of classes at the Confucius Institute here in Manila when they announced that they were giving away scholarship to China. That’s when I knew.

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for the CI scholarship?

Alfred: I originally intended to apply for the Taiwanese scholarship, but it was canceled that year due to tensions between Manila and Taipei. My CI teacher suggested that I try the Confucius Institute Scholarship as well.

 

  1. What type of CI scholarship did you apply?

Alfred: I only had HSK 2 and HSKK Beginner during that time so I was only eligible for the one semester scholarship.

 

  1. Was the process for CI scholarship easy? If not, what were some difficulties?

Alfred: It was easy in the sense that I was assisted by the Confucius Institute every step of the way, from accomplishing the form online, choosing the university I wanted, and providing backup in terms of the other documents needed.

 

  1. Which school did you apply to? Where is it specifically located? How long did you stay? From when until when? How was your stay in that school?

Alfred: I wanted to apply in universities in Beijing and Shanghai but I thought competition would be quite stiff so I chose Xinjiang and Xiamen. I eventually ended up at Xiamen University. Despite my scholarship being only for one semester, I extended and stayed there for one whole year. Although I wanted to be in the main campus because I heard that it was a beautiful campus, I, together with my other classmates were transferred to the other campus of Xiamen University, which was quite far from the main campus. However, the good thing about it is that everything was cheap, so I was able to live comfortably with the monthly stipend provided.

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  1. Can you describe your learning experience from studying in China?

Alfred: I think classroom learning is the same everywhere you go. It varies depending on the teacher and his or her teaching style. However, I think it is the experience of studying in China as a whole that matters. Being able to use Mandarin on a daily basis and not just in the classroom really helped me speak in a more natural manner instead of just relying on the classroom experience.

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  1. Apart from the studying, what other experiences can you share to us?

Alfred: Studying aside, my social life was also very active when I was in Xiamen. Meeting students from different parts of the world has helped improve my worldview. There were also lots of fun activities hosted by the university as well as those organized by ourselves such as weekly KTV.

 

  1. Can you highlight your most unforgettable experience during your scholarship in China?

Alfred: Aside from the improvement in my spoken Mandarin skills, I think the best experience would be meeting my group of friends from different countries, and the fact that we still communicate and meet when we can long after our China stint ended.

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  1. What were your major challenges during your stay in China?

Alfred: What they say in textbooks about waking up and going to class really early is not a joke. I found this really difficult because I am not a morning person, but as they say, When in Rome, do as the Romans do. There are also challenges outside the classroom in terms of accent, given how Fujian has its own set of local Chinese languages not at all similar to Mandarin. Most of it were isolated cases, though, because almost everyone, especially the younger generation spoke good Mandarin.

 

  1. How did the CI scholarship affect you in your life?

Alfred: It was my first scholarship experience and I never really thought of studying in China before. Suffice it to say that it was a good opportunity to get to know China better and correct some misconceptions. It also encouraged me to do more in-country learning when it comes to languages because nothing beats the experience of living the language instead of just learning it.

 

  1. What advice will you give to those who are also interested in the CI scholarship?

Alfred: My advice would be, don’t be intimidated to apply for it. You may have some apprehensions, but believe me, as a language student, obtaining this scholarship is one of the best experiences you’ll ever have because you will be able to experience China firsthand, and no matter who you ask, there’s really nothing like China.

Ateneo Confucius Institute Scholarship Student: Jessica Ko

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  1. How did you know about the CI scholarship?

Jessica: My sister and I were studying at the Ateneo Confucius Institute when we asked our teacher if she knew of any scholarship programs for studying in China. She told us about the CI scholarship and encouraged us to apply though the school.

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for the CI scholarship?

Jessica: Aside from the CI scholarship mentioned by my teacher, I did not know of any other scholarship program at the time. When I knew about it, I thought that it was a good opportunity and immediately applied for it without any hesitation.

 

  1. What type of CI scholarship did you apply?

Jessica: I applied for the 1 year language scholarship program (semester starting September).

 

  1. Was the process for CI scholarship easy? If not, what were some difficulties?

Jessica: Completing the application was fairly easy. You just need to fill up the form, complete the requirements and write an essay about your purpose of studying in China. Aside from this, you also need to pass the corresponding HSK/HSKK exams (depending on which scholarship you want to apply for). The school was really helpful and provided assistance all throughout the application process so I did not really encounter any difficulty applying for the scholarship. However, it took quite a while before I was notified of the result/status of my application.

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  1. Which school did you apply to? Where is it specifically located? How long did you stay? From when until when? How was your stay in that school?

Jessica: I originally chose to go to a university in Beijing or Shanghai, but CI assigned for me to go to Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) located in Wuhan, Hubei Province. Wuhan is one of the fastest developing cities in China and is considered the “Chicago of China” because of its vast and accessible transportation system. I’ve only been here for a few months, but overall, I feel that HUST is a great university to study in as it is one of the top universities in China. The environment of the university is good too—the streets are lined with trees and the area is less polluted compared to other cities like Beijing. Transportation is very convenient, and the cost of living is lower than that of other developed cities. There are also several supermarkets, banks, restaurants, hospitals, and shopping areas inside and near our university. Our teachers are all competent and excellent, and the classrooms are well-equipped. Our school’s International Student Office and a lot of English-speaking student volunteers offer assistance whenever needed and they regularly organize activities to make student life more interesting.

 

  1. Can you describe your learning experience from studying in China?

Jessica: For me, coming to China to study is a really great way to quickly and effectively learn Chinese. In class, all of our teachers teach us in Chinese; they rarely speak in English. Apart from the usual classroom setup, we also have cultural activities where we learn Chinese calligraphy, how to make dumplings, Chinese knots, etc. Since everyone here speaks Chinese, I am able to get more practice compared to when I was studying the language back home. I literally learn something new every day.

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  1. Apart from the studying, what other experiences can you share to us?

Jessica: Apart from studying, my friends and I go around the city or to other provinces to visit tourist spots. Traveling in China is really convenient, you can easily go to places or other provinces just by taking the bus, subway or the train. When we have free time, we also explore the city in search of good Chinese food.

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  1. Can you highlight your most unforgettable experience during your scholarship in China?

Jessica: My first week in China was quite memorable. My sister and I arrived during registration week and it was chaotic. Going through the registration process, getting our dorm rooms, figuring out which way to go and not getting lost, having to talk to people who can only speak Chinese—everything was a struggle. Adapting to the environment took quite a while because of a lot of things that I am not used to, for example, Wuhan’s extremely spicy food or being in an unfamiliar place. But coming here and being able to learn a lot is definitely worth the initial hardship. Now, I really enjoy being in China.

 

  1. What were your major challenges during your stay in China?

Jessica: So far, the biggest challenge for me is conversing with Chinese people. I have a hard time understanding what people are saying, not only because they speak really fast, but because a lot of them have different ways of pronouncing words. I feel that even if they are speaking the same language, some people sound different from others. Talking to them and making them understand me is another challenge. However, comparing my level now from when I first got here, I think I have improved a lot.

 

  1. How did the CI scholarship affect you in your life?

Jessica: If not for the scholarship, I don’t think I would be here in China right now. CI provided a good opportunity for me to learn Chinese and at the same time enjoy life in China. My tuition and accommodation expenses were all shouldered by CI. I even get a monthly living allowance and they also provide medical insurance in case you get sick and need to go to the hospital.

 

  1. What advice will you give to those who are also interested in the CI scholarship?

Jessica: My advice is to go for it. Coming to China to study allowed me to greatly and quickly improve my Chinese and at the same time, learn about Chinese culture. Apart from that, I also got to meet a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds, make new friends, experience living in a foreign country and learn to do things on my own. It’s a really valuable experience.

Application for Confucius Institute Scholarship 2015 is still open!! Hurry and apply now!!

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The Confucius Institute Scholarships are offered to deserving Chinese Language students and promising Chinese language teachers in the Philippines study opportunities in China.

Available Scholarships:
• Master’s Degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (MTCSOL),
• Chinese Language One Academic Year + MTCSOL
• Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (BTCSOL),
• One Academic Year Study
• One Semester Study
• Four Weeks Study
Scholarship Coverage
• Registration and tuition fees
• Monthly Living Allowance (CNY 2,500 for non-Masters; CNY 3,000 for Masters degree students)
• Campus accommodation
• Comprehensive medical insurance

To apply, visit this website: http://scholarships.ateneoconfucius.com

Application Deadline is on 10 May 2015