Introducing Zhaxi Cuo

Zhaxi is currently attending Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing. A graduate of the Tongren School in Qinghai, Zhaxi did well enough on her college entrance exams to be accepted to this international school far away from her home village. Zhaxi is studying business administration management, but she really wants to become an English teacher at a middle school in Tongren once she graduates. She came to SISU because it is a school known for having excellent teachers for foreign languages, and she wantephotod to study English from the best university possible to help her become a great English teacher one day. Zhaxi just finished her first year at the university, and after taking a four-day English intensive course in early July, she will return home to Tongren for the summer.

We were fortunate to have a one-day layover in Chongqing between visits to our Kangding School and the Mama’s Wish students in Qinghai, so we were happy to meet Zhaxi and take her to lunch earlier today. Zhaxi is already a very good English speaker, and needed very little translation help from Jixian, our China education director. She told me that the first year of college was very difficult for her, because she speaks the Amdo dialect of Tibetan and most of the Tibetan students at this university speak the Kham dialect. It was also difficult for her to make friends, and she was quite lonely during the first few months. I suspect culture shock also contributed to her unease; Chongqing is such a huge city by comparison to her tiny village outside of Tongren. She told me that she prefers living at home, because at home she can look up and see the big blue sky whenever she wants, she can see the grasslands all around her, and she can be with her younger sister and help take care of her.

After a few months, she was able to make friends, and classes became easier for her as she adjusted to the academic rigor of attending such a great university. Now she is happy to be at college, but also looks forward to going home for the summer. Zhaxi is such a brave young woman to move so far away from home, all alone, with no friends or family around her to provide support, yet she has found a way to make it work for her and is happy to be here. I’m so glad that I was able to meet Zhaxi during this trip, and I hope to see her again on my next trip.

Angela