Young Indian prepares for doctoral degree study in China

By Xu Xiaoxuan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 22, 2021
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Santan Sharma (L), in traditional Han-style clothing, holds a red piece of paper with the Chinese characters "India, China," which he wrote using a traditional brush in Northwest Normal University of Lanzhou, capital of China's Gansu province, July 2019. [Photo provided by Santan]

Planning to pursue a doctoral degree in China

Santan Sharma, a 24-year-old from India's eastern state of Bihar, majored in Chinese language and literature and obtained his master's degree from Central University of Gujarat, after graduating with a bachelor's degree from Sikkim University in India. 

"It is quite evident that to master a language and the history of a place, the best choice is to get yourself into the local surroundings with native people," Santan said when talking about his decision to come to China for further study.

"I'm thinking about universities in Beijing and Sichuan province, and plan to major in either Chinese language and literature or Chinese history," Santan added. After studying Chinese history and civilization, he said he is increasingly warming to it too. 

Santan had applied for China Scholarship Council (CSC) grants but was unsuccessful in receiving one since a recommendation letter from a Chinese university professor – a necessity for some applications – is hard to get. However, he didn't give up by mailing universities of other provinces to inquire about their admission policies.

Previous visit to China

Santan has been to China before. In July 2019, he came to the country as part of a youth exchange program supported by the Chinese and Indian governments. During the eight-day trip, Santan visited Beijing and the cities of Lanzhou and Dunhuang in northwest China's Gansu province, where he got firsthand experience of various cultural facets of the country. China's high technologies, green development, traditional culture, places of interest such as the Palace Museum and Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, and delectable food like Peking roast duck and Lanzhou beef noodles, all served great treats for Santan. 

"The eight-day visit to China was one of the best moments of my life. I was able to appreciate the lovely scenery, explore small shops, taste yummy food, and improve my Chinese proficiency at that time," recalled Santan.

With that being said, what was most unforgettable for Santan were the friendly Chinese people he had met. It was nearly midnight in Beijing when he and his Indian friend, also a member of the program, couldn't find a taxi back to the hotel and the subway was closed after they had visited the Olympic Park. Then, there came a traffic policeman who booked a cab for them. "He also paid for us and said ‘you are guests of China' in Chinese – what a beautiful line!" 

A student teaches Santan how to write Chinese characters with a traditional brush in Northwest Normal University in Lanzhou, capital of China's Gansu province, July 2019. [Photo provided by Santan]

In addition to his love for the Chinese language and literature, Santan is learning the language to hopefully aid his career too. "Chinese proficiency can give me an advantage in my future job hunting. Besides, I want to help my father with his business by means of my language skills." 

Back at home, Santan's father runs a small firm producing looms, which Santan is considering expanding. "I plan to start in Zhejiang province, where I know some businessmen and have contacted them. I will first import products like furniture from China and sell them in India."

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