Heike Barteis, a slim and beautiful woman from Cologne, took Tai Chi lessons for years in Germany, and finally decided to come to Beijing Sports University (BSU) to study it full time.
BSU is China's highest academic sports institute. It trains high-level coaches, athletes, physical education teachers, scientific researchers and sports management professionals. So for both home and overseas students who want to study martial arts or Tai Chi, BSU is definitely the best choice.
Heike is 36 years old and from Cologne, an old and beautiful city on the River Rhine. It is her first time in China.
Heike Barteis in Beijing .
"I arrived on September 6 when the new semester began. My major is Tai Chi," she told me.
Tai Chi is a traditional martial art. Translated as "the supreme ultimate," Tai Chi is also a philosophy of reality. Yin and yang represent contrasting poles within reality and experience. Tai Chi does not see the world as a collection of separate entities but as a complex interrelated whole of the real and the possible.
"I have been interested in Tai Chi since 2004. A Chinese teacher who had graduated from BSU taught me. Then he quit teaching and recommended I continue studying here. It's an obvious choice, really. It's the best place to study Tai Chi in China," Heike said.
"I have Tai Chi courses every morning and sometimes in the afternoon. I'm taking courses in Chinese," she continued. "So I am very busy. In my spare time, I go out with my friends."
After 2 months in China, Heike told me her biggest difficulty is the language barrier.
"It's really difficult for me to pronounce Chinese. But I'm working on it and trying to improve. I can manage simple phrases like 'ni hao' and 'xiexie'. Apart from that I have no problems. Chinese people and the students here are very friendly. I am always treated well and I have made a lot of friends who are always there for me when I need help. What's more, I like Chinese food and the weather here is also OK," she said.
When we talked about the Olympics, Heike said, "I arrived too late for the Olympics but I managed to get a ticket to the Paralympics so I got to see the Bird's Nest. It's really beautiful."
For information about studying at Beijing Sports University, check here
(China.org.cn by Xiang Bin November 25, 2008)