Interview to Virginia Mazón.
18 mayo, 2012
Virginia Mazón was born on October 21, 1992 in Madrid. She has always related to Asian continent. Her father traveled a lot of times there, and she has many good memories about the stories and presents that her father brought her from those strange countries. When she was a child, she started to learn Chinese and at present, she continues to study it in Casa Asia. She has been to China sometimes to improve this language.
Currently, she is a student of the Universidad Europea de Madid and next year she will become the first person who is going to study to China with the Red Laureate in that university.
Why did you begin to be interested in China? And how old were you when you started to study Chinese?
My interest in China was started by my father. He was who introduced my sister and me in Chinese world because he went to China when he was 19 years old and he thought that it was a good experience and as he has worked with international enterprises related to this country he wanted that their daughters were familiar with this part of the world. And this is why I started to learning Chinese when I was 9 years old.
How many times have you been to China and what was your first impression of the country?
The first time I went to China I was around 9 years old. Then, my second time there, was when I was 12 years old but in these both times I only spent there a week, just to see the country. And the last time I have been to China was when I was 17 years old and I lived in Shanghai during a year. My first impression of Shanghai was a very poor city, and I thought if this city which is very famous is of this way I can´t imagine how the others city will be. A lot of people begged me, there almost weren´t any shopping center, there were a lot of slums…
“You could feel money there”
So, Shanghai has changed a lot of in these last years, no?
Yes, I mean, what you could see years ago was high buildings but also a lot of small houses, slums, homeless people… but however this last time I was living in Shanghai there was a lot of multinational enterprises, a lot of big shopping centers… “You could feel money there”.
The last time you have been to China, Where did you reside?
I lived a half year with my parents and my sister and another half a year just with my sister. We resided in a rented apartment in Shanghai.
“You could see the sun”
Was it difficult to adapt to the manners of the country?
No, It wasn´t so much because as I had already been there some years before and the situation at those times was much worse and when I arrived the last time everything had changed, there were less pollution, you could see the sun, that was what more impacted me, that you could see the sky.
How do the native people receive and treat the Western people?
In big cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, or more specifically in Shanghai which is a business city right now, people are used to dealing with foreigners and they give you a kind treatment. It´s important to know that Shanghai is a city of coming and going, few people stay there. However when you leave the cities and go to small villages they look at the tourist as in a strange way for the simple fact of have white skin because they have no conscience of the external world.
We know that in China there exist a lot of censure, did you feel it?
Yes, I felt it so much. I felt it especially on social networks because for instance Facebook, YouTube, some documents of Google… are censored and the only way that you have to access to these networks is buying a kind of software which function is done as if you were connected from America in order to nobody realized of what you are doing.
“The life in China is too fast”
Child poverty or exploitation of children is a hot issue in China; did you see a lot of children begging on the streets?
The two first times I was in China I saw a lot of kids begging. Actually, many of them were begging accompanied by their parents. What´s more, you were on the streets at 10 pm (at this time almost all Chinese people are sleeping) and there were a lot of poor families trying to sell you anything and they pursuing you until you said “bu” that´s means no in a very strong way.
As we all Know China is an emerging country, can a person who lived there during a time feel it?
Yes, you can feel it in less than a month because the life in China is too fast. That´s why I overwhelmed, at half of the year I overwhelmed very much but then, it was very good because you learn a lot, you coexist with other cultures… it´s a very good experience. Chinese people do everything very fast; that´s why not always do the things so well, if they want something now, they will do it immediately.
You were studying at one university in China, how was your integration there?
Yes, I studied Chinese at Shanghai Jiao Tong University during a year. In this university there were some buildings and in the building where I studied, there were just foreign people, most of them were for America and Asia, and you only could find three or four Spanish people. My teachers were very young and all of them were graduated in English. It was a good experience to learn mandarin Chinese.
“China is a perfect country for
working but I would never
want to settle there permanently”
I know you are the first person that is studying in the UEM who is going to study to China with the Red Laureate. How do you feel and how will you expect to spend that semester there?
Well, I am disappointed that I will be the first person, who is going there. Next year I´ll study at Xi’an Jiao Tong Liverpool University which is around Shanghai, so I know this area and it is very nice. I´ll rent an apartment; I will be more alone than the other time because I will not be supported by my parents but I know people there and I know that they will help me. Moreover, this university is very international and I know that I will meet a lot of people.
According to finish, would you like to settle permanently in China or working with something related to China in the future?
I have always said that China is a perfect country for working but I would never want to settle there permanently. As I have already said in China everything goes so fast and that stress me so much. But I know that in China there exist a lot of job opportunities and more if you know Chinese as is my case, so probably I will work there, I´m sure that I´ll learn so much knowledge there.
By: Sara Setién Ceballos.