Turkish Student Ming Yuan—“Xi’an Has Become My Second Home”


Ming Yuan, an international student from Turkey in Xi’an

“Look at the curved banks of Qihe River, there are clusters of green bamboos. A gentleman should be graceful, with his learning and his moral made exquisite ”, it is the reading aloud of an ancient Chinese poem from the Book of Songs in the mandarin with a slight foreign accent by a young man with big eyes, Roman nose and curl hair, which won him the applause. He is Ming Yuan, a young man from Turkey, who said “Xi’an has become my second home,” after his five years stay in the city.

Aroused by a game he travelled to Xi’an alone

The 23-year-old Turkish young man came to Xi’an for study five years ago, having undergraduate education with Xi’an Jiaotong University in Chinese Language and Literature and now a master candidate with Xi’an Foreign Studies University. When it came to the encounter of Xi’an, Ming Yuan said that a game named Silk Road was very popular in Turkey displaying a great number of Chinese cities, “I like Chang’an (the former name of Xi’an) and Dunhuang the most, especially Chang’an in terms of the style of buildings there, then I began my online search for the city of Xi’an.” After his knowledge about Xi’an, Ming Yuan made up his mind to “have a look there”.

On graduation from senior high school, Ming Yuan was enrolled into the best college in Turkey but he dropped the opportunity and went to Xi’an instead. In 2013, with the money he gained from his part-time job in a year, he came to Xi’an alone, but within one year he who did not know English and Chinese passed the examination of Chinese language proficiency, HSK Band-5. “All my life then was two points and one line, without any spare time,” said Ming Yuan, adding that since the huge difference of Turkish and Chinese languages, it cost him great troubles. “Whatever you learn, there will not be any difficulties if you really want to learn.” He also said that he is now teaching himself Japanese and that later he will learn Spanish himself.

Fond of Chinese traditional cultures he intends to translate the Analects of Confucius into Turkish

Apart from Chinese language, Ming Yuan has made detailed and in-depth study on the ancient literature and history of China. “As you see, my Chinese name derives from the two sentences of Advices to My Son, the work of Zhuge Liang (a famous strategist of ancient China), which go as ‘One can't show high ideals without simple living; One can't have lofty aspirations without a peaceful state of mind.’”. He also like to recite the ancient poetries of the Tang Dynasty (618—907), read the Analects of Confucius, learn the philosophical thoughts of Confucius and Lao Zi, with the famous saying “It is always a pleasure to greet a friend from afar” quoted effortlessly in his conversation. “I like to read the Analects of Confucius as well as other books of Confucianism, videos, TV and movies of Confucius.” He also said that he wants to translate the Analects of Confucius into Turkish for more people of his country to know about Confucius. Never giving up any opportunity for learning, he has taken part in the Chinese Language Competitions such as Chinese Bridge World University Students Chinese Competition and Hero Meeting of Foreign Users of Chinese Languages.

According to Ming Yuan, China’s Tang Dynasty and Turkey’s Ottoman Empire shared some similarities and Mevlana, a thinker in Turkish history has the similar thoughts as that of Confucius, so he is interested in conducting study on the common ground of the two countries in history.

Wishing to stay in Xi’an after graduation he hopes to work for promoting non-governmental exchange exchanges of the two countries

“Xi’an people are so kind and friendly that I have already made Xi’an my second home.” After five years of stay in Xi’an, Ming Yuan could not help loving the city deeply. Turkey is a country of a majority of Islamic believers that are used to Halal food, and Xi’an is a city with a large number of Muslim residents, so the local dietary habit is much to his liking. He decided to stay in Xi’an on graduation next year for career, where he wished to teach Chinese students Turkish language physically and to teach Turkish people Chinese language online. “Of course, I have to do as Chinese do while in China, so I will marry a Chinese girl after I buy a house here,” said Ming Yuan with a roar of laugh.

In addition to teaching languages, Ming Yuan also wants to do something for the people-to-people exchanges between China and Turkey. He said that the general public of Turkey still lacks the knowledge about China and they even have some bias and misunderstanding, and that he hopes to help more Turkish people to know about China through his efforts.

“What one learns from books is no more than theoretical knowledge, so for a better understanding of China, you have to travel to different places to see yourself,” said Ming Yuan, citing that if you want to know about the Bai ethnic group in China, you need to travel to where Bai people live and not just be restricted by the knowledge you copy from books. He did as he said. For the past few years, he only returned to his homeland twice, with much time spent in the travel to various places in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Gansu and Chongqing. “Many people in the western countries hold prejudices on Chinese cultures, so do the news reports there. So how come you are so sure about what you believe when you haven’t been to China to know what really happen in its culture and ideology?” said Ming Yuan, adding that he intends to upload some self-made videos online for others to see what the real China is because the Chinese cultures are something worth learning and studying.

[Source:Xi’an Daily]