Russia and China: find the difference
Zhang Yaliang is a student from Baoding, China who has just has finished the preparatory Russian course at TSU. He can be found on evenings cooking with his friends and they toss words between them. Zhang  has already acquired a Bachelor’s degree and is on his way to obtaining a Master’s here at TSU. 

How long have you been in Russia?
For eight months.

Why did you choose to come to Russia?
Because I wanted to learn Russian well. As you know, there are many people in China and many students. Although there are many universities for students to attend, only a few to get into a good university. I attended a not so good university, the conditions weren't good. But the conditions here are good. Also, I have friends who studied here at TSU that's why I came here.

Where did you beginning learning Russian?
I began learning Russian in China but It was very bad. When I was there I didn't want to study Russian. I just didn't want to. I just wanted to play with friends, and that was all.

Tell me about the Russian classes.
It was difficult sometimes, but overall it was fine.

Do you speak with your Chinese friends in Russian?
Of course not. [laughing] But almost every day I speak with a Russian friend.

Do you feel satisfied with your level of Russian now?
Now, it's fine. I can almost speak with people. But sometimes it's difficult to understand and difficult to say what I want to say.

Are you more confident in your ability than when you arrived?
Yes. Eight months is a long time but my Russian is not so good. If I tried harder to study it would have been than now.

Why didn't you try harder?
It doesn't mean that I didn't try hard, just that if there was the possibility for me to try even harder then it would be good. Not bad. In all of the sections, the result was fine. But I think it was a bit easy. Here, in the Pre-university Preparatory Faculty, the classes are fine. I have a friend who studied in the Philology Faculty and it was difficult.

What are your plans after completing your Master’s?
I’ll be here for two years more. Perhaps I'll work in Tomsk as a translator. There are many Chinese factories in Tomsk.

What are some of the things which you’ve found to be different from China?
The buildings, the people, the culture.

How so?
For example, we usually fry, you need a long time a long time to cook. Russians prepare quick and easy meals. Also, I lived in the south of China, the air is very bad there. The first time I came here I was surprised, the air is very fresh air.