A Laotian guy reaches his fullest potential in Yunnan

[InKunming--Interviews PollsLeng Yang, a 20-year-old young man, has dark skin and a straight figure, always wearing a shy and friendly smile. He looks like a native of Yunnan at first glance. When he talks in Chinese, you can tell the difference from his accent.

“My Chinese is still not good.” Leng Yang is from Xieng Khuang province in northeastern Laos, where many Chinese have opened factories and done businesses. In his opinion, it might be easier to find a job in either China or Laos if he could speak Chinese well. Therefore, he became an undergraduate majoring in Chinese International Communication in Southwest Forestry University (SWFU).

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Leng Yang. [Photo provided by Leng Yang]

Feed seagulls every winter like Kunming locals do

On September 1, 2017, Leng Yang took an 18-hour coach from Laos’ Xieng Khuang province to China’s Yunnan. The surrounding area of the university was still somewhat empty at that time, with no subways, no high-rise buildings and few restaurants. 

Leng Yang settled down in the dormitory, and officially began his 4-year study in Kunming with Laotian fellows. He was not used to the food and culture of Yunnan at first. After 2 years, he gradually adapted to the pace of Kunming, and formed a habit as Kunming people, which is feeding seagulls in winter every year.

Every November Leng Yang would buy some bread to feed seagulls on Haigeng dam. If the weather allowed, he would climb up to West Mountain and overlook Dianchi lake and the city. He did enjoy the time with seagulls, and used the picture taken on Haigeng dam as the profile of his social media. 

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Leng Yang (the first from the left) fed seagulls with friends. [Photo provided by Leng Yang]

Leng Yang has been in Kunming for 3 years, and has spent the most of time on learning and sporting rather than traveling. Within the few places he has visited, Jiuxiang is his favorite.

Several scenic spots in Yunnan are well known in Laos, such as the old tea tree in Pu’er, stone forest in Kunming, and Jiuxiang in Yiliang. Jiuxiang, also called the Museum of Karst Caves, is a cluster of hundreds of karst caves in where many films and TV series shot. Leng Yang knew the Journey to the West was shot here, as well as Jackie Chan’s movie The Myth.

“It’s spectacular! There is no such view in Laos.” Leng Yang said. Walked along the winding roads into the cave, he enjoyed the karst view that he never saw before. When he saw a clip of The Myth was played repeatedly in the cave, he felt a sense of wonder beyond words.

Meet friends from all over the world in “international” Kunming

“I wish I could teach Chinese language and culture to Lao people, and I also want to bring Lao culture to China.” Leng Yang wants to play a role in the communication between China and Laos. Hence, he missed no opportunity to learn mandarin and Chinese culture.

When he first came to Yunnan, he liked to say hello to everyone he met on the roads like Lao culture do. However, this was not work in China. “Many Chinese people don’t greet you until they know you. They speak politely and look clean and cozy in their clothes.” Leng Yang found the difference between these two countries. 

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Leng Yang (first from the right) played the role of Tang Monk. [Photo provided by Leng Yang]

Tutors in the university often gave Leng Yang the chances to take part in various activities. Leng Yang was shy in Laos when he needed to sing on the stage, but in China, he became braver to perform in public. He dressed up as Tang Monk, and presented a wonderful show. He evaluated the life of studying abroad highly, “if I finished college in Laos, I would never changed myself better.”

Leng Yang makes many foreign friends in Kunming. Some of them are from Japan, Mali, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Madagascar and so on. He never thought about meeting so many people from different countries in Kunming. He posted the photo with friends on Facebook. His fellows in Laos admired Leng Yang so much that he could study in Kunming and have the opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world. Leng Yang said, “I think I’ll never forget how happy I am to study here.”

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Leng Yang (front row, second from left) met friends from many different countries. [Photo provided by Leng Yang]

Thumb up for the speed of Yunnan’s development

Last year, Leng Yang took part in an activity organized by the university. This was the first time for him to experience some hi-tech products, such as AR/VR, motion sensing game, UAV, etc.. 

“Yunnan is developing so fast!” Leng Yang was surprised by the speed of Kunming’s development. When he first started his studying life 3 years ago, the school was not built completely. At present, the surrounding area is full of high-rise buildings, and is about to run subways. 

Every holiday, Leng Yang would take bus back to Laos, where the road used to be winding and steep, but now, the roads are straight and easy to drive. 

Leng Yang has a vision for 2021, when the expected completion of the China-Laos railway will cut his time home in half. He wants to stay in Yunnan for postgraduate studies, and bring his family to visit Yunnan. At that time, he will speak mandarin better and take Chinese culture to Laos to let more people know about China.

Click here to view Chinese report

(Editors: Christine, Rachel)

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