Portraits of Irkutsk


Russian-Chinese relations are an important dimension (and question mark) of the international arena.  A key incentive in these relations has been pragmatism, in which strategic considerations prevail. While good communication between the governments concerned is a solid starting point, cultural exchanges are also important for establishing sustainable links.  Education is an excellent field for the development of a more durable and long-term relationship. However, Russia as a civilization has traditionally considered itself as a member of the West - China and Asia were secondary considerations. In this context, my project is aimed at interviews with college students studying either Chinese or China Studies in order to understand their motives for studying the Middle Kingdom.

My contribution is different from most of the other members' in that my focus is rather specific.  It is nevertheless linked to others along the theme of contemporary Irkutsk.  In simpler terms, my work deals with education, namely higher education.  I asked why Russian students decide to study Chinese.  Just for economic reasons, or is there something else?  In general, I would say that it would be better for Russia if there were various types of motivation, because in that case, connections appear in many areas, not only in the business sector.  I also wanted to ask Chinese students studying in Irkutsk why they chose to study at ISU.
So, how to find answers?  In the end I decided to adopt the most efficient method.  Since most of the students had already gone on vacation for the summer, I prepared a list of questions and sent them to the students via e-mail.  I received 13 responses from Russians and 10 responses from Chinese students.

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