Portraits of Irkutsk

The Second Survey

The next task is to discover why Chinese students study Russian in Irkutsk.  The answers are very interesting, even beyond the motivations.  First, the age range is much larger; there are some adults, not just youth.  And while I received fewer answers (10) than from Russian students, they were more complete.

One respondent wrote that he is learning Russian because he wants to "earn more."  Other than that, the remaining motivations can rightly be said to be surprising.  The first student met with a Russian in China and decided to learn the language.  Another chose the language three years ago to be able to go to the World Cup this year.  Two students replied that they think that Russian is easier to learn than English.  And, of course, one student explained that his choice was as a result of the fact that "Russian is the most beautiful language in the world".

Broadly speaking, students decided to enroll at ISU because it is a prestigious university.  Even one student who wants to work in Moscow chose Irkutsk State University.  However, on the topic of the influence of Chinese culture on Irkutsk, there is a disagreement.  "Irkutsk is Irkutsk, it is not China" - this is a typical answer, and will remind the reader of the answers of a number of Russian students.  There is no strong support for the notion that you can "see," if you will, China in Irkutsk.  Two respondents noticed that there are signs, signatures, and so on in Chinese, and, further, that Chinese fashion has found its way here.  Nor is it surprising that "Kitay Gorod" was mentioned.  Nonetheless, it should be said that the overall trend was for Chinese students to insist that Russia and China have "different spirits."

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