Adapting, learning and football – a Vanuatu student’s life in Beijing

Johnny Heihina of Arevrevbarai Village, north of Pentecost island in Vanuatu tells us in his own words what it is like to be a student in China.

Hello! My name is Johnny Heheina, the second last born son of late Misak Ture and Anita Sine.

I come from a small village called Arevrevbarai, located in the middle bush of Tarileo Districk, Aute, Vweuleo Region, North of Pentecost Island, Penama Province, Vanuatu.

With regards to my education background, I was an Anglophone speaker from year 1 to year 3 and a Francophone speaker from year 4 to year 8, then I switched back to Anglophone until year 13.

I ended my high school education at Malapoa College, the best of all time college in Vanuatu.

After that, I enrolled to the University of the South Pacific at Emalus Campus and had studied at Emalus Campus for 1 year and a half of the semester.

However, I was so lucky for being awarded a Chinese Government Scholarship to study my Bachelor's Degree in China for a period of 5 years.

My initial reaction when I found out that I was going away to further my studies was, I gave my father a phone call and told him; I am going to China and he was very happy at that moment.

September 2017, I arrived in Shanghai to study the Chinese Language, so I spent 2 years in Tongji University for Chinese Language.

After a successfully two years in Shanghai learning the Chinese Language, I came to Tsinghua University in Beijing to study my major programme in Mathematics, Physics and Modern Engineering.

I have been in Beijing for almost 2 years now.

I find Beijing to be relatively quiet and modern.

To be exact: modern and titanic! A city of contrasts, between luxury and poverty, occidentalism and tradition.

We’ll even dare to say the unspeakable truth: this city is cleaner, and more civilised, than any other city I've been in before.

The way I have adapted to the new lifestyle in Beijing was totally different.

Everything is a new modern world I ever thought to be and I'm adjusting myself everyday into it.

In Tsinghua, I have friends from all over the world; Europeans, Africans, Asians, Americans, Caribbean and South Americans. 

I am a football player. In Vvanuatu, I play for Sia Raga FC in Port Vila Premier League Division.

In Tsinghua, I play for Tsinghua Foreign Team and I play for my Department Team in Tsinghua League, and also I play for African Union Team in Beijing International Local League. So football has changed me a lot to adapt to the new lifestyle to stay healthy at all the times.

What I must miss the most about home is our Melanesian ways or our Pacific ways as a whole. I really miss everything. 

To students who have started the new school year, my advice to you is; understand the situation we are living with nowadays and adjust yourself into it.

Study smart to be selected to the best universities in the world like Tsinghua and further your education career.

Above all, I would like to comment on our status as students especially in China that we are safe throughout this Covid-19 period under our respective universities and we always stay alert to whatever this situation is facing.


Photo supplied Facebook  Caption: Johnny Heihina is pursuing his education in China