In the summer of 2008, young Devincy Debongo, from the Central African Republic who had just finished high school, was contemplating his options for pursuing undergraduate study at the university.
He was in a state of dilemma, unsure whether to choose Zambia or Canada, until he met his cousin who had just returned from a business trip to China.
This was the first time Debongo was hearing first-hand about China, a moment that would change the future trajectory of his life.
His cousin suggested he go to China because the country was developing at a rapid pace and he would have numerous opportunities.
Following his cousin’s advice, Debongo — fluent in English and French — got himself enrolled at Jiamusi University in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, thus embarking on his China journey.
The young man made most of the opportunity of studying in China. His outstanding academic record helped him win a number of scholarships from the Chinese government, and he eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and later earned a master’s degree in law.
As a fortunate stroke of serendipity, Debongo also met his girlfriend at school and they got married in 2016.
A year later, he was admitted to Hefei University of Technology (HUT) in eastern Anhui Province to pursue a doctorate degree in business administration.
Being a longtime resident of China, Debongo loves to share his experience with other international students who are new to the country. He has also developed proficiency in the Chinese language over the years, and his trilingual skill — Chinese, English and French — makes him an excellent international student coordinator.
When the COVID-19 epidemic befell China in 2020, Debongo helped purchase daily necessities for international students on the campus, said Hu Mengjie, deputy dean of the International Education College of HUT.
Debongo believes that it is a responsibility and an honor for him to help his fellow schoolmates, and it also gave him a chance to strengthen his management and coordination skills.
Last year, he was hired by the international students’ office as an assistant, helping foreign students with Chinese language lessons, providing psychological consultations and assisting students with the school’s information system.
The 35-year-old man is recently busy writing his PhD dissertation ahead of his graduation this summer. After living in China for almost 15 years, he hopes to stay here for the next 10 years.
“I hope to be a bridge between China and Africa, introducing more investment from China to Africa and bringing more products from Africa to China. My cousin must be so proud of me now,” Debongo said.