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Silk Road sparks international student's dream

By Yang Yang (chinadaily.com.cn)

Updated: 2017-06-15

Silk Road sparks international student's dream

Jacimovic Andjela, an international student from Xi'an Jiaotong University, poses in front of a photo featuring Chinese words New Silk Road. The photo was taken in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province, on June 3. [Photo by Yang Yang/ chinadaily.com.cn]

Jacimovic Andjela, a Serbia student studying at the Xi'an Jiaotong University, first learnt about China from Chinese companies investing in her home nation, which prompted her to dream of studying in China.

"China has been developing so fast the past few years, and there are so many Chinese companies in Serbia. I often heard about China from them and was fascinated about it. I would like to know how China was able to develop so fast, and so I decided to study MBA here," she said.

Jacimovic said she had always dreamt of studying economy, and chose to come to China due to its great business cooperation potential with Serbia after Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We all know about Beijing and Shanghai, but when I searched about universities I found out Xi'an was the capital of 13 dynasties, with a great political and economic importance in Chinese history," she said.

"That's why I decided to come to Xi'an Jiaotong University."

So far, Jacimovic has been in Xi'an for about eight months, and has found the ancient city has an amazing history and a lot of modern technologies. As an example, Jacimovic said she would recommend her friends to visit her favorite spot in Xi'an-Dayanta, Qujiang district, where people are able to travel through time while experiencing modern life.

"China is an amazing country and if you don't visit you cannot understand it," she said.

"Now I am here, I have learnt a lot about cultural differences of doing business in China and Serbia.

"If you want to run successful business you need to know the culture of your business partner."

Jacimovic said one of her biggest culture shocks she has experienced, while living in China, has been the difference in business arrangements and agreements.

"In China, you cannot expect Chinese businessmen say 'yes' or 'no' immediately after a meeting. They won't promise anything, only knowing you for a short while, but will say 'maybe'," she said.

"In Serbia, however, if you agree with something after a meeting, they will say 'it's a deal', which means they agree or promise."

In addition, Chinese people look for long-term business relations, from five to ten years or even longer, while Serbian businessmen are more likely to have a business plan of one or two-years, said Jacimovic. She added there was still a lot more to find about Chinese culture and the rule of doing business in the nation.

People-to-people connectivity has also been an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative, with participating countries pulling every effort to build the educational Silk Road and the health Silk Road. Every year, the Chinese government provides 10,000 government scholarships to countries participating in the Initiative, according to President Xi, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May.

Jacimovic who received a scholarship to study in China, will be one of the international students who benefit from the educational programs of the initiative. In addition to tuition fee, as well as accommodation and health insurance, Jacimovic will also receive 3000 yuan each month for her to spend. Jacimovic was one of three students who won this scholarship this year, and about five to six students have received similar scholarships in previous years at the University John Naisbitt in Belgrade, Serbia, Jacimovic said.

"About 30 to 40 international students are studying at the Xi'an Jiaotong University's School of Management, and the total number of international students in the whole university is predicted to be 200," she said.

"I can feel Serbia students' interests in studying in China are growing because of the amount of people inquiring about it."

After being a Silk Road journalist at the 2017 Silk Road Expo, Jacimovic has further identified many new business opportunities between the two nations. She has dreamt of following the Silk Road spirit at the start of the Silk Road in Xi'an, and stimulates business communications between China and Serbia.

"I wish my international experience and knowledge I am gaining here on master studies in Xi'an will bring a huge contribution to future cooperation between Serbia and China," she said.

"I also hope I will have an opportunity to make better connections between our two cultures by being an ambassador of my culture to Chinese people and vice versa."

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