Source: Changjiang Daily(Nov. 12, 2019)
English Name：KONTOGEORGOS ALEXANDROS
Chinese Language Student:
School：Center for Teaching Chinese as A Foreign Language, School of Software Engineering
Major：Chinese, Software Engineering
Supervisor: Shen Gang
On November 10, 2019, Xi Jinping, the President of China, arrived in Athens for a state visit to Greece - the second visit by a Chinese President after 11 years.
Alex, a Greek who graduated from Huazhong University of Science and Technology(HUST) and now works as a product manager at the headquarters of XIAOMI in Wuhan, was very excited when he saw this news, especially when he read the article of President Xi published in Greek media and heard that the national flags of the two countries had been displayed on the streets of Greece.
"Nowadays in Greece, seven out of ten people are interested in Chinese culture and about three of them would like to study the Chinese language," Alex said. With great interest in Chinese culture since childhood, Alex came to China 5 years ago and got himself a Chinese name - Kong Ming. From his perspective, China is not only profound in history and civilization but also strong in advanced science and technology. He chose to work at Xiaomi, an emerging tech company, because its development direction is exactly the same as his dream: changing the lives of people with technology.
In terms of his reason for studying the Chinese language, his answer is quite certain - love. Both China and Greece enjoy long history, and he believes that this is why Greek people have a natural affinity for their Chinese counterparts. The rising of China's economy has further ignited the passion of Greek people to learn Chinese language, giving rise to a "Chinese language fever" in Athens, one of the oldest cities in the world.
In 2013, Alex began to study Chinese at Athens Business Confucius Institute where he won a full scholarship because of his excellent academic performance. In 2014, he continued his Chinese language study at HUST. "The Confucius Institute in Athens was an hour away from my home and I almost gave up because of the long distance." He told the reporter that courses offered by the Confucius Institute were very popular. The enthusiasm of other students gave him the courage to gradually overcome the difficulties. When he first arrived in Wuhan in 2014, he could only speak some simple sentences in Chinese.Constant communications with native speakers allowed him to be more and more proficient.
Within a year, Alex has not only made astounding advances in the language, but also developed a close connection with the city of Wuhan. In 2015, he had to return to his hometown for military service. In Athens, the growing numbers of language training agencies and greater enthusiasm for Chinese language and culture shown by Greek people made him more confident of China's future. Apart from Chinese language learning, Chinese calligraphy and cuisine also gained popularity in Greece. All of these are the presentation of growing attention to China. "I observed that about 70 percent of Greeks around me are interested in Chinese culture, and about 30 percent are learning the language," he said.
Recent years have seen deepened exchanges and cooperation between China and Greece in various fields. The idea of further study on language and technology in China emerged to his minds exactly under such a background. In 2016, after careful consideration, Alex decided to return to Wuhan, a city with strong educational strength and rapid technological development, for his master's degree in Software Engineering at HUST. According to him, he had previously started his own business in software development in Athens with a team of nearly 20 people, but had to give up due to the immature technology and break of capital chain.
From 2016 to 2019, he tried, on the one hand, to improve his spoken Chinese, and on the other hand, he was encouraged by the pulse of China's internet economic development, re-thought his positioning and value. Finally, he got the offer from XIAOMI in 2019 and chose to achieve his dream and value there. "I have been studying software engineering for so long, and I want to transform the latest scientific and technological achievements into products through my own efforts, so that the quality of people’s lives can be improved. This is my dream," Alex said. His "dream of entrepreneurship" was broken in Athens, but the "dream of technology" is gradually realized in Wuhan.
"Wuhan's airport and railway stations are very convenient, and the just-concluded 7th CISM World Military Games has brought Wuhan more international attention." According to Alex, during President Xi's visit to Greece, many of his Greek friends praised China's construction and management capacity on social media. For example, the container throughput of Piraeus Port in Greece has increased by 60 places in the world since ranking since it was taken over by Chinese enterprises. "Many Greeks are grateful for Chinese people from the bottom of their hearts," he said. "China's help is exactly what the Greek need."