Photo of Sylvester Kangwa attending a meeting with Sheyang City governemnt officials representing International students in Shenyang
Sylvester is an international student from Zambia. He was the Minister of International Communications Department and the firstPresident of International Students Union of Shenyang Normal University. At the same time, heis the founder of Dechun International Culture Communication Studio.Among many titles, he prefers to be called the latter because he wants to be a messenger of cultural exchanges and hope that more people like him can feel the charm of Chinese culture through their learning experience in China.
After living in China for four years,Sylvester speaks Chinese very fluently, and had no obstacles in interviewing and communicating with him.
Establishment of DeChun to Serve International Students
After a year at school,Sylvester found that many Chinese students were interested in African culture.He felt that if the service for foreign students was transformed intoacommercialbusiness, it would be more professional and service would be morelikely to satisfy the market demand.Therefore, he founded Dechun International Culture Communication Studio.
“Because I have limited ability, I want to form a team.I first sent messages inmy wechat moments, hoping that those who have the ability and interest will join the team.After the recruitment was issued, three students from Shenyang Normal University joinedSylvester’s team.With the continuous expansion ofDeChun,Sylvester recruited two foreign students andfour Chinese students from Shenyang Normal University student to join, forming a team of seven people.
“In addition to providing services for foreign students, we will also hold some exchanges activities between China and foreign countries.There are three or fouractivities in a semester, including academic, sports and entertainment. Sylvester said that last month, they held a Halloween party, which attracted nearlysold100 tickets.
Dechun International Cultural Communication Studio has also set up a “Horn of Africa” to let students interested in Africa experience African culture, learn African techniques, taste African cuisine, and even experience life in Africa.At the same time, foreign friends can also follow DeChun to travel in China and understand the local culture of China.
Like other entrepreneurs,Sylvester encountered many difficulties at the beginning of his entrepreneurship, mainly due to poor communication at the beginning.”When conducting some Sino-foreign exchange activities, there are still some problems in the communication of venue-to-venue connection and payment.”On one occasion, they held a gourmet party to show and sell cuisine from different countries,Sylvester said.”At the beginning, we set 12 countries. The venues and ports were prepared according to 12 countries. As a result, more than 20 countries came and there were not enough places.”
For some time, because of poor communication with team members and disagreement,Sylvester did not know howDeChun would develop in the future, so he chose to give up.”That was a real intention to give up, not to contact the team members, and no longer want to do related activities.”
This confused period lasted about three months, during which many foreign students came to him.”They asked me why therethere are no activities for foreign students in our school and where to go to participate insuch activities. Sylvester saidthathe foundoutthat after theclosure of DeChun, many foreign friends expressed great distress and inconvenience.
Because everyone’shope is to makeDeChun work again so with hisefforts, the project was selected | the school and was affiliated with the center for innovation and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, theproject wasalsostationed in the business incubator park.At this time, he once again communicated with the team members to discuss the development plan ofDeChun, and everyone saw hope.
In fact, when he was the Minister of International Exchange of Shenyang Normal University Student Union,Sylvester has been committed to Sino-African cultural exchanges. He often organizes international student volunteers to participate in Sino-foreign cultural exchanges and dissemination activities.He said that he liked Chinese cuisine and beautiful scenery, and preferred Chinese traditional culture. He hoped to promote the cultural exchange between China and Africa through his own efforts.
In 2017,Sylvester gathered a group of foreign students who loved public welfare to do volunteer activities, and established the International Leifeng Society.With the development of the community,Sylvester felt that a more standardized organization was needed to ensure the operation of the team.At this time, he began to germinate the idea of establishing an “International Student Union”.
With the support of the school, the International StudentUnion of Shenyang Normal University was formally established in September of the same year, andSylvester was elected as the first president.Initially, the International Student Union only set up the Volunteer Department and the Sports Department. Under the leadership ofSylvester, they organized volunteer activities to welcome new students andorganize a variety of activities.Later, improved the organizational structure, established a presidents office, and established the Ministry of Administration and the Department of Academy.
“Departments should be divided according to their functions anddutyperformance.“After the formation of the International Student Union,Sylvester has been training other international students. He hopes that the International Student Union can grow uptogetherwith Shenyang Normal University.
Picture of Sylvester in Class with Chinese classmates
2014 in September,Sylvester came to China to study through thegovernmentscholarship program.”Before I came to China, I didn’t know about it, or even that I needed to learnEconomics Major inChinese.”Sylvester said he didn’t realize that he would study and live alone in a countrywhere he could not understand the local languageuntil he stepped on a plane in China and the stewardess greeted him in Chinese.
When he first arrived in China,Sylvester felt lost and confused for a time, even fearful.But in order to integrate into the environment as soon as possible, he began to pluck up courage to learn Chinese.During the year in Beijing,Sylvester spent 90% of his time learning Chinese.At the same time, he also needs to use Chinese, which he is not familiar with, to learneconomics major.
A year later,Sylvester came to Shenyang Normal University.”Chinese is difficult, but I stick to it.In the study ofmyprofessional classes, it is all Chinese teaching, I often do not understand, but teachers and studentsdo help me answer, translate Chinese materials into English to help me understand and digest the theories.Usually, I like to chat with my Chinese friends and participate in activities together, which makes me integrate here very quickly. The localdialect of Shenyang’s also makes me have a strong interest in learning Chinese because it is interesting.
Starting from Providing Services for International Students
In2015Sylvester came to Shenyang Normal University to study in Internationaleconomics major.“When I came here, I encountered many difficulties, such as not knowing where to get a card or where to eat and shop near|.”Sylvester said that although the school has an office for international students, the staff of the office is limited and it is impossible to take care of all aspects of international students from study to life.”At the beginning, no one could guide me to adapt to the unfamiliar environment very carefully. Slowly, I began to hope that I could help other foreign students through my own efforts.”
As a result,Sylvester began to provide services for foreign students.”In the beginning, I was just offering pick-up service.From the airport to the school, and then lead them to dosim cards, bank cards, and then to introduce them to the school andShenyangtouristattractions.
Providing Pure Service for Experience with Morality
Reporter: Why did you nameDeChun “Dechun”?
Sylvester:De(德) means morality, andChun (纯)purity；this means that no matter what you do, you should experience morality and provide pure service, so that the quality can be guaranteed.
Reporter: What are your plans for the future?
Sylvester: The short-term goal is to get a master’s degree in political economics and return to workat the same timestart a business.I hope to bring the expertise and practical experience I have learned in China back to Zambia and promote the process of Agricultural Mechanization in Zambia through my own efforts.Agriculture is Zambia’s largest industry and plays a decisive role in national development.My ability is not enough now, but I will work hard to make my wings fuller and have the ability to benefit my country.
Reporter: Do you encourage other international students to start their own businesses?
Sylvester: I especially hope that students from other schools can start their own businesses according to their abilities.Now on Shenbei area, many foreign students come to participate in Dechun’s activities. I encourage them to contact their schools and start some projects of Sino-foreign exchange.