Lanna: A Turkmen student at BIT, looking forward to better cooperation between Turkmenistan and China

On the morning of January 6, President Xi Jinping met with Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhamedov, who was in China for an official visit, at the Great Hall of the People. The two leaders of state stated that China-Turkmenistan relations had been elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Lanna, a Turkmen international student at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), spoke with China Radio International about her impressions of China.

Lanna, 21 years old, is a junior student at BIT studying international economics and commerce. She is from Turkmenabad, a city in northeast Turkmenistan. What fresh experiences has she “unlocked” in China in these more than three years? What is her overall view of China? What aspirations does she have for China-Turkmenistan cooperation?


Lanna at Harbin Ice and Snow World, holding a candy cane, one of her favorite Chinese snacks

“I spent New Year’s Eve in Harbin. I’ve always wanted to visit Harbin since I heard the Harbin Ice and Snow World is very stunning. Winters in Turkmenistan are likewise cold, but there is little snow, especially in the area where I live.” Lanna described her recent trip to Harbin for the New Year’s Day celebration. Listening to her fluent Chinese, it’s difficult to believe that this Turkmen girl has only been studying Chinese for a little more than three years.

Lanna said, “I didn’t know anything when I first arrived in China, and I couldn’t even say ‘thank you’ or ‘hello’. Every day after class, I had to study Chinese for roughly 4-6 hours in my dormitory room. I enjoyed the process and was very interested in Chinese, thus learning Chinese for me became easier and easier.”

Lanna’s father once came to Beijing to study Chinese. He was a safety engineer for a Chinese energy business in Turkmenistan. Lanna was affected by her father to study in China. “My parents believe that China is the best at education. Actually, we also took Russia, the United States, Europe, and China into account at that time, but my father said that we must choose China as China is the future and that everyone will speak Chinese in the future. My father also traveled to Beijing for work, and he came here to learn Chinese. However, his Chinese is probably not as good as mine right now.”


Lanna (third from right) volunteered at the Global Digital Economy Conference 2022 in the “International Conference on Global Governance in the Digital Economy.”

After a year of Chinese classes, Lanna began her undergraduate studies at BIT in September 2020. Lanna had a lot of new experiences in Beijing. “I took the subway for the first time in China because Turkmenistan has a very small population and there is no subway in our country. I took the high-speed train for the first time to Tianjin and it was especially fast. I kept taking pictures of the speed, which was shown on the train, sending them to my mom and saying to her ‘look it’s so fast over here, I can go from one city to another within one hour’!”


Lanna’s internship at the Secretariat of the International Commercial Dispute Prevention and Settlement Organization (ICDPASO)

Lanna “unlocked” a new talent this winter holiday, working as a project assistant at ICDPASO. The headquarters of this international organization is located in Beijing. There, she could give full play to her advantages of being able to speak Chinese, Turkmen, and Russian, and build a communication bridge between the organization and member units in Central Asia and other regions. “This work makes me realize my significance. When teachers say ‘you are good at Chinese and you are so good,’ you may think they are trying to bolster your confidence. But now my colleagues also praise me and say that I may be the best intern they have ever brought in. I have been smiling these days, and I can’t believe how good I am.”

Turkmenistan President Serdar Berdymukhamedov was invited to pay a state visit to China from January 5 to 6. Lanna also followed the news. As a student majoring in international economics and trade, she expressed that she expected the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries to reach a higher level.

Lanna said: “Turkmenistan and China have always been very close. Now Turkmenistan is going to establish free trade zones. Our president also said that it is necessary to strengthen relations with other countries. Therefore, as a student majoring in international economics and trade, I hope that our two countries will strengthen economic and trade relations and continue to cooperate.”

Talking about the future, Lanna said that after graduating from her undergraduate, she hopes to continue her postgraduate study in China, so as to make her relationship with China longer. “Before I came to China, I already knew that China’s development is the fastest and the best. In my eyes, China has become the leader in the world. As a junior student, I will graduate in 2024, but the story between me and China has not yet been revealed, because I want to apply to graduate school next year.”