Omuralieva said she came to China because of a family gathering with several cousins who do business in China. "The first time I heard them speaking Chinese, I realized that it was such a pleasant language to listen to. So I decided then and there: I'm going to learn Chinese."
Upon her arrival on campus, Omuralieva threw herself into her studies. She explained that despite being a specialized technical college, Yiwu Industrial and Commercial College (YICC)'s teachers are very attentive, and thanks to their effective teaching methods, her Chinese quickly improved.
Actively involved in both on-campus and off-campus activities, she makes good use of these opportunities to challenge herself.
From enrollment to graduation last year, Omuralieva represented the college in provincial competitions and talent shows for international students and achieved excellent results.
During her years of study at YICC, the hard-working Omuralieva not only passed level five of the HSK Chinese proficiency test, but was also awarded several scholarships from both Zhejiang province and the college.
In Yiwu, it all comes naturally
In Kyrgyzstan, Omuralieva said, it is common for a child to become independent at the age of 18, whether they go to college or start working. She also started to live her own independent life after going to college. Her school offered scholarships, and she worked part-time for a clothing company, earning enough to pay her living expenses.
Once in China, being already independent, she adapted quickly: "The first year, I invested a lot of time in learning Chinese. Soon I had no problem with oral communication, so I started to visit the market."
Being a person who always finds something to do, she has set foot in every stall on every floor of the International Trade City. So when a friend from the Ukraine asked her to help find something at the market, she happily agreed.
She was enthusiastic, but in the face of a full range of products, the problem was how to distinguish the different materials and quality. Omuralieva was very puzzled. Eventually, under the guidance of her friend and patient explanations from the vendors, she has gradually changed from a layman into a professional buyer.
After graduating last year, Omuralieva established her own foreign trade company, which is small but performing well. Some of her friends who want to do business worry about not being able to find customers, but she feels that she never needs to find customers; instead, customers look for her. "Friends talk to friends, customers make recommendations to other customers; it all comes naturally, doing business in Yiwu."
As an entrepreneur, Omuralieva can't stand having nothing to do. She walks around the market and the factories every day.
A volunteer willing to learn
In college, Omuralieva participated in many volunteer events. In her first year in Yiwu, she joined the Yiwu International Family, and contributed, with other international business people from all over the world, to organizing 12 social activities. On weekends, they would visit orphanages and nursing homes. This program also raised funds among members to help vulnerable groups of people living in Yiwu.
In addition, she took part in volunteer activities related to the Yiwu International Commodities Fair and the international students' volunteer service team for law popularization. Last year, Omuralieva became a member of the People's Mediation Committee of Yiwu for foreign-related disputes to mediate conflicts and participate in the settlement of pandemic-related trade disputes.
"It's hard to mediate, partially because you have to learn to think about problems from someone else's point of view, but it's also a way to learn to solve problems of one's own." She always keeps a learning attitude in taking part in these activities, and she never feels tired, no matter how busy she gets.
(Text and photo by Sheng Zan, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Kendra Fiddler)