(Xinhua) -- Martino Swarts, a Namibia University of
Science and Technology (NUST) student currently studying
Mandarin at a university in China, encourages other students to
seize every opportunity that comes their way, especially if it
is education related.
The 19-year-old recently echoed this
when he was back in Namibia on a month’s vacation.
Swarts is one of NUST duo who were
awarded full scholarships last year by China Harbour Engineering
Company (CHEC) to study Marine Engineering in China.
As part of the scholarship, the two
students would have to study the Chinese language Mandarin for a
“Mandarin is not like any other
language because it has tones and mixing up those tones can
dramatically change the meaning of the word. But we have to,
as it will equip us with the relevant language proficiency
when we start our engineering course later this year,”
Swarts said they had two four-hour
lessons daily, which can be especially challenging for someone
coming from an environment where one-hour lecture is the
“Concentration was a big problem at
first, but we learned to cope with the strict discipline
real quick, as we have something to prove to both ourselves
and our country,” he said.
Before he got the scholarship, Swarts
used to commute from Okahandja, which is 60km outside capital
Windhoek, daily to attend his INSTEP (bridging course) at NUST
and that for both him and Oiva Wilbard, the second bursary
recipient, the financial burdens on their parents was
Winning the full scholarship and
making preparations for his life in China were never easy but
the scholarship has changed his life, Swarts said.
“We had to undergo a stringent
selection process including interviews with CHEC’s
Management thereafter we only had less than two months
before we left the country,” he said.
Though some of their family members
and fellow students at NUST were worried about their life and
study in China, Swarts managed to fare well.
“Although it took us a while to
understand Chinese culture, we are now fully immersed in the
Chinese way of living, which we find completely amazing,” he
Through his current exposure, Swarts
is encouraging any student who gets an opportunity to study
abroad to treat this seriously.
“Grab the opportunity with both hands.
Do it for you, your family. You’re your country,” he said.
After finishing his studies in China,
Swarts said he is ready to come and contribute to the country’s
economic development but ultimately his goal is to work
internationally and fly the Namibian flag high on international
marine construction projects.