Ten years of China-South Sudan academic exchanges have helped transform the careers of students in the world’s youngest nation.
Briar Chagai Atem, a 31-year-old South Sudanese youth is among the early group of students who traveled to China in 2010 to enroll for undergraduate studies. He went on self-sponsorship to study for his bachelor’s degree in computer science and technology at Xi’an University of Science and Technology in Shaanxi province.
Atem said during an interview in South Sudan’s capital Juba that the skills and knowledge acquired from his studies in China have made him proud to be among the few tech-savvy people in his country.
He is a proud member of the newly founded South Sudan-China Alumni Association (SSCAA) and was recruited by Huawei in 2015.
“In 2015, I got employed with Chinese telecom giant Huawei in Juba but I left work due to renewed violence in July 2016,” said Atem.
“I learned skills in web designing, multi-media and software engineering and the Chinese language. I dream of opening up a business dealing in information technology and software engineering. I want to partner with other skilled people in IT from neighboring countries in East Africa to offer service to my people,” he added.
Daniel Chol, aged 32, studied for his civil engineering degree in 2010 at Chang’an University in Shaanxi Province also on self-sponsorship.
He was also taken up by China Harbor Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) that is renovating and expanding the Juba International Airport.
However, Chol regrets the renewed violence in 2016 that forced him to flee the country abandoning his work with CHEC.
In 2017, Chol said he returned to China to study the Chinese language and he is hoping to have other opportunities with major Chinese construction firms in his motherland.
“The South Sudan-China Alumni Association will help unite all South Sudanese who have studied in China to share ideas and knowledge in order to help our country develop,” said Chol.
Sadia James who is aged 30 studied for her master’s degree in public administration majoring in international development and governance at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2017.
She now works as office manager in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly where she has had opportunities to share her experience from China with lawmakers.
Itoo Emmanuela, who studied oil and gas storage and transportation at China University of Petroleum in Beijing was lucky to get employment with South Sudan Petroleum Pipelines, where she has utilized her knowledge in drafting technical, commercial and research proposals at her work station. Enditem