Ambrose Kitavi had just completed his secondary examinations at the end of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic completely changed the world due to its rapid spread among communities.
The 19-year-old Kitavi was looking forward to joining a local university to study biology in order to pursue his interest in the medical field.
However, the spread of COVID-19 put a brake on his ambitious plan to commence studies this year as most tertiary institutions closed down as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Kitavi, who comes from a family of three siblings, spent a lot of time reflecting on his future post-COVID-19 and started shifting focus towards Chinese tertiary institutions.
He said his goal now is to join a Chinese university once normalcy returns.
“I have been impressed by the technological advancements achieved by China. I think I can learn a lot from the country,” he told Xinhua in an interview in Nairobi on Thursday.
Henry Kibet, chairman of the Kenya-China Alumni Association said he has witnessed increasing interest among Kenyans who want to study in Chinese universities in the past few months.
“We are receiving inquiries from students who are keen to know the living conditions in China. Due to our experience, we are able to tell them what to expect when they arrive in China,” Kibet said.
According to Kibet, more young people are looking forward to the opportunity to join institutions of higher learning in China.
He revealed that China is now safe from COVID-19 as compared to most countries around the world.
The association official noted that China has modern health systems and is therefore able to contain the spread of COVID-19.
He said that some universities are open and are offering online learning opportunities.
He said that people have realized that COVID-19 is not a virus from a particular country but is now prevalent in all parts of the world.
“You can get infected in whichever part of the world you are in,” Kibet told Xinhua.
“What is important now is to observe the World Health Organization (WHO) protocols such as wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands regularly,” he told Xinhua.
Claire Aboki completed his secondary examination in 2019 and was on the verge of joining a private university in Nairobi early this year.
Aboki said that she is now keen on studying in China because of its unique culture and language that has now permeated into Kenya.
She noted that cordial Sino-Kenya relations have made Kenya, a magnet for Chinese firms in manufacturing, construction and in the hospitality sectors.
The 19-year-old also hopes to learn the Chinese language from native speakers. “This will give me an edge in the job market as more and more employers are seeking to court Chinese clients,” she said.
Aboki observed that Chinese university qualifications are also increasing in prestige among Kenyans due to the Asian nations’ growing economic influence.