We recently interviewed Rina Cheng, a first year BSc2 student, while enjoying some delicious Chinese food cooked by her! We had some vegetarian dumplings, a mini vegetarian hotpot and some grass jelly for dessert. We also got to try some Chinese plum wine. While devouring the delicious food, we asked Rina some interesting questions to find out more about her.
Before eating we obviously had to ask how to say bon appetit in Chinese and there’s a very quirky way to say it, namely qǐ kuài which literally translates to move your chopsticks, which is exactly what we proceeded to do!
Why did you choose to come to the Netherlands?
I’ve wanted to live in Europe for a while, because I feel like European people are fancy. It’s also a bit boring to finish my college in China. In my last year of high school I didn’t study a lot but I would still get good grades. I was mainly copying knowledge from the textbook, but here it’s really different. I wanted to challenge myself more. I also chose the Netherlands, because people here can speak English well.
After some convincing, we tried cow stomach, which had a very interesting consistency and tasted quite salty like the ocean.
What do you like that you have here and not in China?
There are less people here. It’s so crowded in Guangzhou. Also whenever you want to achieve something, people here will always support you and they won’t judge you. For example when I joined the Erasmus Tech Community, I asked if I could have an inhouse day at Dell and they said I could do it myself on behalf of ETC. That day I gave the worst presentation ever at Dell, but the people at Dell and ETC were patient and they helped me a lot. In China you get that so fast!
What is something that you don’t have here that you really miss in China?
Cheap, delicious and spicy food! I haven’t found even one spicy sauce that can completely satisfy me here, so I decided to make my own spicy sauce. And of course I miss my family.
There’s an old saying in China: people treat food as important as the sky. So food is really a kind of joy we are looking for everyday.
In what way do you think you’ve grown the most since moving here?
I’ve gone through a lot of drama since moving here and I’ve had to deal with so many things. In the past I would’ve let these things confuse me emotionally, but over here I have so much to do, so I don’t have time to think too much about those things. Being friends with Noemi also helped me learn a lot. Before I was too shy to speak my own opinion. I didn’t know how to reject people or how to present my own opinions. Noemi is direct most of the time and that taught me how to be more direct too. I also learned that studying a lot and making a lot of effort is a personal choice. I used to think that I have to study and that I have to work and I have to network with important people, and that all at the same time! But now I’ve learned that it’s a choice of lifestyle one makes, and I can do whatever I feel comfortable with.
If you weren’t doing econometrics and you could pursue anything you’d like, regardless of money or talent, what would you pursue?
I’d be an animal rescuer! I’d drive in jeeps in jungles and rescue animals.
What’s your favourite place you’ve been to and what’s one place you’d love to visit?
The most lovely place I’ve been was my boyfriend’s parents’ hometown Heerhugowaard here in the Netherlands. It’s a super homey place and I feel completely relaxed there. One place I’d love to visit is Tokyo!
Family is an important concept from the culture I grew up with and I enjoy cooking and eating with my families and my significant other .
What are your top Chinese restaurant recommendations in Rotterdam?
Grand Garden is the best for Cantonese food and SānSān has the best spicy food. There’s this restaurant called Hung Kee on Witte de Withstraat which is only open from 4pm to 6am. It’s an excellent place to visit after partying!
Thanks for the amazing food and conversation Rina!