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RP is training ground for China's nurses-to-be

What can be so extraordinary about a group of students studying “The Life and Works of Jose Rizal?" Well, for one, the classes are taught in Beijing, China. For another, the students are Chinese mainlanders who have no stake in Philippine affairs.

“I don’t think we need to learn too much about these matters," says Zhang Chan, a 19-year-old girl from northeastern China. “But students have mainly lost interest because they can’t understand the lessons. Our English isn’t very good and the teacher speaks too fast."

A twin sister younger by 27 minutes, Zhang Juan, realizes the value of learning about another country’s history and tradition but says that “talking about only one person’s life can get boring." The twins, however, are plodding on because they see education as the path to a secure future.

The girls, along with about 50 others, are college freshmen at Beijing’s Yanjing Overseas University.

They have come to the Chinese capital from various corners of the country – from the frigid north to the humid south, from the desert region to the coastal areas – in order to study nursing.

Training in RP

After a year of Philippine curriculum-based classes in Beijing, they head off to Tuguegarao, Cagayan, for studies at St. Paul University, Yanjing’s partner school in the Philippines. There, they will attend college for three more years until they finally obtain their nursing degrees. Then comes the real action: finding high paying jobs in the United States, Canada, England, Australia or maybe, even back home.

The real picture is not as simple as that of a bunch of young men and women tantalized by the dollar and the euro.

In informal class surveys, the most frequently cited reason for wanting to become a nurse was the desire to care for people in need of medical care.

An exceptionally expressive 18-year-old girl wrote: “When I was young, I already had a dream to be a nurse. At that time, I only felt that white clothes are very beautiful. But now I know the society need(s) nurses to serve people and help patient to reduce their pains."

Some of the students cite particular goal: to return to their hometowns to serve.

The more pragmatic reasons, of course, came up. These included finding a secure job, earning a high salary and having prestige in society. “I want to have a bright future and make much money," said another 18-year-old from southeastern China.

Yet a third student seemed to have stumbled on the perfect formula: “You can help others and earn a lot of money."

Some responses painted a dreamy portrait of the profession, and reminded you that these people were barely out of adolescence. A nurse “is an angel of white clothes," scribbled one girl. An 18-year-old boy bursting with idealism wrote: “I want to do something for our world."

Others gave straightforward answers, noting that the job would merely be a means to an end.

One young lady candidly said that she wanted to “make money and try to do other job." Another student seemingly gripped by wanderlust said: “I want to be a nurse in England, then trip around the world." One girl had quite specific plans to go to the US and get a green card so she could “live in America with my parents."

Family loyalty and devotion motivated a number of students. One 19-year-old admitted that her mother, in fact, had made the decision for her to enter this field. “My mother told me: to be a nurse will have a good future. Nurses is very less in our world now." Another girl’s attachment to her family seemed to jump out of the page: “I want to help my relatives. I can look after them very well."

They are citizens of a country that is one of the world’s economic super powers but these young men and women still look beyond their borders in their search for a better life? And why do their motivations resonate so deeply among Filipinos?

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Tough competition I sense...

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