By Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
This is one of the quotes about life that Melody Allado from Paoay, Ilocos Norte held on to as the opportunity to study in the People’s Republic of China came knocking at her door in the year 2016.
She was a high school student back then, but a great destiny is already ahead of her.
The Chinese Consulate in Laoag, an embassy of China located in Laoag City, set up an academic scholarship to support local students to study in China.
Through the help of the local government, the embassy scouted for outstanding candidates who are fit to study in one of the largest countries.
Through the help of her friends and her Mandarin teacher at Paoay National High School, Melody went beyond her comfort zones and willing to let go of a planned life for a life that is something bigger than her.
“With the encouragement of my good friend, we tried to apply for that scholarship. Another reason that made me realized that I should try, is the encouragement of my Mandarin teacher who is Miss Lovely Gonong. I remembered that she even wrote a message on my Mandarin notes telling me to grab it,” Melody narrated.
For Melody, fate was not just with her, she believed it was God’s plan all along when she got in successfully for the scholarship.
And so her journey began and she studied at Minnan Normal University, one of the key universities in Fujian province.
Her trip in China lasted for four years but her experience was packed with new knowledge, first time moments, and life lessons.
“I was able to visit the beautiful places in China, tried to eat Chinese food, having new friends not just Chinese people, but also met new friends from Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Ghana and many more,” Melody said.
Her hands were made skilled with the Chinese culture such as paper-cutting and tea class.
She also attended a dance class that exposed her to the art of dance of the Chinese.
“Studying in China doesn’t only taught me on how to speak, write, and read Chinese but also gave me some life lessons that really changed my perspective in life. This idiom really hits me a lot 失败是成功之母, which means failure is a mother of success. In life, we always experience failures but I’ve learned that all of these failures will help us to be stronger. We just need to accept it and set that failures as a motivation to strive harder,” Melody recalled.
She expressed her gratitude to the China embassy that helped her realized her dreams and aided her family.
“To Chinese Consulate, I am very grateful for their unending support. It really helped me and also my family. If this opportunity wasn’t given to me, there’s a possibility that I could not go to college, I can’t go to China to study mandarin, and I could not pursue my dreams. This opportunity has served me well for a lifetime. Without them, my gained knowledge, experiences and beautiful memories wouldn’t happened,” Melody’s message to the embassy.
This 22-year-old Mandarin student is now a Mandarin teacher at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in the City of Batac and she is the first native Chinese language teacher of the university.
“Her hiring spells my administration’s commitment to sustain the offering of Mandarin language in the University and my pledge to further Chinese studies and culture as well. My vision for the next three years is for MMSU to become a fountain of Chinese knowledge and tradition in this part of the country,” Dr. Shirley Agrupis, MMSU president, said as she takes pride in Melody’s achievement to teach Mandarin language in the academic institution.
Melody also thanked her friends and teachers at the Paoay National High School who never doubted her skills from the very start.
“To Paoay National High School, I am very thankful that they’ve trusted me, never doubted my capabilities and even encourage me to take the opportunity to study in China. To all people who helped, encouraged and always at my back to guide and support me, I am very blessed, thank you for everything,” she expressed.
Taking the Chinese proverb that states, “It takes ten years to grow a tree, but a hundred years to bring up a generation of good men”, the Chinese Consulate of Laoag continues to send their support for Melody in her teaching career as she also sows new seeds of hope and friendship between the Philippines and China.
Just like Melody, when opportunity is on your way, ride along with it toward the great destination of successful dreams and victories. (JCR/AMB/MJTAB/ PIA Ilocos Norte)