My name is HABIMANA JEAN and my Chinese name is 吉恩. I am a citizen of Rwanda who joined Hohai University in September 2008 as a full scholarship student sponsored by the Chinese Scholarship Council. I was admitted in the college of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering as a candidate of masters’ degree in Hydraulic and Hydropower Engineering taught in English from 2009 to 2012.


My study experience at Hohai University starts by a first year of Chinese language studies from September 2008 to September 2009. The Chinese language class was very hard for me in the beginning because it was a 100% new language to me and it was different from any other language that I had learnt before. With the help and courage from my Chinese teachers I tried my best to learn and speak Chinese in one year. At the end of the first term I was able to make short conversations with Chinese friends and read and write some Chinese characters.


In December 2009 Hohai international students’ office organized a welcome party to new students in which different prizes and awards were offered to students who had the best performance in the first term. That time I received an award as the best Chinese class student and I also was given some other prizes which served as a great motivation for me to keep on studying hard and improve my Chinese language level. At the end of the one year Chinese language studies, we were required to pass the national elementary Chinese language level exam (HSK) which I passed successfully with grade B.

 At the end of the one year Chinese language course, I was able to communicate with local people at school, hospital, markets, on buses, everywhere without problem and that is the time when I discovered that even if the Chinese language class was hard in the beginning, full of funs and jokes, I didn’t know that it was preparing for an easy life during my major course studies and in my entire future life. Because of the importance of Chinese language in my life I call all the international students of Hohai University to study it seriously.


After completing the Chinese language course in September 2009 I started my major courses of masters’ degree in hydraulic and hydropower engineering. We had a very nice class made by international students from different countries all over the world; Rwanda, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Benin, Burundi, Nigeria, Eritrea, France …and we were taught in English. We had good teachers especially in water science related courses. At the end of the first term in January 2010, the international students’ office organized a New Year party to welcome new students and give prizes and awards to the best students. That time also I received an award as one of the best Hohai international students in the masters’ degree program.


 During our studies, the international students’ office started looking for good companies that could give job to the best students after graduation and kept motivating us to study hard by giving prizes and awards to the best students every year. I can remember in 2011 we have been visited by Sinohydro Corporation for which I am working now. We were called to submit our CVs so that they could contact us after completing our studies. This also contributed to my motivation to work hard because I wanted to get a nice job after graduation.


During my studies I wanted to visit as many hydropower stations as possible so that I can get the practical aspect of hydropower engineering. By the help of my supervisor Prof Gu Shengping, I visited Xinanjiang power station, Shahe pumped storage power station and Fuchunzhan power station. From there I got the real image of hydropower stations. My goal was efficient use of time to acquire knowledge at the maximum level.

 I did a research on” fuzzy evaluation of the role of small hydropower in rural development “with a case study of Nkombo Island located in my mother country Rwanda. I successfully completed the research works on time and defended my thesis on the 25th May 2012. The results of the research proved that developing small hydropower potential in Rwanda would contribute a lot in boosting its fast and durable rural development.

Even though I cannot say that everything was perfect; I had many nice moments in the study life at Hohai University but the best ones that I will never forget are; the joy, happiness and funs of the New Year party. Every year we had a special time to welcome new students and give prizes and awards to the best students. That special day was celebrated by eating, drinking, dancing and singing, joking, playing funny games, listening to the University leaders’ motivating words and giving prizes and awards to the best students.

After graduation from Hohai University in July 2012, I went back to Rwanda and in August 2012 I contacted Sinohydro Corporation because I had their email address and I reminded them that they once came to look for employees in Hohai University and I gave them my CV. They called me for interview after which they employed me as a hydropower engineer and sent me to work for the company in Zambia on Kariba North Bank Extension Project in January 2013.

After completing the project works of Kariba North Bank Extension, I went back home to rest for one month after which I was called again to work for the same company in Zimbabwe on Kariba South Bank Extension Project since April 2014 and I am happy here because I am learning more practical knowledge in hydraulic and hydropower engineering for use in my future life.


I wish happy hundred years’ anniversary to my source of knowledge Hohai University. Long live the sea of knowledge the river flowing towards a brighter future. Long live the friendly cooperation between P.R China and Rwanda.

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