Vicki Cann – China Agricultural University

“If you look at me, you’d probably never guess that I have Chinese blood in me” is the kind of thing Vicki Cann, a teacher at China Agricultural University in Beijing, is likely to tell Chinese people when they first meet her.

Both of Cann’s great grandfathers migrated from Guangzhou to Jamaica in the early 1920s. From when she was a child, that connection fueled a desire in her one day to travel to the land of her grandfathers, something that came to fruition eight years ago when a program under the auspices of the Chinese and Jamaican governments gave her the opportunity to study at the Communication University of China, also in Beijing, where she has continued to live since she graduated in 2018.

Cann, 39, tells the China Daily internet program

My China Surprise that in addition to teaching communication she counsels students thinking about options for graduate studies or studying abroad.

Her own experience studying thousands of kilometers from her homeland has equipped her well for such a role, one of whose main elements is bringing people of different cultures together.

Not surprisingly, over the years Cann’s friends have been an important resource in her getting to know Chinese culture. Her closest friend, Zhou Yang, says that though she lacks dexterity in English and often cannot express in words precisely what she means when she talks to Cann, they almost always totally “get one another”. “National boundaries don’t exist when it comes to friends,” Zhou says.

Indeed, that is what much of Cann’s job boils down to: helping people get one another. Cann reckons that in a way that is what China has been doing for decades, too, making meaningful, beneficial connections, including trade and commercial ones, with the world.

At the moment, as much of the world grapples with problems caused by the pandemic and its economic fallout, as well as an anti-globalist push, China is doing all it can to promote international connections, including trade.

“It’s promoting the Belt and Road Initiative and working to build a community with a shared future for all mankind,” Cann says.

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