Socheat Chea, a Cambodian student with big dreams, wouldn’t attract much attention if he
walked down a street in his country since he doesn’t talk a lot and is a bit shy around strangers.
His classmate, Edgar Moreno Pena, who is from Venezuela, is more adept at socializing. He has
a vocabulary of more than 200 Chinese words, tells shopkeepers on Beijing streets pia
nyidian (give me a bigger discount) and uses Chinese-language food-delivery apps on his mobile phone.
“I often do shopping at Taobao and JD,” he said, referring to China’s two most popular online shopping websites.
Although the two foreign students have few similarities in their perso
nal backgrounds, they share a common goal at the Shenzhou Institute in northern Be
ijing: They are trying to learn from Chinese teachers how to design, build, operate and maintain satellites.