Friday’s foreigner: Anastasiya

Today is our fourth post in a series I hope we’ll do most Fridays.

Check back each week to “meet” the other expats!

See our other interviews here. 


Today, we’d like to introduce you to Anastasiya.


What’s your name, where are you from, what brought you to Hohhot and when did you arrive?

My name is Anastasiya. I’m from Donetsk, Ukraine and arrived in Hohhot in October 2014. My desire to keep working as a dance teacher brought me here. Whereas in my home, the situation was very tense and critical and I received a proposition to come to Hohhot to teach ballet. My parents were insisting I accept this position and leave home for some time and knowing the positive experience of my ballet teachers who used to work in China I decided to try.


What have been some of your professional successes in your industry?

Sometimes it feels like every little step forward is already success. Teaching without language knowledge is quiet challenging. But even though most of my ballerinas are completely beginners we were able to get 5th place in our first competition in August 2015. And 2nd place in a recent competition in December 2015.

Share with us some of the moments you were proudest of your students

Honestly I am proud of every student in my groups and grateful to the parents who trust me to educate their kids. My students are very different and aged from 4 to over 50 years old. All of them have big desires to learn from me, but also understand me despite language difficulties. I have to admit working with them is one of my best experiences of being here. I have girls who come to my classes since I just arrived. Seeing them growing and changing physically under ballet training during this time is my inspiration.
I am proud of them every lesson when they learn something new or after a few attempts when they could do movements that they couldn’t at the beginning, I am proud of them when they trying new costumes, perform, smile and I can see signs of happiness on their faces. And I am especially grateful to them and their attentive work when I have to lead classes without voice (this winter I lost it almost twice because of catching cold).


If you have free time, what do you do with it?

I like doing morning stretching or yoga, reading, shopping, meeting with friends and going to theater.

If you could make one city-wide change to Hohhot, what would it be?

I read your blog, Jill;) so, I would be agree with Agnes: please plant more trees!!! It will look completely different with more green around. And I would add signs in English for public transport maybe. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get around without knowing Chinese, especially at the beginning and therefore city doesn’t look friendly to foreigners in my opinion.

What has been the most surprising aspect of life here?
Well, there are quiet few things coming to my mind. But first price will win Chinese siesta with people sleeping even on the ground and this very special underpants/trousers with hole between legs for small kids. Never seen anything like that anywhere else!

What is the kindest thing a local has ever done for you?
There are so many incidents of my friends from Hohhot helping me that it’s very difficult to point to only one. I can’t imagine my life here without their help and definitely I couldn’t stay here for so long without their support.
Where do you go to “escape?”

I love traveling and feel like an obligation to discover China and Chinese culture while I’m here. I’m escaping to other cities and every trip makes the picture of China more colorful for me. And of course I escape back home to get love and energy from my family.

When your time here is done and you return home, what do you want to take with you?
I would love to take my students with me…but because I am realist and know is not possible I would take my best memories about work with them and my experience from teaching them.


If anyone is interested in learning ballet from Anastasiya, you can contact Ulanova International Children’s Art Education Center at 04712356611.

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