Gao Mengjia is één van de studenten die gevolgd worden in de documentaire. In onderstaand interview vertelt ze hoe het is om jong te zijn in China, het generatieverschil met haar ouders en hoe zij zichzelf ziet over tien jaar.

-Can you tell me about how it is to be young in China?

Gao Mengjia: 'Born In 1990, when China just had been open to the world for only 12 years, my childhood can’t be described just in a word. It‘s sweet but bitter, interesting but gloomy. When I was younger, my favorite thing was listening to my mum’s stories and reading famous novels. I must say that these stories about love and wisdom are still influencing me today. Every time I think of this experience, I smile a lot. However, I didn’t do well in my primary school, and I was once looked down upon at the age of ten. I wasn’t good at dealing with exams at that time, and always ranked nearly the last one in my class. My classmates and teachers just evaluated me by my score points in exams, so I was lonely in my elementary school. Is it hard to imagine that I once was very shy? Yes, I was! In China, if you’re too shy to show yourself, you’ll soon be ignored by your peers. So I tried my best to overcome my shyness, and become who I am today. To be young in China isn’t easy, but I believe I have gained a lot from my childhood experience.'

-Is there, according to you, a difference between your life, as a young person in China, and the time when your parents were young? How will that be for the next generation?

'There’re certainly many differences between my life and my parents’. Firstly, since my grandparents have so many children, my parents didn’t receive enough care and education as I do today. Secondly, the political climate in China is different from 30 years ago. When my parents were young the most important thing for them in school was their admiration for Chairman Mao. Thirdly, people’s opinions on education have changed a lot. My grandparents thought it was useless to have a higher education even though my parents have appetites for knowledge, while today I can go to college where they dreamed to go before. I firmly believe that my children will receive the best education in China. They don’t have to worry about the fees paid for overseas education as I do today. And I believe they will have more private space to develop their hobbies which I’m dreaming about today.'

-When did you take the Gaokao exam and how did it go? Why did you want to take the test?

'From June 7 to 8 I took the Gaokao exam. Actually, it was full of ups and downs during the two days. I didn’t sleep well the night before June 7, so I did badly in Chinese, and after that I cried a lot. But your team encouraged me a lot and taught me how to make myself fall asleep, it really worked, and I relaxed a lot. So the following courses went smoothly (Thank you!). It is like a ticket allowing me to pace to a higher level of education and a better quality of life. With a good result, I can go to a famous college which provides me more chances to communicate with excellent teachers and classmates. Today, when I look back, I must say it was not as important as I imagined, but it helped me to become a member in RenMin University of China.'

-What happened with your life after you took the Gaokao exam?

'I went to watch the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and was moved a lot by the spirits of athletics.'

-How do you see yourself in ten years?

'I will have my own career and my own family (which is different from today’s). I will be a boss in my own company and most of all, I can afford to buy the best seats when watching the Olympic Games at that time!'