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Younger generation returning to realize personal dreams

By Bai Xu and Ren Liying | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-22 08:55

Song Xiaolei celebrates in London as President Xi Jinping visits the United Kingdom in 2015. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Growing up in a family of ordinary workers in Northeast China, Song Xiaolei had a wild dream during her childhood.

"I wanted to be an attorney like the ones I saw in movies from Hong Kong and overseas," she recalled. During school holidays, she would watch movies in the family's small apartment after her parents had left for work on their bicycles.

While childhood dreams are dismissed by many as mere fantasy, Song managed to work step by step toward her own.

She attended Jilin University, where she studied law, before going to the United Kingdom to pursue a master's and a doctorate.

Four years ago, Song turned down offers from several British companies and returned to China. She works in the Legal and Compliance Department of China Resources, a State-owned conglomerate that owns several businesses across the country.

Though she is not an attorney, the 32-year-old is living the life she envisaged: she has a 120-square-meter apartment in the financial hub of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, along with a car and a decent job, just like she had seen in movies during her childhood.

Song is part of the younger generation of Chinese who, after studying overseas, are seeing their dreams come true in their home country.

Confident outlook

In 2014, an Ipsos MORI survey conducted across 20 countries found that Chinese people are the most optimistic about the future.

According to the survey, 78 percent of young people polled in China felt that their lives would be better than those of their parents, compared with 46 percent in India, 27 percent in South Korea, 26 percent in the United States and 22 percent in the United Kingdom.

Five years later, the trend has not changed. Xinhuanet conducted a similar survey in April. Of nearly 2,000 Chinese college students polled, more than 90 percent expressed confidence about the country's future.

Yu Shasha, 29, received three job offers during her five-year stay in South Korea, but she turned them down and returned to China.

"China is developing fast and a lot of industries are taking shape, providing many opportunities for people like me to realize their dreams," said the 29-year-old, who works in the entertainment sector.

"I have liked entertainment since I was young. I feel like I have seized a valuable opportunity in a rapidly developing industry and that my career prospects are more promising in China."

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