Alumni Spotlight: Lina Ayenew
founder and author
Xiangya Medical School, 2011-2012
Lina and the Yale-China Fellowship
As an international Yale student from Ethiopia, Lina had the mental flexibility to adapt to all kinds of cultures; however, the only languages she was interested in learning were those she believed relevant to her home country, like Spanish or French. She didn't think much about China until she arrived in Changsha as part of the Yale-China Fellowship. There, Lina taught English with an emphasis on doctor-patient relationships, mental illness and the social determinants of health.
The support and training she received before the commencement of the Fellowship ensured that Lina never felt like she was floating alone in the ocean.
Afterward, Lina moved to Beijing to work a public relations firm servicing various high-profile clients. She soon moved back to Ethiopia to marry her fiancé and utilized her PR experiencing working at the Ethiopian Tourism Organization, where she discovered the full extent of Chinese culture in Ethiopia. Even the neighborhood in which she was raised had grown a Chinese market. However, educational materials about China and its primary language Mandarin were not available to her fellow citizens. In response,
Lina founded the organization Dalu Media which provides a book, an online platform and annual publications to teach Chinese to Ethiopians.
Today, the demand for learning foreign languages in Ethiopia has driven Dalu Media to success, and a partnership between Dalu Media and Khan Academy (a non-profit organization providing online tools to help educate students) promises to provide additional educational resources in Amharic, the local language.
what would you share with potential Yale-china fellows about your experience?
As a student who was looking to this Fellowship, I think it is important to be open and at the same time focused. By open, I mean you have to be able to let the wind blow where it may. You are going somewhere where you essentially have to make the experience.