The Cambodian teenager who became an internet star in November for hawking souvenirs in several languages has enrolled in a private middle school in east China’s Zhejiang province and wants to go to a top university in Beijing.
Thuch Salik, 14, was greeted with song and dance by students from Zhejiang Hailiang Foreign Language School when he arrived at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai on Monday.
He then went to the school in Zhuji, about three hours from Shanghai by road.
Hailiang Group, a copper products manufacturer in Zhuji and owner of the school, said it would sponsor Salik’s education and half of his living expenses through his university years, including postgraduate studies if Salik would pursue them, a Hailiang spokeswoman said.
“He is very independent and adapting well,” said Hannah Wang, Salik’s teacher. “He is studying fundamental Chinese and he is coping with the studies in English and maths because there is curriculum difference between the two countries.”
Wang said Salik was doing very well in subjects that needed hands-on skills such as painting, music, physical education, and computing.
“He will have more advanced lessons once he overcomes the language barrier,” Wang said.
Salik became an internet sensation after a tourist posted a video clip of him online selling souvenirs in at least a dozen languages and dialects.
Salik told reporters that he enjoyed speaking Chinese and wished to go to university in Beijing. The video was seen by Feng Hailiang, chairman of the group, who was impressed by Salik and wanted to help the boy realize his dream.
Feng approached the family and arranged them to visit China for four days, including a school tour in January. At first, Salik’s parents hesitated and stepped away from the offer. They changed their mind recently and company officials went to Cambodia on Friday to help with Salik’s visa application, the spokeswoman said.