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I'm the Z-Generation | African Girl Pursues Her Aviation Dreams at SJTU


On May 28, China’s domestically-developed large passenger jet C919 made its inaugural commercial flight, traveling from Shanghai to Beijing. This momentous achievement signifies a comprehensive breakthrough of China’s civil aviation sector, as it demonstrates the country’s comprehensive success in independent research and development, manufacturing, certification, and operation. Furthermore, this remarkable feat ushers in a new era of China’s aviation industry and introduces a new paradigm for the world aviation market.

Undoubtedly, Shanghai serves as an enticing destination for individuals nurturing aspirations in the field of aviation, attracting ambitious young minds from across the globe. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, Rachel Amoah,a young girl from Ghana, embarked on her journey towards fulfilling her dreams by enrolling in the esteemed School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at SJTU in September 2021.

Since her childhood, Rachel nurtured a deep affection for airplanes and aspired to work within the aviation industry, preferably in roles directly connected to aircraft. The closer she stays connected to airplanes, the happier she gets. As a result, during her time in Ghana’s high school, Rachel devoted considerable time studying subjects such as science and geography. Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, the cooperation between China and Africa entitled her to study aeronautical engineering in China.

After several rounds of selection, she was admitted as a graduate student in the Department of Propulsion at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. At the core of her research lies the vital component of an aircraft, the aero-engine, a highly complex and sophisticated thermodynamic machine that fascinates her immensely. “The research process is extremely fascinating. There are numerous approaches to solve the noise problem, but you have to strive to come up with the best and most practical solution. Even if you don’t ultimately find the optimal choice, such process still demonstrates your hard work and perseverance in research”. It’s an “unstoppable quest” that fascinates her.

At a recent salon at SJTU, Rachel had the opportunity to engage with an expert from the AECC Commercial Aircraft Engine Co., Ltd (AECC CAE), where they delved into discussions regarding the naming of the “CJ-1000A”, the engine of China’s domestic large jet. “CJ” is a combination of the initials of “China”, “Commercial”, “Civil” and the initial of “Jet Engine”. It also incorporates the initials of the pinyin term “Changjiang”. “What is ‘Changjiang’? At that time, I did not understand, so I asked an expert who told me that Changjiang is the mother river of the Chinese nation, and its name symbolizes the infinite power and enduring legacy of China’s commercial aviation engines. I found this cultural connotation intriguing and captivating.”

Rachel aspires to secure a position in the field of aeronautical engineering in Shanghai. “I have learned that some foreigners who have been in Shanghai for more than 20 years have found what they want to do, established their own networks, gained life experience and achieved personal growth,” Rachel said. “Shanghai is a place full of opportunity and foreigners are welcomed here.” Rachel didn’t set a specific timeline for herself, because for her, starting is more important than completing. As she has studied, she knows how her own engine that propels her to soar continuously. However, one thing is certain: Shanghai is where the dream begins.