A student from Elland has become the first English member of the Chinese Society at Huddersfield University.
Sam Baker, 26, is vice president for travel in the 800- strong group and joined because he is fascinated with the country and one day wants to live there.
He said: “I feel a lot more comfortable around Chinese people than I do with English, although some Chinese find it a bit strange when I go up to them and say hello. English people tend not to do that.
“The Chinese are quite conservative but when you get to know them they are extremely generous and good company.”
His passion for China has been with him since primary school, when he became intrigued by a Chinese pupil.
In his teens he went to Hong Kong on holiday and loved the place before going on to meet the family of a Chinese girl he had met in England. He also loves the food – duck’s head and bull’s penis are among his favourites.
Sam is in the final year of a part-time degree course in business studies and works full-time as a mechanical engineer for Highfield Gears in Huddersfield.
“I love my job but I want to go further,” said Sam.
“That means one day relocating to China and I want to work for a multi-national company or establish my own business.”
He sees working as vice president for travel as an ideal way to help him mix with the Chinese people and learn the language.
Research student Shengyue Zeng, president of the society, said Sam had a useful role as the only English member.
“He is responsible for finding the cheapest travel and helps with communication with local people – especially those with a strong Yorkshire accent.
“Sam has been to China several times, so he knows Chinese culture very well and in our society he can bridge the gap between Chinese and British culture.
“Because Sam is native English, he can also help us improve our knowledge of the language.”