Twelve years ago, Mei Aicai from Chengde, China was a struggling student who performed poorly at school.
To have a change of scenery, Mei decided to move to Kharkov, Ukraine — which he thought was in Africa — to pursue a higher education. He told Tencent News:
”Before I left the country, I went to Shijiazhuang and learned Russian for a month, but ultimately only learned ‘hello, I want water’. When I got on the plane, I was really nervous, not knowing what would be waiting for me in an unknown country,”
Since he didn’t know the language, he encountered a lot of challenges during his first few months attending a local university. He told Lollipop.sg the reason he chose Ukraine was because the cost of education was inexpensive like China’s.
“Only after going out in the world did I slowly understand my parents’ hardships. For the first two years, the things I ate the most were potatoes and cabbage, as these two things are the cheapest in Ukraine.
… The first year abroad, what I felt most was loneliness and helplessness, and everyday I wanted to go [back] home. At that time, I did not have a phone or a computer, so I eagerly waited for the weekends when I could go to the internet cafe to chat with my family.”
Upon graduation from his one-year preparatory course, he attended the Kharkov Academy of Fine Arts. Mei was the only student who couldn’t draw. He skipped classes a lot during the first semester and stayed home playing video games or going to the gym to play ping pong. Through ping pong, he met a beautiful 17-year-old high school student who would eventually become his wife.
”She may be young but her views are very mature. At school, she is a good student with excellent grades and at home, she is a good wife, keeping our home neat and tidy, doing the laundry and cooking,”
His would-be wife encouraged him to quit his job as an animator and start his own business. He did so and now runs a successful company that imports and exports equipment, oil and grain.
Mei is now so successful that he recently purchased over 30,000 square feet of land on which he’s built a villa for his new family.
“Some people think I am very successful, but I feel my greatest happiness comes from my family. I come home everyday on time to eat with my wife, and afterward we go for a walk. I feel this kind of life is very happy.”
Since then, Mei’s story has gone viral through Chinese social media and forums. But his story is proof of how much of an impact a quality significant other can have on your success. In our past interview with entrepreneur Craig Clemens, he said:
“I heard a story about a recent conference where they had the most self-made billionaires ever together in one room. Someone posed the question, ‘What is the most important thing it takes to become a billionaire? After a short debate, they all came to a unanimous agreement: The one thing most responsible for their success was having a great, long term partner.”