Majoring in arts is road to stardom
It's 7am. A tall, slim young woman is doing vocal exercises near the arts test venue at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. She sports painted nails, eyeliner and mascara.
Her mother stands nearby, with a coat in one hand and a water bottle in the other.
The entrance exams for arts majors are underway at university campuses in Guangzhou. Thousands of hopefuls from across the country have gathered for a shot at a place at the Xinhai Conservatory of Music, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Jinan University and other places.
That slim, tall girl is Xiao Yan. She is 19 and one of the thousands of applicants.
'It has always been my dream to sing and perform on stage,' says Xiao, who has been studying music for 12 years.
'I've been preparing for this year's entrance exam for the past three years.'
There are lots of applicants like Xiao who see the arts as their life's goal. They are fighting hard for available places in arts programmes.
'This will be my fourth exam,' Xiao adds. 'I have already taken three exams in different universities - at the Beijing Film Academy, Xinhai Conservatory of Music and Jinan University. I just want to seize any opportunities.'
But success doesn't come easy. More than 600 applicants are vying for just 30 places to study music at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.
Many applicants regard being an arts major as the road to stardom.
One is Yang Hualin, a student from Guangzhou No 2 Middle School. He is waiting in a long line for a test in acting.
'Wen Zhang, the young film star, is my idol,' he says. 'I hope I can become a star like him. I enjoy being in the spotlight and being applauded. Luckily my parents support me.'