The arrival of international students in China not only brings about the exchange and understanding of cultures, but also shows the style of students from all over the world. It reflects the diversity of human civilization. People of the world get to know and discover the charm of China and its friendly people.
Decoding China’s economic miracle
By Chuluunbaatar Munkhtuul

[Mongolia] Chuluunbaatar Munkhtuul, Minzu University of China

Chuluunbaatar Munkhtuul [Photo provided to]

In the years when I studied in China, I came to realize that foreigners in China didn’t talk much about the development of Western countries such as the US and UK. Instead they were more focused on the development of China.

We often discuss why China has developed so quickly, how the Chinese people become so well-off and what accelerates the development of China. Out of curiosity, I’m striving to look for the “secrets” of China’s development.

In the beginning, I made quite a few hypotheses but none of them was proved. Finally, a field study of anthropology in Anxi county, Fujian Province helped me understand the basic facts of China, which brought about the breakthrough of my journey of “exploration”. It’s “diligence” and “transportation” that changed China.

Traveling among the surprising beauty of China’s natural scenic views, I observed the daily life of Chinese people and was impressed by their diligence. I believe that the Chinese people are the most diligent on earth.

To take Anxi people as an example, most of them are running a tea business. They wake up at 4-5 o’clock in the morning and never stop their hard work until midnight. It seems that they have faith to relieve the toil of day and night.

Even the muggy air cannot hinder their steps of striving for their reward. The tea growers work day and night. In the morning, they carry tea and go to the township to sell; in the afternoon, they return home and work in tea garden without rest. Busy and toilsome, people of the other industries work in the same style, but they never complain about it.

As one Chinese saying goes, “when the people are better off, the nation grows stronger.” The development of citizens, families and the nation are complementary.The fast development of China comes from the diligence of each individual of all walks of life and their families they are supporting.

However, the Chinese people were also diligent and worked harder a century ago. Why was there no fast development at that time in China? What is the reason behind it? The answer is “transportation”.

In Anxi, my study on the family culture of Han people focuses on patriarchal clan and ancestor worship. There are 438 villages in the county. The patriarchal clan of each village has its own style of worship. To understand their characteristics of worship, I went to villages for an interview every day. This daily investigation was impossible for an overseas student 100 years ago due to the bumpy journey. However today, convenient transportation makes it easy.

Every day, different vehicles such as bus, coach and taxi are available to accommodate my itinerary. The convenience of transportation benefits not only researchers but also the locals for their businesses, tea trade and daily life. On my way to the villages, I often met residents going to bazaars. The drivers even help them transport their goods to an appointed place.The transportation accelerates the local economy.

It is hard to imagine how they could live without this traffic convenience . It takes one day or two days by walk to a township of 100 kilometers away ; however only one hour or two hours by coach. This convenience saves businessmen’s time and makes the diligence of local people more efficient with a shortened cycle and more achievements.

It also enables them to have easier access to goods , so they are more confident to pursuit for a happy life. I believe convenient transportation achieved by the Chinese Government is the basis of Chinese people’s happy life as well as the basis of China’s development including economic development.

The relationship between family and nation is mutually beneficial. Thousands of families of different industries work hard for a rich and powerful nation, and the nation in turn invests public finance for people’s wellbeing. This pattern moves in cycles for gradual development.

The winding roads on the lands of China connect not only each piece of lands but also every family. The convenience of transportation enables the diligence of the Chinese people to compose the bright future for China and the rest of the world.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Charity with mobile phone
By Jinnakrit Natlada

[Thailand] Jinnakrit Natlada, Beijing Normal University

Jinnakrit Natlada goes skiing. [Photo provided to]

Mobile phones have become an indispensable tool in our daily life nowadays. You can almost do anything you want with your phone – browsing the news, shopping online and searching information. My lifestyle has changed a lot after coming to China. I have never used electronic payment before in Thailan but began to use it in China. Moreover, I have fulfilled a long-time dream with my phone in China.

I saw a quite moving commercial when I was a kid. In it, some kids with cancer or disabilities smiled and sang "Qué Será Será, whatever will be, will be..." on the stage, and their parents and the commercial director all burst into tears. I couldn't help crying after seeing it. Although they couldn’t see, hear, or even take care of themselves, they didn’t give up or were discouraged by these difficulties.

Since then I made up my mind to help the disabled and started to pay attention to public welfare issues. Although I really wanted to help those children, I didn't know what to do. After arriving in China, one day when I was using my mobile phone, I happened to see the “Love Donation” project at Alipay, in which I could do my contribution for charity at any time. Not a big sum though, I was always happy to contribute my share of charity.

At Apps such as Alipay and WeChat, I noticed and was attracted by charity projects such as "Love Donation”, “Ant Manor” and “Tencent Charity”. I have experienced difficulties before and understand that not everyone's difficulties are the same. Many people in this world just lack opportunities and need help. When I was in Thailand, I always wished to act as a volunteer to find and help those in difficulties, but I didn’t realize it until I was in China, quite unexpectedly, with the help of my mobile phone.

Jinnakrit Natlada holds a cat. [Photo provided to]

I could feel that these charity projects are helping my charity dream become true. Every time I make a donation, from my phone I could hear the kids’ voices whom I’ve helped, sometimes receive thank- you messages and paintings with grateful words such as " Thank you brothers and sisters for the kindness and encouragement." I'm really touched.

In addition to the donation for children, I’ve also participated in projects such as environmental protection, countryside tree-planting and stray animals rescue. These projects allow me to help others even though I am far away from them. Now that the environmental problems are getting serious and excessive loggings are making the environment worse, I hope that my donation to these projects could help grow a few more trees, and my donation to the stray animals could give them an extra meal so that they could live on.

I’m not really sure whether my donation could be of any help, but I carefully arrange my living expenses every month so that I am able to save and donate a little money. I have donated for more than half a year now and I’m very happy.

The campus view of Beijing Normal University [Photo provided to]

The reason of my donation is that I feel that I already have a lot of opportunities such as having enough food, being able to attend good schools, study abroad and pursue my dream. Maybe I don’t have much money, but I still want to help those in need with my humble charity. Our small donation could be a huge encouragement to them, like a beacon in the darkness.

I have never expected that my mobile phone has enriched my study - abroad life in such a way. As we use the modern science and technology, we not only enjoy the convenience it brings, but also gain mental fulfillment and happiness.

A Chinese proverb says, "Trickling currents converge into the sea;" and there is a similar saying in Thailand, "Big results always start from small things." I believe that everyone can make their own contribution, and gain happiness from helping others. I hope your beacon will shine in other’s heart, too.

Jinnakrit Natlada visits Huangshan Mountain. [Photo provided to]

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Irresistible charm of China
By Jo Lyeong

[Republic of Korea] Jo Lyeong, Tsinghua University

Jo Lyeong [Photo provided to]

Why did I come to China? Just as one lyric goes, “following your heart, and chasing your dreams.” Chatting with my foreign friends, we often talk about why we come to China. Whether serious or just for fun, there are different answers.

An American student A, who is learning pottery said: “I knew the word ‘China’ because my mother has a set of blue-and-white porcelain vessels, and when I went to school, I learned the word also means a country. Therefore, I have been wondering what kind of people could create such stunning vessels.”

A British student B of University of Chinese Medicine said: “Once I saw my Asian friend’s mother was boiling something and I will never forget that smell. My friend ate something bad and I was about to call for an ambulance when his mother treated him with few thin and long needles pricking his hands. In fact, the thing boiling is a kind of Chinese medicine while the needles are acupuncture.”

A Dutch teacher C said: “My first girlfriend was Chinese. She told me a lot of things about China, and I loved them. My wife is Chinese too and I also like my mother-in-law's meals.”

A South African teacher D at an international school said: “I didn’t think too much. I just applied for a position at an international school through Internet and got this job. Then I came here.”

An intern E from Germany said: “Because there are a lot of German car companies here. My major is automotive engineering and I’ve obtained an internship opportunity. I like living in China and I am planning to stay here.”

A French exchange student F said: “My major is Asian Studies. I applied for an opportunity to be an exchange student in China and I learned a lot here. It’s also convenient to do surveys on other Asian countries in China.”

An Australian musician G said: “Because my friend works in music here and tells me there are many opportunities to perform.”

An Italian lawyer H said: “At first, I came here for programs. With more and more business here recently, now I permanently reside in China.”

An Iranian exchange scholar I said: “I won a state scholarship. I’m glad to have come to China to communicate with Chinese scholars. Schools here have sound hardware and software facilities, which make for more research programs.”

An American trader J said: “I traveled to China and then I fell in love with the country. Except for the troubles in getting and extending visas, everything is OK. China has so many delicious foods and international restaurants. It is very interesting that the country has many people and new things here.”

Everyone has their own reasons for coming to China, concerning culture, life, business, study and other aspects. Although we have more or less difficulties and pressure in language and culture, China, a civilization with high-speed development, long history and distinct local customs, still becomes a choice for us and we stay here out of love.

If there had to be a common reason, it would be the irresistible charm of China.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).


Lucky choices, beautiful encounters

[Ukraine] Kulikova Diana, Chongqing University

Kulikova Diana [Photo provided to]

In the eyes of many people, China is a mysterious and remote country. But in my eyes, China is not mysterious but charming, not remote but reachable. For me, China is my second hometown, which is not a country too difficult to understand as long as you treat it with love.

The writer Svetlana Alexievich said in her Secondhand Time, “People are always faced with choices: to be free, or to live a prosperous and stable life? Freedom is always accompanied by pain, but happiness often means the loss of freedom.

Most people choose to take the second path." I think I'm luckier than most people because my choices combined both; The decision of choosing to learn Chinese and studying in China gave me freedom and happiness.

My first choice came five years ago, when I chose to study Chinese language and literature at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Thus, the major and the country have become an integral part of my life. Of course, I have encountered many problems in my study.

The campus of Chongqing University [Photo provided to]

A man who has a settled purpose will surely succeed. The great pleasure of learning Chinese surpasses the fear of difficulties, which enables me to break through all the obstacles. My second choice came at the time of my graduation from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

Teachers had taught me a lot of basic language knowledge, which brings me a strong desire to explore China, to communicate and to exchange with China. I was longing for a real encounter with China. Just as I chose Chinese language and literature five years ago, I heard my inner voice crying: "Go to China, touch and understand China!"

Once again, I took my destiny into my own hands and won the opportunity to study at Nankai University for a year. I think it was one of the best times of my life, during which I met lots of new friends, enjoyed a wonderful campus life.

Study life in China opened my eyes. It is a pity I only had one year to study in China and good time always flies quickly, which broke my heart.

There must be an echo if you never forget it. Unexpectedly, the door of freedom and happiness opened to me again; My third choice came. I was given another chance to return to China. And this choice, I would like to say, made me feel more fascinated, delighted and excited than previous ones.

The campus of Chongqing University [Photo provided to]

To tell you the truth, China is the country I am determined to continue living in. But which city should I choose?

I have multiple options and various expectations. As soon as I saw the pictures of Chongqing, I understand that it is! In Chongqing, I was most impressed by the life in Chongqing University. I attended every Chongqing University International Culture Festival with my classmates.

We danced the sleeve dance of ancient China. At the beginning, I found it very difficult, but after repeated hard practice, we slowly learned how to dance. On the day of the show, the school invited cosmeticians to make special makeups for us, which look like the beautiful facial makeups in the Peking Opera. I felt nervous before the show because there were so many people on the site. But as soon as I got on the stage, I began to relax and the feeling of happiness filled the air.

A local ballad impressed me a lot, saying “The sisters here are virtuous and brothers straight. Food without peppers and chilies is no good to taste.”

For me, “The food here is many and varied, hotpot touchable and noodles unforgettable after trying.”

For me, “There are also three golden flowers – bean jelly, pig’s feet and pig brains.There are also hot and sour rice noodles and cuisines from other parts of the country, which are hot, spicy, fresh and fragrant.”

The city view of Chongqing [Photo provided to]

Chongqing is my third-time choice.

I am fascinated by my beautiful encounter with China. Learning Chinese language and knowing China have brought me endless beautiful memories. I am more convinced that every choice I’ve made related with China is a beautiful encounter with the nation.

All my encounters with Chinese language, China, Tianjin and Chongqing are two-way choices between me and the country. I love this beautiful country, love all her beautiful cities. I will never forget the happy fate of meeting with China.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Modern transportation in China
By Asato Miyagawa

[Japan] Asato Miyagawa, Beijing Language and Culture University

Asato Miyagawa (L) at Beijing Language and Culture University in 1985 [Photo provided to]

In September of 1985, I came to China to study Chinese at the Beijing Language Institute (Currently known as Beijing Language and Culture University). Since my graduation, I have been working on business communications between China and Japan, involving banking business, education, IOT consultation and so on, which allows me to have the opportunity to visit many cities on China’s mainland.

Public transportation: from fuel-driven to electric buses, metros extending in all directions

In 1985, the main public vehicles in Beijing were buses and tramcars. At that time, the passengers, when taking a bus, had to buy their bus tickets from the steward. The steward often repeated it loudly with a strong Beijing accent : “Mei piao er de mai piao er” (those without a ticket hurry up and buy one).

Since at that time my Chinese language skill was at its infancy, I could not understand what was being said exactly. Therefore, when he looked at me, I wondered why he asked me to buy the ticket though I had already paid him.

In the past two years, I have been to cities such as Hangzhou, Dalian, and Wuxi. Now, in Hangzhou all diesel-driven buses have been replaced with electric buses.These buses are cleaner and quieter than the old ones, and there is no more black exhaust. I have never seen such electric buses in Japan, so the experience in Hangzhou made me happy.

I often introduce my Japanese friends the advantages of electric buses, and every time I do this, I feel a little bit proud.As for metros, there are well-developed metro networks in many big cities as Beijing and Shanghai. Even in cities like Hangzhou, Dalian and Wuxi, there are also brand-new subways that are very comfortable.

Over 30 cities in China are covered by metro lines. Both electric buses and metros are environment-friendly tools, and I am looking forward to the new achievement made inthese transportationtools.

The high speed: high-speed train surpasses shinkansen

In 1985, it took 17 hours from Beijing to Shanghai by train, therefore flying was more time-saving. By contrast, it only takes four and a half hours by high-speed train now. Beside the ever increasing speeds in railway technology, the efficiency of transportation services has also been improved. In the past, we had to buy tickets at the city’s ticket offices.

Asato Miyagawa at Hangzhou Railway Station in 1986 [Photo provided to]

Now, I can book the ticket online even when I’m in Japan. It is of great convenience. Today, whenever I have a business trip to China, I take the high-speed train, where a punctual journey is the norm, and it comes with beautiful views and fancy food.There are many railway fans in Japan who do not know the joy and comfort by taking the high-speed train in China.

If they know the charm of China’s high-speed train, there will be more Japanese tourists to China. In my opinion, China’s high-speed train has already surpassed the Shinkansen.

The unchanged loving and caring heart

In 1985, maybe due to problems regarding diesel engine, vehicle failures, such as a sudden shutdown, often happened. Every time the bus suddenly broke down, all the passengers would get off to push the car forward together.At that moment, I was amazed at the cooperation spirit of Chinese people.

Without any words, they made their efforts together, and then the bus started running again. Today, as diesel-driven buses are made obsolete, engine failure is a thing of the past. However,the loving heart and the cooperation spirit of the passengers have never changed. For example, when passengers, especially the young such as high school or junior students, come across a senior, they offer their seat with no hesitation.

In my eyes, such kind upbringing is very common in China, and the young generation has already made it a habit. I think such behaviors are the achievements of both China’s school education and its public moral education. I’m looking forward to new progress in the modernization of China’s public transportation.

From the changes I saw from 1985 to now in China, the development of public transportation can be said to be “the miracle of the century’’. While what I value most is the unchanged loving heart of Chinese passengers.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Seven-year admiration
By Muhsin Billah Bin Khashru

[Bangladesh] Muhsin Billah Bin Khashru, Shandong University

Muhsin Billah Bin Khashru [Photo provided to]

I have been in China for seven years. Chinese people always like to use “the seven-year itch” to describe such a long relationship, but for me “the seven-year admiration” would be a better phrase for my days in China. During this period, I have never gotten tired of this country but become increasingly obsessed with its beauty and vastness.

As spring has gone and autumn come for seven times, I have witnessed how this ancient country started shining the light of a new era while maintaining the dignity of its five millennia-long culture. Her beauty shaped in thousands of years and her strong capabilities to advance its high-tech industry in the information era have made me unable to put into words the vitality I have seen.

I remember there is a slogan describing Yangzhou, a famous city along the Yangtze River, as a place where ancient culture and modern civilization illuminate one another. This best represents the country’s achievement. The collision between ancient culture and modern civilization presents us with glamour.

Muhsin's first visit to Shandong University [Photo provided to]

When analyzing all of this, I take serenity first as example. Every morning, the first rays of dawn awake the ancient city. When the sunlight sprinkles over the Grand Canal, the ancient city completely wakes up from the tranquility and readies for another bustling day. In the old alley, you see pedestrians walking leisurely and sometimes cars bumping along the gravel road.

After carefully examining the morning market’s produce, the elderly take fresh vegetables back home and greet neighbors who are sitting by their doors and trimming vegetables for cooking. The dogs know that he is one of old friends, so they just wag tails gently. But sometimes they also chase strangers for fun but not in an annoying way. I love this country for her serenity.

The school gate of Shandong University [Photo provided by Shandong University]

Next that comes to mind is enthusiasm, which is ebullient on this land. The crazy rollercoaster takes brave young men whizzing past. On the square, middle-aged and aged people infect me with their impassioned dance and music. In the shopping mall, various restaurants and recreational facilities are open to citizens, presenting a scene of jollification. I love this country for the convenient life, the rapid growth rate and the optimism about the future she so ardently creates.

Let us move on to elegance and dignity. This thousand-year-old city wall still stands erect. Although the wall is no longer used for defense, its majesty shows no signs of waning. The ancient palace retains its magnificence, silently recounting those old glories. In a hundred-year-old temple, burning incense is continuously curling upwards, bearing locals’ aspiration for peace and prosperity. I love this country for her majesty and ancient beauty.

Muhsin's first day in China (third from the right is Muhsin) [Photo provided to]

Finally, I shift my focus to advancement. As a leader in information technology, China is proof of how technology reshapes lives. High-speed trains, running at speeds of over 300 km/h, lead the country to embark on the track of rapid development. Sharing economy is her new exploration in pursuit of low carbon and green development. E-commerce is not only changing people’s lifestyle, but also reshaping the country’s economic structure. I love this country for her advancement.

This country, with her beauty shown in thousands of postures and extremely fascinating charm, awaits on your exploration. Welcome here to find a different China in your eyes.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

My three innermost thoughts
By Daramola Adedolapo Ademola

[Nigeria] Daramola Adedolapo Ademola, Beijing Institute of Technology

Daramola Adedolapo Ademola [Photo provided to]

The campus of Beijing Institute of Technology [Photo provided to]The campus of Beijing Institute of Technology [Photo provided to]The campus of Beijing Institute of Technology [Photo provided to]The campus of Beijing Institute of Technology [Photo provided to]

Dear China, your image is just like the cloudless blue sky in my heart. I will always remember the days when I stay in China, which is the best period of my life. Though there is a long way ahead, I hope I can join your hands forever.

If there is a bond between them, the two will meet across a thousand li

Everyone has a desire in the bottom of their hearts, which might be derived from the actual needs. Some stem from a dream, some are from fantasy, while others are from fate. This last kind is unstoppable because it acts in secret. We know nothing about it until that special moment comes. We find that if we do not pursue it, we lose ourselves.

The campus of Beijing Institute of Technology [Photo provided to]

On the afternoon of August 23, 2016, I sat alone in my room in Nigeria, listening to a recording downloaded from the internet. I could only speak a few Chinese words at that time. Meanwhile, I have downloaded a lot of foreign language recordings from the internet. I stammered to repeat the sentences in Chinese. But at that moment, I have tied up with the Chinese language.

From that day on, learning Chinese has become my unstoppable desire. Believe it or not, the Chinese language, which is regarded as the most difficult language in the world, has given me an irresistible charm. Learning Chinese finally leads me to this grand and beautiful land.

Time flies. One year passed without notice, during which I began to attend classes at the Confucius Institute and won the championship in my district after attending the “Chinese Bridge” language contest. Later I went to China to participate in the final competition as a Nigerian representative. I stayed in China for one month before my return.The bond between China and I becomes tight, as strong as a burning flame.

Based on reality, looking to the future

When my command of Chinese reached a relatively high level, I decided to study for an undergraduate degree in China. When I told my parents the decision, they said, “It’s your life, but don’t make rash decisions about your future.” At first they were reluctant to let me study abroad because I was our family’s “baby” and they didn’t want me to be that far from home. Meanwhile, I convinced my parents for good reasons and they eventually agreed and supported my study in China.

The campus of Beijing Institute of Technology [Photo provided to]

In September 2018, I was admitted by the Beijing Institute of Technology to study international economics and trade. As an international student, I faced a tough challenge when attending class because all the lessons were taught in Chinese. As a result, my Chinese classmates have a language advantage that cannot be ignored. But this is not an excuse, I and other international students worked hard to try to keep up with the teacher and to achieve a good result.

Besides of study, I also participate in various high-quality activities or competitions. For example, I worked as a host and participated in the Beijing- Tianjin-Hebei University Debate Competition for International students, Mandarin Star—Chinese Competition for International students, college sports games and so on. I was thrilled to know that my speech was published by Silk Road Encyclopedia magazine after attending the Silk Road Youth Forum. At this moment, I am very grateful to my alma mater for training me.

“Seek truth by virtue, pursue precision by learning”—the motto of the Beijing Institute of Technology will inspire me to eliminate all difficulties and keep moving forward.

The pendulum has swung back

After my arrival in China, I found huge changes have happened, which differed greatly from what I had watched in movies when I was young. I am glad to be one of the witnesses to see the rapid development of China, which has surprised the whole world.

The campus of Beijing Institute of Technology [Photo provided to]

I like the life in China, yearning to pay visits to scenic spots and historic sites. Somebody may wonder how I made it. I’ll tell him or her one sentence: It is not a big deal. Why do I say that? First, you can use Baidu map, which will intelligently navigate me to the place I want to visit. Second, traffic is particularly developed in China. I can make a ride-hailing appointment online; I can take the subway or bus travel. Third, China is so safe that I feel at ease both day and night. It is also worth mentioning that China’s online shopping is convenient. One can pick up the packages easily. It only takes 10 minutes to get the takeout through Meituan. Last but not least, China’s mobile payment is so great, just swipe your cell phone, everything will be done.What a miracle it is.

Today’s China has become the second-largest economy in the world, which also sets a good example for other countries to follow. In recent years, many countries are learning the experience of China. The best example is the development of multifunctional software, such as WeChat and Alipay. China’s development is like the rough waves of a sea, whose development is unstoppable.

China, what a great nation you are. As a international student, I am proud of you.

The campus of Beijing Institute of Technology [Photo provided to]

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

My connection with Chinese wisdom
By Cumen Niyazi

[Turkey] Cumen Niyazi, Peking University

Cumen Niyazi (L3) [Photo provided to]

My name is Cumen Niyazi from Turkey. When it comes to Turkey and China, the first thing that comes to people’s mind must be the Kebab and the Great Wall.People pay the most attention to delicacy and fun places in these two ancient civilizations. Many people do not understand China and Turkey enough or have a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding. I am no exception.

Apart from the school’s history classes and costume TV dramas, we know nothing about China’s 5, 000 years of history and what she is today. I have long been influenced by what others and media have said, and I had also some misunderstanding toward China in the past. Is China really what I thought?

Speaking of my relationship with China, I want to go back to the world civilization course I learned in middle school. I first came into contact with the ancient and long-standing Chinese culture, more accurately, Confucius and Lao- Tzu and their thinking. We have an old saying: “Wisdom is like the things that people have lost, you can see them wherever you pick them up.” (This sentence means that wisdom, regardless of which country, nationality and faith, is the common property of mankind.)

The campus of Peking University [Photo provided to]

In addition, my parents told me when I was a little child that “human beings are a family, the world is prosperous because of diversity.”Their words let me have great respect for wisdom and curiosity. From then on I began to contact the great wisdom of Chinese people, such as the thought of Confucius and Lao-Tzu. I also yearned to visit that mysterious land and contact the real philosophers and their wisdom.

After graduating from high school, I had the opportunity to come to China to study, so that I could slowly read the classics of the original text, research and tackle the fundamental and true face of its wisdom.

Arnold Toynbee, a famous British historian, once said that the 19th century belongs to Britain, the 20th century belongs to the US and the 21st century belongs to China. I think he’s right! It took only a few decades for China to go from a world-defying country to the world’s second-largest economy.

What’s different from other developed countries is China’s long history and culture. When we look at Chinese history, we will see that in East Asia (or in the cultural circle of Chinese characters) China represents a highly developed civilization for quite a long time.

Therefore, the efforts of the Chinese people are making now are in line with its tradition, such as the putting forward of “the Belt and Road Initiative” and “the Community of Shared Destiny for Mankind”. There are not a new approach to China, but rather a manifestation and continuation of traditional Chinese thought.

Speaking of Chinese thought, one would think that Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, especially the Confucianism, can stand it. Just as Confucius put it “Harmony is most precious”, and the spirit of kindheartedness bears universal value and significance. Chinese culture attaches great importance to and values the word “harmony”.

The campus of Peking University [Photo provided to]

We can all see this in The Analects, such as “A gentleman seeks harmony but not uniformity;” “Harmony is the most precious.”This is to say that we can be different, but cannot kill each other or infringe other’s legal rights. It is to emphasize that we are graceful because of our differences, and it is unacceptable to get rid of those with dissenting opinions. In one word, don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you.

The proposal of the community of shared destiny for mankind proposed by China proves that Chinese want peace and harmony and they want to help other countries to this end. That is to say to contribute to world peace and harmonious progress.

Finally, I would like to quote a sentence from the book Master Sun’s Art of War –“Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat”. I want to chang it into –“know yourself and others as well will enable you to communicate freely”. I hope that each of our foreign friends who study the Chinese language and culture can take the Chinese- foreign exchange as a responsibility to bridge China and the world. In this way, we can solve problems the world faces now.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

My whisper of love: China shines like rainbows
By Abdizhalilova Umsunai

[Kyrgyzstan] Abdizhalilova Umsunai, Minzu University of China

Abdizhalilova Umsunai [Photo provided to]

In the US movie Flipped, there was a line: “But every once in a while you find someone who’s iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare.” Chinese novelist Han Han once turned it to “斯人若彩虹,遇上方知有” which means When you find someone shines like rainbows, your flame of love grows. What a beautiful whisper of love! And I have the same feeling for this country: China shines like rainbows.

China Shines Like Rainbows: Red China

China is a warmhearted and harmonious country, and the red color has been soaked in all aspects of China and has become a symbol of the Chinese nation. Red lanterns are raised up during festivals; Red envelops containing gift money are given to newlyweds as a token of blessing… red is widely used as decoration and ornament. I remember I had heard of the saying, “If miracles have color, it must be China red.” In a complicated and fast-changing world today, China red is like a burning fire, breaking through the night sky and lighting the way forward for the Chinese people.

China red also represents China’s political power. In the 28 years before the founding of the People’s Republic of China, red represents the revolution and fight against oppression. In the 70 years after its founding, red symbolizes the political establishment and state power of the republic. Under the leadership of the Red Party, the Chinese people are united as one as they keep working hard in their modernization drive. In just 70 years, great changes have taken place in China.

The campus of Minzu University of China [Photo provided by Minzu University of China]

China Shines Like Rainbows: Green China

China is a country full of vigor and vitality, like a new green seed in the morning sun, sprouting out from under the ground, soaring up and thriving every single day. In 2009, China’s minimum basic monthly wage was a mere 800 yuan, and now, it has surpassed 1, 500 yuan, almost doubled, thus uplifting people’s living standards in a steady way. In China, people do not need to bring cash when going out.

With a mobile phone in hand, people can buy whatever they want using WeChat pay or Alipay, as almost all shops accept mobile payment with their eye-catching QR codes posted in the shops. Prevailing in the cities, China’s mobile payment revolution is now making inroads into villages across the country, bringing convenience and changes to the vast rural populace. In 2008, China’s first high-speed rail with a speed of 350 km/h was put into operation. In just 10 years, China has built up a crisscrossed network of high-speed rails across the country.

China has a vast territory. Its high-speed railway network facilitates people’s travel and business. China has already started to build high-speed railways abroad. It is predicable that there will soon be a huge transportation network across Asia, which will facilitate tourism and travel as well as cultural and business exchanges of many countries, thus achieving common prosperity.

The campus of Minzu University of China [Photo provided by Minzu University of China]

China Shines Like Rainbows: Blue China

China is a peace-loving and tranquil country with great tolerance. While cherishing its own independence, China does not seek military alliance or military expansion. It fully respects other countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, and is committed to peaceful co-existence, co-development and cooperation with all countries. Moreover, in recent years, China has been actively participating in international rescue and aid.

In 2005, when a major earthquake struck Pakistan, the Chinese government immediately donated $20. 5 million worth disaster-relief materials; in 2010, Haiti suffered a 7-magnitude earthquake, and the Chinese government donated 100 million yuan with no strings attached… such examples are too many to count. How cannot you but love China? Such a peaceful and great country, so tolerant as if accommodating all the noises and troubles of this world.

China looks like a country on the rainbow, glittering with red passion, green development, blue serenity, orange vitality and purple mystery… When I stepped on its mystic soils, my heart was full of yearning and timidity. And now I find this land is accepting me, giving me new opportunities and raising me up along with her. China shines like rainbows, and my love for her ever grows.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Discover the beauty of China
By Kalra Anmol Suresh

[India] Kalra Anmol Suresh, Zhejiang University

Kalra Anmol Suresh [Photo provided to]

Up to the year of 2019, it has been 13 years since I encountered China. In these years, I have traveled to all the scenic spots in Zhejiang Province, including famous mountains and rivers, and have been to some northern cities as well. I seem to be a China hand to others, but in fact, these years are too short for a thorough understanding of the profoundness of Chinese culture. China has a vast territory, a long history and rich culture.

Even now, I often find new Chinese elements and new cultural self-confidence, which are a perfect fusion of ancient Chinese traditional culture and modern culture.

Since ancient times,China has paid great attention to the cultivation of relations. It has always adhered to the foreign policy of “building a good neighborly relationship and partnership with neighboring countries” and strived to create a regional environment of peace and stability, equality and mutual trust, and cooperation and win-win with neighboring countries.

The campus of Zhejiang University [Photo provided to]

On the basis of this aim, the Belt and Road Initiative to seek cooperation and development among all countries have received a high consensus from all other countries. Since its introduction, the Belt and Road Initiative has continuously expanded cooperation areas and fields, tried and explored new modes of cooperation, and pursued development and improvement. Our university? has recently? organized activities related to this topic, in which I have participated.

For example, in May, under the teacher’s arrangement, I accepted an interview on the theme of the Belt and Road Initiative; and in June, led by the teachers we went to Ningbo to participate in the “The Belt and Road Initiative Promotion Conference of Zhejiang Province”. My biggest impression is that isn’t it beautiful for all sides to exchange culturally, scientifically and economically, and develop together?

Speaking of the beauty of China, the first kind is its external beauty. In recent decades, China has undergone enormous changes, becomes a fascinating modern country with continuous development. Thanks to the reform and opening-up policies and the joint efforts of the people, China now has many highly-modernized cities, excellent transportation infrastructures, good social security order and the beautiful environment characterized by symmetry and balance.

Although they say that “there is no scenery in a familiar place,” I will be shocked by the beauty of the eye-pleasing scenery of the Guazhu Lake in Shaoxing, the picturesque West Lake in Hangzhou, and the overwhelming cherry blossoms of our university. Then there is also the world-famous high-speed railway, both comfortable and safe, at which the world marvels and whose technology many countries want to learn. Owing to the high-speed railway, I can return to “my hometown” (Shaoxing) within 19 minutes and have a good time with my family.

The second kind is China’s inner beauty. China has a population of 1.4 billion. The per capita resources are relatively limited. That it cannot only guarantee the stability and unity of the people but maintain the stable development of the country, has to do, in addition to advanced technology and entrepreneurship, indisputably with the good and friendly qualities of the Chinese people and the excellent traditional culture. I feel that “hard-working and good” is a social representation of the core qualities of the Chinese people.

To some extent, the traditional Chinese culture is characteristically embodied by Mencius’s “benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom”. In the past 10 years I was in China, I have received all kinds of assistance from people around me, ranging from as minor as carrying luggage for me to as big as giving me spiritual guidance, all of which means the warmth of the country.

Kalra Anmol Suresh (center) attends the social practice activity held by Zhejiang University [Photo provided to]

Speaking of traditional culture, I participated in a very exciting event in May 2018, called the International Tea Competition. For this competition, we were trained for more than 10 days in glass tea brewing. Previously, there was nothing to pay attention to when I drank tea. But in the process of learning the tea ceremony, I realized that our elegant movements and gentle care of the tea could really affect the soup color, aroma and taste of the tea.

The tutor told us that, “There is art when there is tea in the heart, and where does art come from when there is no tea in heart? ” During the tea ceremony performance, such sound language as the clear traditional music and the timely and incisive explanations and such silent language as the elegant, gentle movements formed a dynamic and harmonious aesthetic atmosphere, which reflected the mutual unity of motion and stillness. The culture represented in the drinking of tea deeply moved me.

From the shyness and “ignorance” I had when I first came to China, to the understanding and experiencing of China I have now, I have fallen in love with every aspect of her.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

The good things we have lost
By Ipatenkova Yulia

[Russia] Ipatenkova Yulia, Northeast Normal University

Ipatenkova Yulia [Photo provided to]

Things we used to have

After the October Revolution in 1917, Russia entered a new era and the Soviet Union created one glorious monument after another in human history. From science and technology to culture, from industry to military, we have cracked down on fascism and confronted Western hegemony. As a powerful country of that era, we have guided the Chinese revolution and helped building a new China, with the two countries helping each other like neighbors, moving toward modernization.

The transformation you have created

The year 1949 witnessed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have achieved multiple breakthroughs following the principle of “wading across the stream by feeling the way.” Rising from a war-torn country, the diligent Chinese people have built the nation into a strong, independent and autonomous new China, which realized industrial development, launched reform and opening up in a short span of 70 years. A creative transformation helps China shake off the shadow of the Soviet Union and greatly surpass that once-powerful socialist power.

The campus of Northeast Normal University [Photo provided to]

The correct choice of history

When I first came to China to study in 2012, I found this country totally different from what the Russian textbooks depicted and the Russian people imagined. Words like “development”, “vitality” and “modernization” began emerging in my mind. After a period of adaptation and communication, I felt the strong influence of Chinese culture. This year marks the 7th year of my living in China, whose previous changes can be seen, and recent changes can be felt by and integrated into every corner of my life.

It is easy to feel the Chinese speed reflected by the shared culture and the high-speed railways, the Chinese efficiency by online payment, the Chinese quality by higher education, the Chinese environmental protection by garbage classification, and the Chinese responsibility by the Belt and Road Initiative. I regrettably find that Russia has fallen far behind in these areas every time when returning Russia, which will take several years to catch up.

During a trip to Russia, my Chinese boyfriend asked me why there were so many Soviet-era buildings on the road and why the economy wasn’t growing so fast ... I began to reflect on myself that we used to be very great in the era of Soviet Union, but later we lost some of our own essences, maybe because we failed to stick to our “original task”. For most Russian people who were born in the era of the Russian federation, we lack the Soviet complex that most Chinese people have. Being a China hand, I have discovered the greatness of the CPC in speeding up national development while I appreciate the beautiful scenery of China.

Sticking to the principles of Marxism, the CPC has kept innovating and adhered to a path of socialist development with Chinese characteristics. As a result, the once weak country reached the height that the Soviet Union has never reached. China remains true to its “original aspiration”, while we did not. What would our life be like if we persisted? Suddenly I feel that we have lost so many intangible and good things, which have helped China achieve fundamental changes. Only those who stick it out can achieve success.

The campus of Northeast Normal University [Photo provided to]

The times are writing

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. Against this background, when the leaders of the two countries decided to upgrade Sino-Russian relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, enriching new meaning and significance to the bilateral ties. I am glad to see more and more Russian students are appearing on Chinese campus, thanks to China’s policy to promote the exchanges between the two countries and their youths.

As a Chinese old saying goes “when three people walk together, one must learn from the other,” mutual study and communications are the foundation of future development. The Study not only means language learning but also spiritual improvement. Although the two countries have chosen different paths of development since the collapse of the Soviet Union, I firmly believe that they once had a beautiful past and also will have a brilliant future.

Telling Chinese stories well

Ten years ago, I was so confused when being admitted to the Chinese department and beginning to learn Chinese. It was impossible for me to predict how my life would be in the next decade. Today, China has become my second hometown due to my deep love of the Chinese language. As the choices we make every day will affect our future development, learning Chinese is such a turning point in my life, giving me an unprecedented prospect of life and an important opportunity to realize my value.

As a international student in the new era, I have the duty to introduce Russian culture to China and vice versa. It would be a great honor to give full play to my role as an envoy of Chinese culture and tell Chinese stories well. In my opinion, foreigners who study in China also have their “initial aspiration” and “mission.” China has witnessed my growth, study and love.

The campus of Northeast Normal University [Photo provided to]

Happy birthday to the People’s Republic of China for her 70th anniversary! I witness your brilliance, you witness my growth!

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

An invitation letter from China
By Watson Saskia Chan'el

[South Africa] Watson Saskia Chan'el, Shenzhen University

Watson Saskia Chan'el in Guangzhou [Photo provided to]

Dear young Saskia Chan'el,

Hi! I know you're busy preparing for the college entrance exams in South Africa right now, but I really want to write and talk to you as you’ll be flying to China in the near future!

I want to tell you that in a few months you will embark on your first long journey alone, flying 12,000 kilometers to China, your future home. I want to tell you that when you set foot on the land of China, your life will be bound up with the nation and changed forever.

Watson Saskia Chan'el [Photo provided to]

You will find a country with a very different culture from your own country, listen to a harmonious and pleasant language that you don't understand at all, try a lot of food with perfect combination of color, taste and appearance that' you don’t always like, and appreciate the charm of a seaside city with long summers.

You will come to a city known as "come and then you become a native of Shenzhen," where you will study, live and make friends with students from all over the world! You will listen to the sound of cicadas to spend endless hot summer days. You will sit around with friends to eat barbecue or spicy hot foods, and enjoy happy nights in KTV singing. Before you know it, you'll find yourself immersed in the city and falling in love with the land and its kind, warm and friendly people.

You may go to a city called Chengdu, where you'll experience the boisterous sounds of Kuanzhaixiang (Broad and Narrow Alley), the bustling traffic of Chunxi Road, and the exuberant atmosphere of bring lights at nights.

While sipping green tea, you will taste Three Cannon (sticky rice cake, local food that makes the sound of cannon during the production process) and Juntun Pancake (local food made of flour), and marvel at the mystery of the changing faces of Sichuan opera. You will ascend to the golden summit of Mount Emei and be rewarded with the magnificent and heaven-like view in the clouds. The glowing ray of sunrise in the morning will galmorize the entire sky into a majestic landscape painting.

When you finally leave, you will find that you enjoy the peace and leisure in the dense fragrance of cover bowl tea. Chengdu, a city in Sichuan, noted as a land of abundance, captures your heart and soul with its prosperity, beauty, leisure and idle life style.

The campus of Shenzhen University [Photo provided to]

You may also visit a city called Guangzhou, where you'll learn to haggle with vendors in clothing markets and taste typical Cantonese morning tea (local breakfast). When you first taste the chicken feet that are cooked to be so delicious, your surprised look makes friends laugh with a glee. When you take a night cruise on the Pearl River, you will be amazed at the light show with the image of fishes projected on the "slim waist" (nickname of the Canton Tower, a narrow and tall building). The fishes seem to swim around you shuttle, and the Canton Tower is like a guardian angel of the ocean to stand tall in front of you.

Your best Chinese friends may take you on a tour to Huizhou, her hometown. You'll see a historic city with such a deep cultural heritage. It's amazing to observe that the local business miracle was made by young artists. When you see the various cultural creative projects of local enterprises, the innovative and refreshing atmosphere will make you wonder how art and commerce can be so skillfully blended. You will be amazed at how history and modernity can have such perfect fusion. You'll also harbor natural love for the people of Huizhou and even wonder if you'll be able to do your part for Huizhou in the future.

The campus of Shenzhen University [Photo provided to]

Dear young Saskia Chan'el, I want you to know that you will have many adventures in your life, but studying in China will be a fresh and unique experience that you will never forget! I want to tell you how much you will enjoy learning Chinese language and culture in the future. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step", please accept the invitation from China so as to tell Chinese legendary stories well to the South African people!

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

A discarded return ticket
By Ouattara Sie

[Côte d’Ivoire] Ouattara Sie, Beijing University of Technology

Ouattara Sie goes to primary school to attend activities. [Photo provided to]

In August 2006, I departed from a remote West African country – Côte d’Ivoire – to study in Beijing, China. Before my departure, I had booked a round-trip air ticket valid for three months due to many anxieties in my mind, such as not speaking Chinese, worry of racial discrimination, fear of not adapting to new life.

However, I decided to cancel that return ticket after a month of studying in the Chinese capital city. Now, I have been studying and working in Beijing for 15 years, and every time I think of this scrapped return ticket, my heart is full of infinite emotions, joy, satisfaction and happiness...

Study in China, a blending of bitter and sweet

The first time I entered into the campus of Beijing University of Technology, I felt in love with the modern teaching facilities and sports fields, and the clean and tidy accommodation environment. There are so many amiable teachers, warm-hearted and patient dormitory aunts and humorous and cheerful janitors. Although I couldn’t understand what they said to me, the smiles on their faces have always warmed my heart and soothed my anxiety after my arrival.

The teacher arranged a French-speaking international student to help me to adjust to the campus life at the Beijing University of Technology. He took me to every corner of the campus, visited supermarkets and parks around the university and shared with me his own study life. I watched him with great envy as he greeted and talked to the people he met in fluent Chinese. I made up my mind that I could also learn Chinese skillfully one day.

At first, I felt very embarrassed when learning Chinese. I couldn’t remember Pinyin and I failed to follow the stroke order of Chinese characters, so I was frustrated. I was the oldest student in the class. My classmates said to me, “Never give up, big brother!” I found that imitation and repeated practice were effective ways to learn Chinese. I then increased my study time outside of classes. I turned my dormitory door into my chalkboard and reviewed the vocabulary I had learned that day from 3:00-4:30 pm every day.

I often chatted with aged Chinese people strolling on the campus so that I could practice the vocabulary I had learned. Slowly my Chinese got better and better, and I learned a lot of vocabulary from the ordinary people after class.

I felt very warm in my heart, and I also understood the saying “you can rely on your parents at home and your friends outside” in real life. My classmates were amazed at my progress and said to me, “Brother, you are our role model!” My teacher said, “Shea, you’re making great progress!” Listening to these encouraging words, I feel happier than eating honey.

The group photo of Ouattara Sie and the graduates of Beijing University of Technology [Photo provided to]

At the Beijing University of Technology, I have completed my preparatory course, master’s and PhD studies, and then applied for postdoctoral research. Artificial intelligence is my research interest. I have participated in my supervisor’s 973 project, Beijing Natural Science Foundation project.

My research and practical ability in the field of vision system and control system has been greatly improved. On weekends, I would invite my friends to my house, cook hometown food for them and introduce the culture of my home country.

During my living in China, I met many teachers and classmates who had given me patient guidance and assistance in my studies and life.

For many years, I have kept in touch with them. On my mentor’s birthday, I planned a birthday party with my fellow classmates and sent him sincere wishes; when my classmates left school after graduation, we had a farewell dinner together at the school’s canteen; when my classmates made success in their jobs after graduation, we exchanged good wishes in a WeChat group...

My love with China goes on in new era

I still remember the first time I stepped out of the Beijing Capital International Airport in 2006, I saw a lot of skyscrapers and flashing neon lights, wide roads and busy traffic.

I could only take pictures with my digital camera because there were no smartphones at that time. I couldn’t wait to take lots of pictures in China World Trade Center, Central Business District, Wangfujing, Tiananmen Square, Xidan and send them to my friends and parents, who couldn’t believe this is China.

In 2008, Beijing successfully held the 29th Summer Olympic Games, which attracted the attention of the world, and China’s influence parallel to that of developed countries in Europe and North America.

I found that there were more international students in my neighborhood. More and more young foreigners, like me, came to Beijing to study. In 2014, the APEC Summit was held in Beijing. Since then, the blue sky in Beijing has become more frequent, the subway is getting more accessible, and the gap between Beijing and the world metropolises has been significantly shortened.

In 2018, Beijing successfully held the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and I had the honor to participate in the reception of our president. As an African, I am deeply inspired and I want to pass the baton of China-Africa friendship and contribute in the construction of the China-Africa community of shared destiny.

During the past decades, I’ve witnessed the speed, power and spirit of China. The year of 2010 saw the emergence of WeChat, which altered the perception of interpersonal communication; the development of Taobao, Jingdong and Meituan, which led to a radical change in shopping and life.

I gradually integrated into each new development, cherished the unexpected surprises, and constantly made progress by changing myself and becoming stronger.

During my study in China, I met my current wife, an authentic Chinese girl. After the test of time, we walked hand in hand into marriage. I am now a foreign teacher at Beijing University of Technology, and I manage to help young international students who have the beautiful dream of China like me, assist them to plan their academic development and learn Chinese culture.

Together with them, I can experience the rapid development of China! Together with them, I portray our different Chinese love stories!

I want to express my gratitude to the discarded air ticket because it not only makes my live experience rich and wonderful and makes my work happy and meaningful, but also makes my life sweet and happy.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Feeling the vastness and appreciating the magnificence of China
By Biggers Sauli

[Malawi] Biggers Sauli, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Biggers Sauli [Photo provided to]

This is a new era with well-developed internet, through which obtaining information has become quick and convenient. Some people believe that it is possible to know a country or place by spending a little time searching on the internet, and the actual visit is no longer necessary. I thought so as well before I came to China.

However, what I have realized after coming to China is that this country is totally different from what I had imagined. Media can offer a glimpse of China, but what have been reported can be subjective because the media are used to presenting those favourable or beneficial for itself. Therefore, I think the only way to deeply understand a country is to experience and discover it by yourself.

Here, I would like to share my impressions and feelings for China before and after I came to this country, from three aspects.

The first thing I would like to talk about is the freedom of religion. Before coming to China, as a traditional Christian, I can still remember the concerns of both my family and myself about whether my religious relief would be accepted in China. According to my “research”, some people said that the religious groups are oppressed in China, while some suggested that they did not know much about the real situation.

Now I have been in China for two years and a half, and I have never been oppressed because of my belief. What amazes me as well as my family and friends most is that I can go to church as I used to. This has altered our previous perceptions that the Chinese have no religious beliefs and no churches could be found in China. My current feeling of China is that it is a very inclusive country. Although most Chinese do not have specific religious beliefs, no one will interfere with those who want to find or already have religious faiths.

Huazhong University of Science and Technology Library [Photo provided to]

The second is the socialist system. I feel that not only my compatriots and I at the time, but also many people especially those in non-socialist countries, do not understand the real socialism in China. This may have something to do with the news about China reported by the overseas media. Thus, many people hold the dark or negative perception of socialism without a true picture of China and the socialism in this country.

They stubbornly believe that the ordinary people and the media in China do not have their freedom of speech, which however, has never been seen during my stay in China. In fact, everything I have observed and experienced here makes me admire socialism. This country is highly responsible and its government always puts the people’s interests at the top priority. This is particularly true in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in China. Even the foreigners like us have received thoughtful care, which is not usual in other countries. Therefore, I feel that China’s socialism is the best.

Thirdly, China is a beautiful and marvellous country. I had heard about the rapid development of China before coming here, and I had disappointedly guessed: Has the beautiful scenery already been destroyed? Surprisingly, I have seen countless gorgeous scenery on the vast land of China. In these two and a half years, I have climbed the Great Wall, visited the West Lake and had a great time in Wuhan.

I am always fascinated by the beauty of everywhere I have been to. China is completely different from what I had imagined, and it’s incredible! Besides, China’s marvellousness is also reflected in its technological and economic development. The Chinese economy has boomed rapidly in a short period of time and the technology has progressed faster and faster – you can see these everywhere if you live in China.

Shao Li (fourth from the right) took part in the recitation competition. [Photo provided to]

What makes me finally fall in love with China is the enthusiasm and regular life of the Chinese people. Students educated in China exhibit distinctive characteristics. They are punctual and they have great passion about their study and work. They are clear about what to do and what they are doing.

All in all, if you want to understand a place or a certain culture, be there and experience it by yourself. China has now become my second hometown. Let’s feel the vastness of China, appreciate the magnificence of China and keep the beauty of China in our hearts forever.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

My “cloud meeting” with China
By Ong Wei Yee

[Malaysia] Ong Wei Yee, Zhejiang University

Ong Wei Yee (R) and her classmate [Photo provided to]

After graduated from high school in 2019, I received the admission letter from Zhejiang University with my dreamy expectations for China. I felt very excited because I had never left my country before. As I was longing for my university life, the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in a year-long online study.

Totally different from a brick and mortar college life, I never realized that my campus life in China could be on cloud. It’s weird that the distance between me and China is both near and far. With such a feeling, I can’t wait to fly to China to experience local customs and practices.

My life as a freshman just kicked off with my online study began, and my “cloud meeting” with China also started. I would “meet” with my teachers and classmates everyday via Zhiyun App, an online learning software of Zhejiang University. However, it’s unfair that I clearly remember the face of my teachers, while the teachers don’t even have an impression on me, which is a shortcoming of online learning.

Fortunately, the popularization of the internet allows me to have the opportunity to communicate with my teachers and classmates, and to submit schoolwork and download materials via “Learning in ZJU,” an online studying platform of Zhejiang University. “Learning in ZJU” is like a little butler who manages miscellaneous affairs during my study.

Although learning online never impedes my study, it always makes feel less authentic than studying in China. I believe that if I could really be in China to study, it could be a totally different experience.

During my study, I found that China has many apps and websites that are convenient and helpful in study, such as WizNote, and Jiumo Search, saving me a lot of efforts in doing my schoolwork. There are more online tools in ZJU’s website, and I finally got the chance to use all the editing and design apps I’ve been long admiring for.

Besides, ZJU provides us various databases and resources so that you can find everything you want to learn. Internet technology in China is really something I haven’t even imagined before. In the communication with my Chinese classmates, I found that everyone is perseverance in their schoolwork, because they are not only hold a serious attitude, but also pursue perfection.

I admire their academic spirit, and the excellent schoolwork shared by the teacher in the class always open a new horizon for me, break the boundary of my knowledge, allow me to see different aspects, like the morning breeze blowing away misty fog.

There are certain obstacles to communicate with teachers and classmates during online classes, but it still can’t hinder my learning passion. In the offline class, besides several international students, most of my classmates are Chinese.

When there’s an online group assignment, I always find my teammates online. During the talking, I found that everyone has his or her own unique stories in China. Sometimes, I could be assigned to an offline group.

With the advanced internet technology, we are able to complete the assignment via Apps such as WeChat. Those chitchats after school makes me feel that everyone is very friendly, and some internet catchwords and local phrases in China are very funny that I’ve never tried in my home country.

China is enjoying a vigorous economy nowadays with plenty of work and internship opportunities. For example, Yiwu of Zhejiang Province is a paradise of small commodities, and a free activity held last summer vacation in Yiwu showed international students how the market operates.

But it is a pity that I am still abroad. There are also many volunteer activities in China, and I often see recruitment links shared in WeChat Moments. I even signed up to be a volunteer in the 2022 Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou.

With a vast territory and abundant resources, China really amazes me with its vigorous development. Just 40 years after the reform and opening-up, economic development in China has seen a fast growth, and it has become a holy place for learning for students around the world.

The abundant resources in China also wait for us to uncover and utilize, and its vast market is also worthy of exploitation and cooperation of overseas investors, especially China’s internet market. I believe there are still many opportunities waiting for us to uncover, and the involution nowadays is just temporary because the power and resources of innovations will make the industry develop again. I believe that the time China and Malaysia opening borders will be the time for me to truly embrace China.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Witness China’s development
By Esquivel Salguero Celia Judith del Rosario

[Guatemala] Esquivel Salguero Celia Judith del Rosario, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Esquivel Salguero Celia Judith del Rosario [Photo provided to]

I am from Guatemala in Central America, which is the cradle of the Maya civilization. I came to China in 2010. As a veteran traveler, I have visited many cities during my 10 years of living in China. I have not only appreciated China’s vastness but also witnessed its rapid development of economy and technology. I have ever visited some poor counties and witnessed how the poverty relief officials solved problems and did practical actions for the grassroots people. I have realized that the longer I live in China, the deeper affection I have for this country.

At the end of 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic began to attack Wuhan. I was terrified to realize that the “plague” had come when the municipal government of Wuhan announced the lockdown on January 23, 2020. The limited capacity of hospitals, the scarcity of medical resources, the rumors “Wuhan people – the symbol of virus” on the internet… all these things made my family in Central America extremely worried.

Many foreigners in Wuhan had left with the assistance of their embassies. But, I chose to stay, with firm belief that the Chinese government has the capability of emergency response and the Communist Party of China (CPC) would lead the Wuhan citizens and Chinese people to defeat the pandemic.

Esquivel Salguero Celia Judith del Rosario's graduation photo [Photo provided to]

On January 27, 2020, the third day after the Lunar New Year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang paid a visit to Wuhan. What arrived in Wuhan were countless vegetables and necessities donated as well as the medical teams from across the nation, helping the local people quickly tame the pandemic. As a witness of this “fight with the pandemic,” I have seen how the CPC Central Committee, with General Secretary Xi Jinping at the core, implemented and responded timely.

I have felt the abilities of governments at all levels to organize, coordinate and deal with crises. I have also witnessed how Chinese people, under the leadership of CPC, overcame difficulties and unified to defeat the pandemic. Coming through this baptism, admiration for Wuhan and China has grown in addition to my love for them.

What also greatly impresses me is the progress of China in the past decade, during which China’s technology has developed rapidly: the accomplishment of the lunar exploration program under the leadership of the CPC, the construction of the network of the Beidou Navigation Satellites System, the technological advances including the development and application of 5G technology, the high-speed railway network, the livelihood related projects such as the completeness of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge… all these achievements have attracted worldwide attention. During my stay in China, I have felt an improving quality of life and a growing sense of happiness.

The development of the grassroots is as essential as the economic and technological growth. China always concerns about its ordinary people. In 2020, Chinese government announced the complete eradication of extreme poverty. I lived for a period of time in Dahua Yao Autonomous County in Hechi city, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. I witnessed how the poverty relief officials went to the countryside and mountain areas and did practical actions for the grassroots.

The government offered free buildings to the needy, whose living environment significantly improved. Each poverty relief official was assigned specific households to support and assist, with his name appeared on those households’ door plates. I have also visited some local residents, experiencing their routine life, dancing, singing and sharing their joy of a better life.

Esquivel Salguero Celia Judith del Rosario (R) learns Chinese opera. [Photo provided to]

In my 10 years of living in China, I have witnessed China’s rapid development of technology and economy, the success in poverty alleviation and eradication, Chinese people’s positive attitude exhibited during the fight against COVID-19 pandemic under the leadership of the CPC.

The CPC as I see, is a party that serves people wholeheartedly without being afraid of hardship and tiredness. In return, it is deeply loved and esteemed by its people. I believe, in the future, I will witness more and more miracles of China. At the same time, I will become a practitioner, doing my best to tell the wonderful stories of China.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Engrave your name in my heart — China
By Ðào Thị Ngẩn

[Vietnam] Ðào Thị Ngẩn, Harbin Engineering University

Ðào Thị Ngẩn [Photo provided to]

Different people have different impression on China. For me, China is a country with long history. It has magnificent Great Wall, splendid Palace Museum and Tiananmen Square. It also has beautiful Dali city and poetic ancient town of Fenghuang. In my dreams, China is the spicy hot-pot, crispy and delicious roasted duck, and al dente Chongqing noodles. Thousands of scenes make up a country with enjoyable smell, taste and sights. Today I will bring you to China alive in my memories.

I am sure you have heard the two old Chinese sayings: “Just as there is paradise in heaven, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on Earth;” “East or West, Guilin scenery is the best.” The two sayings are praising Suzhou, Hangzhou and Guilin for their beautiful scenery like paradise. Every season in China brings us different scenery and enjoyment. In spring there is soft breeze, in summer fresh rain, in autumn blue sky and in winter cold and white snow.

China also has diversified culture customs with inclusive, long and extensive historical heritages, covering diversified traditional ideologies and thoughts. China has many traditional festivals, such as the Lantern Festival, Qingming Festival and Dragon Boat Festival. Among all these festivals the most important and magnificent one is the Spring Festival when people get together with their families, have delicious meals together and chat after a year of busy work and study. In the Spring Festival people can always enjoy their family life.

I started to know more about Chinese flowers after browsing on the internet. I know that peonies have a special position in the history of Chinese culture. Peonies are large flowers, symbolizing richness and magnificence. Their strong adaptability is like the characters of Chinese people.

No matter what kind of environment they are in, they can develop themselves well. A famous Chinese poem praises Peonies: “Who is the master of the youth in spring? Peonies always take the lead among all blossoms!” Peonies are grand, glamorous but not vulgar. They have a manner and attitude like a great nation.

The campus of Harbin Engineering University in winter [Photo provided to]

Slowly I get to know more about China and I find more fun. China has unforgettable scenery and hospitable people. Last year I was so lucky that I won a scholarship for International Teachers of Chinese which granted me a chance to study for one year at Ha’erbin Engineering University. Due to the pandemic, I could not walk with my own feet into this country which I had admired for so long.

However, teachers of the university still managed to bring us into China through internet. We saw the apricot flowers of the university in spring, the charming Central Avenue of Ha’erbin, red leaves in the autumn and colorful ice lamps in winter, as if we were seeing this magical land in real person. Though we did not step our feet onto this land and did not meet each other face to face, our teachers, with their passion, hard-working and preciseness, were using the internet to lead us feel its vitality and beauty.

On the other end of the internet, I seemed to have tried the delicious food in my dreams and have seen the magnificent buildings which I had imagined many times. My image of China became more and more specific and clear. China has become a familiar name to me, engraved in my heart, attracting me to pursue more of its charm.

Looking back upon the past year, I’ve gained a lot. However, there were also unfulfilled wishes. I wish I could come to China in person one day after the end of the pandemic to pursue my study and to experience the beauty and charm of China. Pursue my dream, leave my love and start another brand-new life in China.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Seeing China
By Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Ánh

[Vietnam] Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Ánh, Guangxi University

Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Ánh [Photo provided to]

As the saying goes, “One picture is worth than a thousand words.” During the years of my study in China, I am honored to witness the strength of China and its rapid development.

Reading the Chinese history, I see the successful development of the “two bombs and one satellite”, because of which China owns the ability to become a protector of world peace and to visit the outer space as a regular guest; I see the successful cultivation of hybrid rice that is known as “the second green revolution”, because of which China has solved the problem of food self-supply and safeguarded world food security; I see the COVID-19 epidemic in the past two years, during which China has given the world a lot of help and experience in the prevention and control of the epidemic, vaccine development, resumption of work and production, etc.

As an international student, I have witnessed and experienced the rapid development of China and its power during my study in China. Naturally, the most direct experience is the convenience of daily life.

First of all, the convenience in transportation. Take Nanning, the city where I study, as an example. I see two railway stations, Nanning Station and Nanning East Station, which can reach Guangzhou to the east, Beijing to the north, Kunming in Yunnan to the west, and Qinzhou and Beihai to the south.

Whenever I wanted to travel, I would take out my phone and book a ticket, get on the high-speed railway, and experience the “China speed” while looking at the scenery outside the window comfortably and relaxedly.

In downtown Nanning, I see that the city transportation extending in all directions. Metro lines 1, 2, 3 and 4 have been put into operation, and line 5, airport line and Wuming line will be opened one after another in the future. The main subway lines are distributed vertically and horizontally, which greatly improves the speed of the city’s people flow.

Buses, which have become auxiliary tools after the metro operation, are also densely spread on both sides of the road. Shared bicycles that can be seen everywhere effectively solve the last-mile problem of people’s travel, which are not only convenient and cheap, but also bring people a lot of fun of riding.

The second thing that I would like to talk about is the convenience of shopping in China. I see that people can shop without leaving home by simply logging into Taobao, JD, Meituan and other APPs with their phones.

At the same time, the express logistics can deliver the purchased goods to your doorstep within a certain time limit, which is so convenient! In addition, China’s third-party payment is especially developed. You can pay by scanning WeChat or Alipay. How safe and fast!

Besides, I see that the Chinese government is efficient. I see that the Chinese police and urban management personnel are very professional. I see that the level of medical care and service in China is very high. What’s most amazing is the modern life which is full of high technology and the safe and friendly social environment in China.

“A straw shows which way the wind blows.” The changes in clothing, food, housing and transportation of the Chinese people are a reflection of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. However, these achievements are certainly not made overnight.

The campus of Guangxi University [Photo provided to]

I know that they are achieved with the continuous hard work, unity and struggle of the industrious, brave and wise Chinese people, led by the Chinese Communist Party, step by step, and generation after generation. This year, the Chinese people are welcoming the 100th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party with enthusiasm and determination. I see that China, closely knitted and united, is moving toward the next great goal.

See China, and appreciate China. The more I see, the more I am amazed. The more I appreciate, the more I love it. During the several years of studying abroad, I have seen a lot, I have seen many aspects, and I have seen a most real China. I’m honored to witness the prosperity of a country.

My heart is full of amazement, excitement, hopes and wishes. I hope that after graduation, I can work in a China-related job, so that I can not only often return to China, but also contribute to the friendship between Vietnam and China. I wish that China will continue to write a new chapter in the new era and provide more experiences for and make more contributions to the development of the world.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Strive for the development of China and Rwanda
By Joselyne Umulisa

[Rwanda] Joselyne Umulisa, Donghua University

Joselyne Umulisa [Photo provided to]

I grew up in an African family with open thoughts. I loved travelling since I was a child, and I love adventures and enjoy all kinds of fun. Exploring the world has been my dream since I turned 20. I often traveled to other countries adjacent to Rwanda and found in each trip that these cities/countries were advanced to ours in some aspects.

I often attended seminars in our cities. I heard of industrial revolution of China one day when I was attending a seminar about Gender and Enterprise Development held by the World Bank. I got to know that most manufacturing industries in the world had been transferring to China. I got excited by the news and wanted to know more about that country. Since then I tried every means to know more about China.

Later I contacted Eric Haguma, who was a friend of our family and graduated from Shanghai University. He was then working in a Malaysian information and technology company in Shanghai. I told him that I wanted to study in China. He helped me get in touch with a full-enlisted student of Environmental Science and Engineering College in Donghua University in Shanghai, Francis Ruzagiliza.

My communication with Francis helped me see the direction of my dream much clearer. He was one of the students funded by Shanghai municipal government and he encouraged me to apply for the scholarship and come to study in Donghua University. I submitted all the documents required for applying for the university.

I was surprised when I got an email very soon, which said that I won a scholarship for pursuing a master degree of Chinese language in Donghua University funded by Shanghai municipal government. This was a valuable opportunity for me to know more about China. I was more than happy.

The campus of Donghua University [Photo provided by Miao Junfeng]

When my excitement of getting the scholarship subdued a bit, I became curious about how it would be living thousands of miles away from my home country. I asked lots of questions and began browsing on the internet about life in China. I prepared for my trip to China, excited and nervous. After about 20-hour flight, I finally landed my dream city, Shanghai. When I arrived at Shanghai, I was warmly welcomed by an official of international exchange. My study in China officially started.

My study in Donghua University was full of challenges and opportunities. I was the only one from Rwanda in my class and had no experience living abroad. I was also trying my best to balance between study and social life and to break the stereotyped image foreigner students had been imposed on. I came from a traditional African community and it was hard for me to understand students from other backgrounds at the beginning.

I was shy sometimes and was afraid of communicating with others. However, living in the foreigner student apartment in the university was an exciting experience, because there were always diversified activities such as study groups, culture activities and various competitions. In the diversified campus activities, I met across various people from different backgrounds and nationalities. They came from different culture and religious belief. It was not easy to fit in the campus life here at first.

However, I tried my best to listen and learn in and after classes. I followed courses to learn Chinese and I exchanged and shared experience with my classmates. To my surprise I found that there was more similarities than differences and we shared the same value and belief.

This study experience enabled me grow into an open and inclusive people and helped me better understand and respect other cultures more. I began to know more and fall in love with China and Chinese culture. I actively participated in campus activities, such as language practice, culture festivals, seminars and culture experience. I won prizes for outstanding performance, which gave me more confidence and fondness of my life in the university.

After passing the language test, I was officially enrolled into a college to study my major courses. My second precious chance came, that is, the 6-month Shanghai EXPO was held. I got a cooperation chance with the Federal Republic of Somalia as a business manager.

This was a challenging position, and I tried my utmost to get adapted to the working environment in China. At the beginning, due to lack of managing Chinese colleagues and lack of experience in handling complicated tasks, I was exhausted in dealing with the ever-increasing inquiries and reception of visitors in the Hall of Somalia during Shanghai EXPO.

Fortunately, I got lots of help from my boss, the general ambassador of the Federal Republic of Somalia. With united teamwork, we worked as a team and successfully completed the project and achieved our mission. This experience has improved my work capability and laid a solid foundation for my later work.

The campus of Donghua University [Photo provided by Miao Junfeng]

I started my graduation papers from end of 2010 and beginning of 2011. I also got an offer working for the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in Beijing. I was at a loss, not sure if I could be capable of working for the embassy in Beijing while at the meanwhile finishing my graduation papers. Waves of questions with no answers kept popping into my mind then: Will I put myself into financial and security risks if I go to work for the embassy leaving my study aside; will I lose my scholarship or will my graduation be delayed?

Lucky enough, after consulting my teachers in International Culture Exchange college in Donghua University, I got their full support and finally accepted the challenge. It proved to be the best decision in my career life. I then moved to Beijing Youth Hotel. I worked hard from Monday to Friday and I discussed my graduation papers with my tutor in Donghua University from Friday night to Monday night.

Fortunately with the help of my tutor, I completed my graduation papers successfully and graduated in 2012. I dedicated my heartfelt gratitude to our vice chancellor Wu Xiaojun and my tutor Professor Bao Xinren, who had provided continuous support and guidance to my career development.

Now I am a full employee of Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda and the personal assistant of the ambassador. I manage the ambassador office through cultural exchange, supervise all business functions such as cooperation agreements and business proposals, promote mutual beneficial diplomatic policies of Rwanda, maintain mutual and multi-lateral cooperation and promote cultural and talent exchange.

I am also one of the founders of Rwanda-China Alumni Organization, which has been run by graduates studying in China. It aims to help Rwanda promote health, education and welfare and create employment opportunities. It raises funds to help disadvantaged people nationwide.

Since its founding, it has held lots of activities influencing local communities, for example, donate TVs and food for Rwanda Refugee Camps, buy medical insurance for more than 300 people lacking social welfare, and visit and support in cash Association of Genocide Widows Agahozo (AVEGA). To better benefit the society, I become a member of The Commonwealth Society of Beijing (CSB). The CSB was founded in 1993 by female diplomats from the commonwealth countries and other people devoted to charity causes.

It has been widely acknowledged today and has more than 200 members. The CSB has donated more than 3 million yuan to multiple poor communities in China through the following organizations: China Charity Federation, All-China Women’s Federation, Xiajin Special Education, Xiajin Village of Dezhou in Shandong Province and Tongzhou Care Center.

Finally, but not least, I must tell the world that I am so lucky to receive my education in a well-known university in China. I am much thankful to the help and support Chinese people have given me and I believe that there will be more cooperation opportunities between Rwanda and China in the future.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

My beautiful encounter with China
By Cicione Margherita

[Italy] Cicione Margherita, Chongqing University

Cicione Margherita [Photo provided to]

Since the minute I was on board on my first flight to the East, I had been imagining how Chongqing, the new world which I would soon meet a dozen hours later, looked like. I looked forward with excitation to the life expanding before me. It has been seven years since my first amazing trip to the city Chongqing.

When I finally landed in Chongqing, I saw an amazing city with diverse charms. It was a city of mountains, a city of bridges, a city of hot pots and a city of Bangbang (long and strong sticks to help carry packages). It was also a modern city with a great number of skyscrapers and leisure parks. It had thousands of colors and millions of delicious specialities. For example, for peppers only, there were red, green and even black peppers. The first impression Chongqing had on me was “fear”.

I was worried and unsettled almost into tears, as if I was exiled to a new world, nothing similar to Europe. China made my daily life into chaos. I had a deep breath and told myself, “Margherita, this is a self challenge. Believe yourself. You will soon get used to China after only six months.” I felt headache when reading articles in Chinese and my stomach also ached when eating food with too much spices. Chongqing is a very big city and I was often fearful that I would get lost.

Cicione Margherita at Chongqing University [Photo provided to]

Fear was soon replaced by curiosity. I found that there were spicy and hot delicacies besides salty and sweet food. The potatoes I found in the dishes turned out to be lotus roots and red beans could be made into sweet paste. I started to ask myself many questions about China: Why ancient and modern China can be perfectly merged? Why people can keep perfect balance between haste and ease? Why I feel welcomed and protected even in such a big city? Why every thing is moving forward, changing and evolving?

I found clues to some of the questions in my university life and in talking with Chinese people during some get-togethers. I travelled to a number of cities, such as Beijing, Nanjing, Guiyang, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen. I learned the diversity of Chinese cities in these trips. There were distinct differences in food, attitude, life style and language in different areas in China.

I began to know more about China from books and then verified the knowledge when travelling. I stopped looking at China from a Westerner’s perspective. Instead I tried to look at China with eyes of Chinese. I knew I was being changed or even transformed by the new life in China.

Curiosity soon turned into merging. I felt at ease with Chongqing very soon. The hustle and bustle of life became pleasant music, the irritating spicy hot-pot became delicious, small-bowl rice which had previously been nothing to me now became a must, some strange places became familiar and the Chongqing tone which had been hard to understand now became pleasing tune.

My home was there, with a window from which I enjoyed shadows of skyscrapers at night, a bed with sweet dreams and a kitchen where I cooked dumplings. All simple trifles in daily life made me happy. I wish I could stay in China longer. Therefore I extended my 6-month studying to four and a half years.

Cicione Margherita at the university for graduation day [Photo provided to]

I became a captive of Chongqing. I smiled brighter, and I grew softer and stronger. Life in China motivated me into high spirits. Sometimes I asked myself if I was worthy of such a beautify life. My previous understanding of China slowly changed and I grew some new habits now, for example, I drank nice hot tea instead of cocola now, I loved softer Mantou (Chinese steamed bread) more than bread, and I used chopsticks easier than forks.

Several days before my flight back to Italy, I visited for the last time places I frequented in Chongqing, ate my favorite specialities and took a picture with the home which I had stayed for more than four years. I feared time would blur my memories about China. However, I believed that time could never erase the memories because my mind and heart would keep a special place for those memories forever.

Now though back in Italy, I often felt I was still connected to China thousand of miles away with a thin string tight in my hands. I had to admit I was deeply attached to China. Somebody may think this was quite incredible, however it was so true to me.

Cicione Margherita in Beijing [Photo provided to]

Now I am writing this article while drinking hot water (a habit of Chinese people), and I realize that I am not only Margherita in Italy, but also Moli (meaning Jasmine in Chinese) in China. The flight taking me to Chongqing seven years ago changed my identity and also transformed my life. This is my beautiful encounter with Chongqing, China.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

If you give me a crayon
By Đặng Thùy Dung

[Vietnam] Đặng Thùy Dung, China University Of Geosciences(Wuhan)

Đặng Thùy Dung [Photo provided to]

If you give me a crayon and ask me to paint China, I would like to select a red one when I was 5 years old. As far as I can remember, whenever people around me talked about China, I would think of Chinese restaurants and Chinese shops everywhere in Vietnam. These venues were always pasted with red papercuts on windows and red couplets. A pair of red lanterns were hung under the shop sign. My parents told me all Chinese people like red color as they think it symbolizes good luck. “Oh, red China! I do remember.”

If you give me a crayon and ask me to paint China, I would like to select a yellow one when I was 10. At the age of 10, our school had a Confucius class and we got a pretty Chinese teacher. She taught us Pinyin, Chinese characters and told us historical stories of China. From her I learned that China has such a long history with yellow as a very powerful color.

Some emperors of ancient China were dressed in yellow, because it is the color of dragon that represents light and power. From her, I knew an emperor named Li Longji, who brought China into the “Great Reign of Kaiyuan.” During his reign, many countries sent people to China to study. “Oh! Yellow China! It was already so powerful thousands of years ago.”

Yellow Crane Tower [Photo provided to]

If you give me a crayon and ask me to paint China, I would like to select a blue one when I was 13. In 2014, I always read some online reports about China’s environment. Some of them said that the sky in Beijing was gray, which they claimed to be smog and lead to many health problems. I was really worried about Chinese people living in Beijing, especially my Chinese teacher who had been back to Beijing.

I don’t want her to get sick because of smog and wished she could come back to Vietnam. I emailed her but was told my concern was no necessary as the sky in Beijing is the same as in Vietnam. I didn’t believe it until I watched a video about APEC meeting broadcasted on TV. A reporter of Vietnam was reporting news in a square of Beijing and behind him the sky was crystal blue. The pure and enchanting blue is the same as what you can view at the seaside of Vietnam. I need not worry about my Chinese teacher anymore. “Oh, blue China! It is not like what other countries described.”

The campus of China University of Geosciences, Wuhan [Photo provided to]

If you give me a crayon and ask me to paint China, I would need more than one when I was 18. I won scholarship and came to Wuhan in China’s Hubei Province for preparatory study. As soon as I entered school, I was surrounded by a large stretch of green. I thought so many trees could only be seen in universities of China; Unexpectedly, when I settled down in my dormitory and strolled around Wuhan with my compatriots, I found that the whole city was woven with green. Both roads and alleys are planted with trees. The green everywhere makes me feel that Wuhan is a city in the forest. Besides green, I would also select gray color to paint cities in China.

It is not because the sky in Wuhan is gray. Instead, the sky here is as blue as Beijing showed on TV five years ago. I use gray because there are too many gray overhead bridges. I’ve never seen so many cars on the road in any city of Vietnam, which are like dragons flying freely. If you ask me what color is proper for painting Chinese people, I will say without hesitation, “Give me an orange crayon please.” Why? Orange is the color of the sunshine, which makes you feel warm and kind. When I just arrived in China, my pronunciation of Chinese was not good enough.

Though I learned Chinese for a long time, I seldom communicated with others in Chinese in my daily life except I had to in class. I felt a little embarrassed every time I spoke Chinese outside school. I bought milk tea outside and was asked by the vendor, “Where are you from? I guess you are from Guangxi, aren’t you?” I replied, “In fact I am an overseas student from Vietnam. I am sorry that my pronunciation isn’t good.” The vendor was very surprised and expressed my Chinese was fluent.

He even said my putonghua is better than many Chinese people. From then on, I no longer felt inferior for my pronunciation and even took the initiative to participate in the school reading contest. I found no matter where I speak with Chinese, they always warm my heart with praise. “Oh, Chinese people are of the color of the sunshine.”

The campus of China University of Geosciences, Wuhan [Photo provided to]

I am 19 years old this year. Last year I passed the preparatory examination with a full score in Chinese. Though I had to kick off my university life online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I do know I will see China very soon as Wuhan is now the safest city in the world. When I return to Wuhan, I will carry on painting China with crayons for my family and country fellows.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Into China
By Leret Bonnie

[France] Leret Bonnie, Wuhan University

Leret Bonnie [Photo provided to]

You will most probably fall in love with her when you step onto this land, China.

A spontaneous idea from my parents many years ago enabled me to depart from my home country — France, and step onto this land — China, where I found vigor and vitality was everywhere in the air.

Seeing is believing. Only with personal experience can we fully understand China. My experience in China for more than 10 years has enabled me to witness its vigor and vitality. The economic development and scientific achievement of China is more than simple data in various reports. It is the product of an authentic quality of human beings, that is, solidarity, self-reliance, continuous improvement and innovation. This authentic quality of human beings brings about social development.

A decade ago, I visited a village in the countryside of Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. They drank water from wells, had no internet connection and their transportation was very limited with narrow roads to the village.

People there lived quite a simple life. However, after only 10 years, solid cement houses were built, with tap water, highway connection and internet. People there live an easy and happy life now with no worries about food and clothing. The life there has been changed greatly due to people’s hard work.

What’s more amazing is that people maintain their traditional customs and culture while applying technologies into daily life. For example, senior farmers enjoy growing vegetables and raising cattle in their leisure time, families prepare traditional food for festivals and people often get together enjoying their family life. They live a life combining traditions with modern ease. I really admire this warm lifestyle.

The warmth can be seen not only in Chinese family life, but also in Chinese society. Anyone who has witnessed and experienced the mutual help and support of Chinese during the COVID-19 pandemic period will have no doubt over the warmth of Chinese society. I stayed in China during the epidemic period. When the pandemic was first reported in 2019, I was in Wuhan. I happened to have left Wuhan before its lockdown.

I did not expect that it soon spread to every corner of the world. The rampant spread of the virus disturbed our routine life. Fortunately, I was not seized by fear because of all the anti-virus efforts of the Chinese government.

Since Wuhan entered lockdown, the Chinese government had been doing its utmost to help its people, from the supply of facial masks to the development of anti-virus vaccines. When Wuhan lifted its lockdown, China had sufficient supplies of facial masks and its self-developed vaccines had been put into use among its people, which displayed self-evidently the first priority the Chinese government had put on its people. In this special fight against the virus, I have witnessed the outbreak of the pandemic as well as the miracle the Chinese people had made.

“Because of all those martyrs who have sacrificed themselves for our lofty mission, I dare say that I can change the world into a new one.” Now as a witness to what the Chinese have done in the fight against the pandemic virus, I fully understand the poem and come to realize that the revitalized China after the virus outbreak was attributed to the lofty mission and sacrifice of Chinese soldiers. Chinese have a quality that enables them to always be prepared for danger even in peace time.

China has contributed greatly to the development of anti-virus vaccines in the world. A great number of mounds make a mountain; drops of water make an ocean. No pains, no gains. I have been injected with Chinese vaccines and I believe China will bring more hopes to the world.

Spring scenery of Wuhan University [Photo provided to]

Innovation changes the world and technology leads the trend. After witnessing the radical changes science and technology has brought to the world, I now look forward to the hope it may bring us. After the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, network and information technologies accelerate their penetration into industries, sharing economy is blooming and Internet technologies are penetrating all industries with unstoppable pace. Newly emerging industries are competing and merging with each other.

Internet plus is blending with retail, catering, medical and education industries, and a brand new lifestyle is opening before us. In China, new technologies are in every aspect of my daily life.

For example, I use a transportation APP when taking subways in the morning; I use a food delivery APP to order lunch at noon; I use Alipay to pay for everything I buy; and shared bikes are my best partner when I hang about in the city. Institutional advantages, development advantages and opportunity advantages facilitate the development of Chinese society and economy. Science and technology makes us live better.

Living in China, I witness how China is developing itself at the same pace with the rest of the world and how it expects to be truly understood by the rest of the world. It is not easy to understand today’s China. The real China can only be understood through personal experience. Basing on the understanding, we can tell truth about China and witness the beautiful development of China.

The vice president of the university encouraged the international students to act as bridges between China and the rest of the world, spread Chinese culture around the world and jointly build the world into a community with a shared future for mankind.

He also encouraged us to actively study Chinese history and the history of the CPC, which will be very helpful for us to understand the past, the present and the future of China. I wish I could join hands with others to make a contribution towards building the world into a community with a shared future for mankind.

Fall scenery of Wuhan University [Photo provided to]

Walking into China is like an adventure. I have learned new things and experienced a different culture here. Every step in China is real and enjoyable. Walking into China is a kind of consolation for me. In my eyes, China is making perfect progress every day. However, the Chinese people are still looking beyond into the far future.

Their continuous efforts make me believe that walking into China is a real God’s bless. I can't help pinning my hopes on this land. Since I set my feet upon this land, every minute has been shining. The Chinese beauty created by the Chinese people enables me to believe that the journey I am having now is meaningful and valuable.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

My fantasy of four seasons
By Tan Zi Hua

[Malaysia] Tan Zi Hua, Beijing Institute of Technology

Tan Zi Hua and her friends

After another day of study, I closed my notebook and looked out of the window. The moonlit night is particularly quiet and peaceful with bright and shinning stars. The night is as alluring and beautiful as before the outbreak of the epidemic. A full moon hung high in the sky. Someone says that the moon in foreign countries is relatively rounder, but is the moon above me rounder?

The gear of time flies back... It was late February 2020, which marked the end of the winter vacation. I should have caught a flight to return to China. I should have met those lively and active friends again, returned to the campus to start a new journey of study and kicked off a new adventure in a foreign country. At this time, Beijing should be snow-white, but not as cold as the winter before vacation. I dragged my luggage and treaded on the snow step by step towards the college gate. Around me were also students returning to school. Everyone’s faces were full of passion for study and vision for the future.

As winter leaves and there comes the spring, everything on earth comes back to life. Beijing, washed away by the river of time, gradually displays the color of spring. People’s life was on a fast track again. But the beauty of spring should not be missed. My friends and I wandered around the campus. We bathed in the gentle sunshine, walked slowly and leisurely around the red bridge and enjoyed the spring. The elegant black swans sat on the grass combing their beautiful feathers, stylish and full of air; Industrious little bees were flying in the flowers, busy with collecting honey and doing their work attentively. The beautiful scenery was picturesque.

I was absorbed in it and a poem came upon my mind “Flying among the flowers, they can’t rest for an hour. The fragrance will eventually become honey. Every little bit of sweetness comes from every little bit of labor.” Then, we continued to walk to the lake. Like a mirror, the lake reflected the beautiful scenery by the water. Several white geese watched us on the shore. At the moment, a group of ducks swam leisurely and broke the tranquil lake. The white geese couldn’t help joining them. Escaping from the busy schedule, we were appealed by the campus view and felt at ease.

Spring does not last long. Cicadas were chirping as the sunlight became scorching hot. The students were sleepy in the muggy classroom. However, with the approaching of the end of the semester, the drowsiness of the students was driven away. Everyone straightened up with wide open eyes and ears for fear of missing any key point said by the professor. Going through two weeks of exams, we finally ushered in the summer vacation. Sunshine and beaches are essential in summer and so we set out for Sanya, Hainan Province to start our summer trip.

June is the off-season for tourism in Sanya, which sees relatively less tourists. Therefore, we could stay away from the noise and have a real relaxation. The sea was clear and shadows of the coconut trees were swinging in the wind. We strolled pleasantly along the beach; The sea corals were rich and colorful. The overwater activities were exciting and stimulating. The local food was fresh and delicious. What a rewarding trip!

Xu teli library at Beijing Institute of Technology

In the twinkling of an eye, the summer vacation was over and autumn came quietly. I like autumn most. The sky was crystal clear and cloudless and the land was decorated with orange red leaves everywhere. Being outdoor every time, I could feel the breeze gently brushing my cheeks. “Crunching, crunching” is my favourite sound of stepping on fallen leaves, crisp and pleasant. Our teacher said that we must go to the Fragrant Hills to enjoy the red leaves in autumn. Therefore, we started another trip.

The red leaves of Fragrant Hills Park were blooming like a sea of flowers. Although the red leaves were beautiful, the ancient buildings also drew my attention. They stood there silently and witnessed the vicissitudes left by the long river of history. I picked up a beautiful leaf and made it into a bookmark to record the books I had read and the beautiful scenery I had seen.

Snow scenery of Beijing Institute of Technology

Autumn in Beijing is short. The weather soon became cold and dry and the sun got up later and later. The wind in winter was so fierce that it made the hard trunk bend slightly and pushed down the bicycles in front of the dormitory. Finally, the snow arrived as promised. My companions and I were very excited at the snow falling. We ran to the open ground to make snowmen and have snowball fights with others. The magical snow narrowed the distance between us. After the snow stopped, we came to the Great Wall again.

Dotted with snow, it was a little less serious and a little more romantic. Hot pot was also a must in cold winter. After climbing the Great Wall, we went to a hot pot restaurant for dinner. Cold weather and spicy soup were a perfect match. Dipping the food in the sweet and salty sesame sauce, we did feel it was a feast for our taste buds! We excitedly shared what we saw and heard on the day and stealthily took away the meat our friends put into the soup. Meanwhile we also served food to friends. How happy we were!

Beihu Lake at Beijing Institute of Technology

I slowly opened my eyes and bustling scenes were gone. Everything was still calm around me. There was still a little bit of warmth remained in the notebook on the desk. I stretched myself and walked to the window. The moonlight was still hazy and the stars were shinning. If there had been no epidemic, 2020 would have been just the beginning of another year. It would have been an ordinary year, nothing special but something splendid.

The ordinary things, such as enjoying delicious food together, exchanging greetings and shaking hands, chatting and playing, traveling and wandering, became more precious due to the epidemic situation. I am patient to wait for more good things to take place soon after the epidemic ends. Now I have no choice but understand that I should wear a mask when I go out shopping tomorrow, avoid contact with people and keep distance from others.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Autumn in Shanghai
By Yow Kah Lok

[Malaysia] Yow Kah Lok, Fudan University

Yow in Beijing [Photo provided to]

I just finished my clinical probation at 5 p.m. I stood in a daze in front of the hospital for a moment, staring blankly at the sky, trying to find the drizzle hidden in the cloudy sky. I wanted to sprint straight to the subway station, but ended up hurriedly digging in my bag for my umbrella to avoid getting sick. At the gate of the hospital are bustling patients. I often make fun of the tensity of big cities without awareness of my own fast pace. It happened that nothing urgent was waiting for me, so I decided to walk back to the dormitory without haste.

It was early autumn. I was wondering that the thin coat on my body should be enough to resist the cold autumn wind, but this light rain seemed to increase the piercing coldness along with the chilling wind. People couldn’t help shivering. After coming to Shanghai, I was most fascinated by the roads of plane trees in Xuhui district and Jing’an district. Wandering along the tree-lined flagstone road made me feel very comfortable and secure, while the grand old buildings along the way always set off the firmness of the century-old plane trees.

On the slippery floor of the high street, wisps of smoke were hanging as if they rose from the lake. In the air, the smell of rain mixed with a faint earthy flavor was refreshing with the right amount. Young sparrows, perhaps being eager to return to their nests, could only spread their wings under the constraints of rain and failed to fly away. The clothes hanging on the second floor, the intertwined dark wires and shared bikes and battery trucks nestling next to each other inside iron railings, were adorning otherwise unadorned streets.

In the green tunnel of cross-cutting tops of the strapping plane trees, the dazzle of taillights is reflected where the darkness dominated. The sound of tires running over the wet road kept slipping away from my ears. The lane is deep and quite. The old-fashioned glass windows with wooden framework orderly arrange on the wall of stone blocks of different depth of gray. The vintage lamps, wiring and plumbing scattered high and low add peculiar elements and charm for the boring perspective. The hustle and bustle on the road, however, did not break the modesty and tranquility of the lane.

Red brick walls, black iron fences and green street signs are indispensable totems on the roads of plane trees. In a western restaurant across the street, the black-framed French windows, like a photo frame, expose the orange ambience in the store. In all, they echo the dark brown exterior wall and black terrace outside and reveal the high British style. The road signs of blue undertone on the kerbs are quite harmonious with matching words. Yellow leaves embedded in the ground have carved countless prints into this quiet place.

Looking at the old houses shaped like the Louvre, though they have gone through the years, they are still firm, dignified, snow-white and solemn. Beyond my control, my thoughts floated in the house with the daydream that every day I could stick my head out from the second floor and happily enjoy the atmosphere of the street. Then I caught sight of a real estate public sign standing on the road. The price of a small apartment with longer history had already dealt a blow to my hopes, successfully dissuading me from the imaginations.

The half-open coffee shop at the intersection was radiating the warm color. Inside the dark red brick exterior wall was the neatly lined bread and the computer at the window bar. I slowed my pace again and looked into the store, instinctively searching for the smell of coffee. As it gets colder and darker, the allure of the coffee shop grows stronger. I stopped for a good while and finally decided to buy a cup of coffee to warm myself up.

I ordered a cup of hot Mocha with sugar. Maybe it was the coldness that paralyzed my consciousness. I didn’t seem to taste the sweetness I expected, but felt more bitterness than usual. Leaning on the bar, I was poring over the scenery out of the window. People were coming and going. Cars were passing by back and forth. I tried to ignore the bitterness of the coffee, but the warmth of my hands always woke it up in my mouth.

I was not aware when I had left the shelter of the plane trees road and when the sense of security had fleeted. Facing the prosperity in front of me, sorrow inexplicably welled up in my heart. I turned round and watched the road intersection and realized that I might belong to there, simple and still. However, it was hard for people to return to the past as the world is moving on. I stepped forward with the expectation of going back to the green next time.

The Bund of Shanghai [Photo provided to]

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

Dream of youth sets sail in China
By Bastien Benoît S. Dumont

[Belgium] Bastien Benoît S. Dumont, Donghua University

Bastien Benoît S. Dumont [Photo provided to]

When I was 18, I travelled to Beijing for the first time. I knew little about China at that time. I fell in love with China after the first trip to Beijing and I got deeply attracted by its rapid development and booming vitality. To me, China was a rising star with infinite possibilities and opportunities. Chinese characters, Chinese people, Chinese culture and its economic development all became infinite attraction to me. “Why can’t I go to China and start pursuing my dreams?” I asked myself. Therefore, I came to China for study when I was 20.

In 2011, I was enrolled in Donghua University and majored in International Trade. My teachers and classmates came from all over the world. I greatly improved my cross-cultural communication capabilities and built extensive social networking, which laid a solid foundation for my later work.

I gained a lot especially in two courses, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Commercial Cases Integration. Teachers of the two courses inspired my entrepreneur dream. They encouraged me to bring my business plans for the courses into real practice. I found partners and started my own business very soon after graduation. I founded my own company, ICL (Integrate Chinese Life). The professional expertise from professors at Donghua University had equipped me with professional international trade knowledge and inspired my entrepreneurship to successfully start my own company and manage it successfully until now.

Many foreigners do not know much about China before they come. Challenges of unknown future stop their feet onto the land of China. I want to help those young and ambitious foreigners who love China to overcome their challenges in China. Therefore, I started ICL with my friend Nick to provide support for educational cooperation between governments, business organizations and universities in the two countries.

I frequently travel between Switzerland and China, working with young people and creating opportunities for the personal and career development of the youth. I enjoy travelling and work has become a pleasure for me. I enjoy my lifestyle. One of the greatest benefits of becoming an entrepreneur and managing my own business is that I can control what I am doing and what I want to do with much freedom. I also know the great responsibility upon my shoulders as an entrepreneur. I always size up situations and make each choice after due and careful assessment.

Shanghai Bund [Photo provided to]

To make more foreigners know better about China and come to China, I planned to film a short video with my colleagues, introducing China to the world. We demonstrated our ideas to Swissnex in China. Deeply moved by our visions, they not only provided economic support but also invited French director Robin Mahieux to direct the filming. Mr. Mahieux came from France, travelled across China, captured all exciting moments, and shared the beauty of China with the whole world.

A French electronic musician, deeply touched by the Chinese charm in the film, made original dubbing for it. The video, CHINA BEYOND BELIEF, took us five months to complete and was published in the celebration ceremony of Chinese Spring Festival in Lausanne, Switzerland. More foreigners get to know the beauty of living in China through this video and their interests to come to China and experience Chinese culture are inspired.

The video has become a hit and a Chinese airline bought this video for advertising so as to make more international tourists know more about China. What made me more proud was that I won the Prize of Entrepreneur Outstanding Achievements for Sino-Swiss Business Awards in 2017 and was interviewed by National Television of Switzerland. Now I am making efforts to develop an international youth tourist platform to promote the development of tourism as my future mission.

Dumont has a Chinese class. [Photo provided to]

Study in China has ignited my entrepreneur passion and living in China allows me an easy and comfortable life. The huge market of China provides my start-up company with broad development space. As a international student, also as a partner, I hold deep gratitude toward China which has given me everything I need to start my business, and I will develop my career with utmost efforts and facilitate the friendly exchange between China and Switzerland to return all the goodness to the society.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).

My beautiful encounter with China
By Jang Jin Song

[Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] Jang Jin Song, Beijing Foreign Studies University

“Read ten thousand books and travel ten thousand miles.” — A saying by Dong Qichang, a painter of Ming Dynasty (1368—1644), has always inspired me. In my life, I have read many stories and traveled to many places.

However, China, this lovely and beautiful country, is the one which truly attracts me and which I forge an indissoluble bond with. In my early acquaintance with China, I held deep curiosity toward this country; when I got to more about China, I grew more fondness of her; and when I came back to China after years of departing, I got greatly amazed by her fast development. All those experiences with China are lying quietly at the bottom of my heart and encouraging me on my way forward.

First Acquaintance—Inspired byMy Grandfather and Longing for China

When did I hear about China for the first time and when did I become fond of China? It all traced back to the summer when I was five.

In the July when I was five, it was so hot that birds seemed hiding themselves in nowhere. Grasses and trees were hanging their heads low.

Jang in Beijing Foreign Studies University [Photo provided to]

Cicadas were shrilling loudly among trees. It seemed everything was crying “hot” and so was I. Early in the morning one day, my grandpa, who had retired for several years, put on his glorious military uniforms out of no reason, held my hands and took me to “Sino — Korean Friendship Tower”.

“My kid, do you see the tower? You must remember all those people lying beneath this tower are our kinsmen and our brothers. You should never forget them,” he said. I was confused by what my grandpa said and asked him who they were.

After returning home, my grandpa told me that under the tower were martyrs of the Chinese People’s Volunteers who had been fighting shoulder by shoulder with North Korean people during our national liberation war. After that, China began to enter my mind. I grew gradually deep interested in China and my story with China started.

Getting to Know China—Tongue Tip Savoring & Ear Echoing

Like a colorful shining box that is full of pearls, childhood is the unforgettable memory in one’s life.We became to cherish the memories with time.

Memory is like a ship, which carries me back to the city Shenyang in Northeast China’s Liaoning province, where I spent my childhood. I learned Chinese and Chinese culture in my primary school and I also traveled across all the three provinces in Northeast China. I became deeply enchanted by the rich and colorful Chinese culture and came to understand more. Chinese food, folklore and costumes were especially amazing to me.

When travelling across the three northeastern provinces, I tried almost every local delicacy, such as chicken stewed with mushrooms, pork stewed with bean or sweet potato noodles, the sauce and sweet fried pork, local three mixed vegetables and Harbin Red Sausage.

I also tried local cuisines from other provinces, such as Yuxiang Shredded Pork (Sautéed in Spicy Garlic Sauce), Kung Pao Chicken, Chongqing Hotpot, Chongqing Style Boiled Duck Blood Curd and fermented bean curd.

Traditional Chinese festival food is also very delicious, each with their own unique flavor, such as zongzi (wrapped rice dumpling) for the Dragon Boat Festival, moon cake for the Mid-Autumn Festival and tangyuan (sticky rice dumpling) for the Lantern Festival. The traditional Chinese food is not only pleasing to eyes, noses and tongues, but also pleasing to ears with their own legendary stories.

Take the moon cake as an example. In the Yuan Dynasty, the civil people could not bear the cruelty and tyranny of the ruling class and rose up fighting against them. Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, decided to unite all forces and start a revolt. However, armies of the emperor were search for them so tightly that message delivery became very hard. Then Liu Bowen, the counselor of Zhu, came out with a wonderful idea.

He asked his fellowmen to wrap a slip of paper written with the message “revolt on August 15” into cakes and send the food to other revolt armies. On August 15 when the planned date arrived, all revolt armies staged revolts and echoed each other.

They fought against the Yuan army and defeated them in a full victory. In memory of the revolt, Zhu asked his soldiers to celebrate this day with civil people on August 15 and made moon cakes to reward his fellowmen. After that, the tradition of having moon cakes on the Mid-Autumn Festival was spread.

Now moon cakes have become more delicate with great variety in styles and flavors, fully satisfying to the demanding tongues of modern people. Not only moon cakes but all festival food has fascinating stories behind them.

This is one of the greatest charms of Chinese food culture.

Besides food, I also like traditional Chinese folklore and costumes. In the traditional folklore, I hear chanting and echoing across thousands of years. In traditional Chinese costumes, I see the harmony of colors and delicacy of Chinese craftsmen. I was greatly enchanted by the experience and enjoyed learning Chinese and Chinese culture even after I went back to my own country.

The library of Beijing Foreign Studies University [Photo provided to]

Admiring—Fast Development with Multitudes of Talents

An old Korean saying says, “The world changes radically every decade.” Time flies! I came back to China six years later after I had returned to my own country. China has undergone quite a change in the past six years.

High-speed trains, online shopping and mobile payment has been widely spread in China,  which makes daily life very convenient. The economic development of China is so rapid that every aspect of daily life such as clothes, food, accommodation  and transportation is filled with miracles created by “Chinese Speed”.

Besides the amazing economic development, I also admire the courage and solidarity of Chinese people when they are facing emergency. The COVID- 19 pandemic hit the world seriously in January 2020. Chinese people in concerted efforts with the CPC have won a great victory in this unexpected breathtaking war against the pandemic.

I witnessed this heart-touching fight during the pandemic, heard great breakthrough news from science and research frontiers and got to know a large number of “heroes” who were actually ordinary people from all walks of life.

From those inspiring or moving stories of the ordinary people, I realized the great powers of Chinese people with their concerted efforts and indomitable spirits. The year of 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the CPC. I firmly believe that China, with its great party and people, will inherit and carry on its “Chinese Spirit”, and flourish.

If life is a book, there should be more splendid details; if life is a song, there should be more soaring rhythm; if life is a painting, there should be more pleasant colors.

The journey of life is long and colorful. Fortunately, with my grandpa holding my hands, I encountered China. I gradually get to know and be in love with China with my own eyes, ears, tongue and soul.

The Chinese red has become the unique color in my life’s journey. Home is where the heart is. Inspired by this love, I will continue my story with China, and I believe the truth, goodness and beauty of China will also be carried on till forever.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).