Zein Ali, a Syrian doctoral student studying at Nanjing University of the Arts, considers Nanjing his second home.
The 31-year-old Syrian says that he has learned much about Nanjing and China after living in the city for seven years. He first came to China 11 years ago and spent his first four years in the Chinese Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
Speaking of the reason he came to China, Zein said that his mother used to be a reporter for Syrian state television, which allowed her to make many Chinese friends who would often visit his home. Through these exchanges, Zein became more interested in Chinese culture, and this eventually led to him choosing China as the destination of his overseas studies.
Zein's brother and sister also traveled to Nanjing to further their studies in 2016. The next year, their parents traveled to Nanjing to reunite with the family.
This June, Zein curated an art exhibition for his artist father, who through his works showcased the beauty of the similarities between China and Syria, and promoted Syrian culture and art.
Zein had in early 2020 become more widely known by the locals after a video of him delivering a red box and an appreciative letter to officers at a police station in Nanjing went viral.
"I feel that I have taken root in Nanjing," Zein said.