From AREFI YOSEF, an Afghan student in BFSU.
The year 2020 is destined to be a special year for all of us because of the COVID-19 epidemic. I had a different experience from others as an international student, deeply felt the warm care from teachers and classmates as a student of Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), and also got a more comprehensive understanding of China.
People usually ask me why I came to study in China.
When I was in high school I chose business as my major and studied business and economics there. China’s rapid economic development was always mentioned. China was the best place for me to continue my further studies as an economic major. Besides that, I always heard Chinese was the hardest language, so I wanted to challenge myself to learn it. During the study in China I have two goals: The first would be better learning my major of economics and the second would be being able to speak Chinese. Moreover, China’s profound history and culture attracts foreigners, and a perfect example would be an exceptional monument such as the Great Wall and many more.
Now it is my third year at BFSU. Can you imagine that? The Afghan boy once dreamed of studying in China, and now his dream has come true in BFSU—one of the best universities in China.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our study and life have been affected. COVID-19 is really a disaster for people all over the world. I needed to fill a routine form every day about my health condition, body temperature and travel plans. My teacher and faculty regularly checked up on me. Their concern and care moved me and made me feel like I have a family in BFSU. Our faculty even made a special video for us in order to boost our spirit and tell us that we are not alone.
I saw many people, including my friends and classmates, doing volunteer work and helping people, which made me think what I can do to contribute to my university BFSU and to the society. At first I was thinking to donate masks but later I found out that there was a shortage of masks and it was very hard to get some.
One day I saw a post on WeChat from one teacher of my university. There was a volunteer program in Chongqing and an Arabic culture teacher was needed. Without hesitation, I applied for the program, and got the seat after a series of interviews. Besides me, there were international students from Spain and Sweden. We participated in this volunteer activity on behalf of BFSU.
The program lasted two weeks in Chongqing and during this time we accompanied children from different parts of China in doing daily activities like taking their temperature, helping their study of English and world culture, accompanying them for meals, and immediately calling a doctor for inspection if any of them felt sick.
These two weeks were very special for me because I found a purpose and a way to contribute to the society. In my heart I felt happy because helping others and expecting nothing in return gave me satisfaction. I want to say that the virus knows no borders, nor races. As students of BFSU, no matter Chinese or international students, we are all the same facing the threat posed by the corona virus, and we are a community with a shared future. The only thing we can do is to unite and help each other.
I hope the COVID-19 epidemic will be over soon. I hope all of our students can go back to BFSU. I also want to thank my university for its care and concern during the epidemic.