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My “cloud meeting” with China

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By Ong Wei Yee | | Updated: Jan 28, 2022

[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).