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Irresistible charm of China

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By Jo Lyeong | | Updated: Feb 17, 2022

[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).