[Vietnam] Hứa Thị Phê, Beijing Institute of Technology
Childhood Memories of China
Back to 20 years ago, I remembered my father frequented to go shopping at the Chinese border. Every time he brought me delicious food back, such as bags of spicy gluten and big tasty meat buns. He told me soy braised pork in China is very appetizing and the pure taste of it can only be savored in China. He shared with me a lot of things related to China he observed. Unconsciously China has captured my heart.
At that time, I always liked to watch Chinese TV programs after school. It was very interesting to see the people on the screen eating steamed bread, dumplings, braised meat, and wearing the beautiful clothes. I still remember when I watched Princess Pearl, a well-known TV series in China, I always sang along unconsciously with the theme song, though my parents regard as noise and dislike. Although I could not figure out the lyrics, I still mastered this song. When I was in high school, I began to long for learning about China.
Surfing on the internet, I listened to many famous songs. Somehow, even if I could not understand, I still fancied them. In those days my favorite song was Fairy Tales sang by Guang Liang. I even lost my voice after practicing it for several days. I do love Chinese music. Every time I had too much academic stress and start worrying, I would squat in a corner, put on earphones, and listen to Chinese songs. The whole of me will be immersed in the world of music.
Start the Dreamed Journey
When I was in college, I began to learn some simple Chinese sentences like “hello” and “thank you.” Later I could do self-introduction in fluent Chinese. At that time, the Phoenix (Fenghuang) Ancient Town in China was a very popular destination of tourists. One of my classmates went into a long monologue about traveling to the Fenghuang Ancient Town and the excitement did not go away for a week. Since then, I have the dream of traveling to China. The more I research, the more I find that China has countless beautiful scenery.
I kept envisaging that it would be marvelous if I had the opportunity to study in China. I started surf on the internet for relevant information. I learned that the Chinese government has initiated the strategic conception of the Road Belt Initiative and attaches great importance to the cultivation of talents. I was eager to seize this opportunity. Therefore, I submitted the application materials and studied hard for the exam. Fortunately, to my excitedness, I made it.
Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia with humid and hot climate. That’s why when choosing a school, I would like to experience the life in the north and enjoy the beautiful snow scenery. I selected Shenyang and kicked off my postgraduate study tour.
After that, in order to further improve myself and realize the pursuit and values of life, I applied for a Chinese Government Scholarship again for a doctorate program. This is the beginning of my life in Beijing.
Experience Life with My Heart
After master’s graduation, I had been back to Vietnam to work for a period of time, however, I always yearned for China. I got a job at an internet company in Shanghai. In this international metropolis, I have experienced the super-fast pace of life. I must keep learning to catch up with social development more quickly. Gradually, I got used to the life here. On weekends I would get to know better the life of Shanghai people and visit famous scenic spots when I don’t need to work overtime.
I came to Beijing from Shanghai to pursue my doctoral degree in Beijing Institute of Technology. It was on an autumn afternoon when I got to school for registration. I sensed climate of northern China again that I am familiar with after many years since I left Shenyang. The blue sky and beautiful landscape are still delightful, and the cool breeze so refreshing. Winter is coming soon. However, it is difficult for me to adapt for the time being. The food here different with my eating habits are also one of the difficulties I have to face, but all of these doesn’t downgrade the enjoyment of my life here.
Eventually I am fond of the winter in Beijing and salivate at delicious food in the school. In addition, I often participated in group activities with foreign students, so that I can acquire more knowledge, understand the cultures of various countries, and advance my capacity with practice. Now, due to the epidemic, many extracurricular activities cannot be attended on the spot. However, I hope that I can experience the local way of life more in China with my classmates after the epidemic.
During my study in China, I have left my footprint on many places, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Xi’an, Dalian, Changchun, Dandong, Dongxing and Beihai. From the political, economic, and cultural center to the border towns, I have viewed the mountains and rivers of China, witnessed the speed of China’s development, perceived the broadness and profundity of Chinese culture, and understood the lifestyle of the Chinese people. All these have broadened my outlook.
Harvests and Rewards
I have been in China for nearly five years. My personality has changed greatly. I used to be introverted and were reluctant to participate in group activities. nevertheless, the experiences in China have made me be keen to join school activities and competitions. I also enjoyed offering help to others now.
I had taken part in a marketing competition with my team in Shenyang and won the first prize. Then we donated the prizes to poor students in a primary school of a mountain village. I felt very warm and cheerful to learn they were very happy to receive the gifts. When I worked in Shanghai, I volunteered in a nursing home to help elder people understand and use smart products that make their life more convenient. I also participated in the public welfare project of “One Breakfast” and made donation to students in Liangshan, Sichuan Province. Although my contribution is limited, I feel the joy of “The rose is in her hand, the flavor in mine.”
I have dreams that motivated me to have a beautiful encounter with China. I was so lucky to have such a rich experience and learned a lot in China in my youth. I will welcome new things with a more open mind and hope that my story with China will continue to be written.
The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).