Chelsia Mira De Jesus Soares is a student from East Timor who studies in GIST International College in Jiangsu Province. Photo: Courtesy of GIST International College
A caring culture
When Chelsia Mira De Jesus Soares, a student from East Timor attending GIST International College (GIC), arrived in September 2016, the first thing that impressed her was the country's economy and infrastructure.
"Every city in China is growing so fast and the people work hard to get money, and transportation is efficient," she said.
The main factor that drove Sabira Ali Mohamed, a 22-year-old student from Djibouti, and Hana Ahmed Yacin, a 23-year-old student also from Djibouti, to study in Hebei GEO University was their passion for learning Chinese.
When they first arrived, they did not expect that the country could be so big, which surprised them because their country is small with a population of one million.
They are grateful that most Chinese are welcoming and warmhearted. They are also attracted by the food in China, not only for its taste, but also for its variety.
"There are so many kinds of food here. I have never seen so many kinds of dishes. It is interesting to taste a lot of them," said Hana.
Moreover, as a Muslim, she feels content knowing that she can find almost everything, including Muslim food, in her university, and she is also pleased to live in a secure and comfortable dormitory.
In the meantime, the great number of cars, bicycles, subways, modern buildings and high-speed railways in China caught her attention.
"Online shopping makes everything accessible. There is no need to go out shopping; I can just do it online, and it is easy," she said.
Kalum Jean Katomb, a student from the Democratic Republic of Congo who is studying in GIC, chose China to study because he believes that China is good in business and law.
However, he also finds that people in China like to take his picture, which is different from the people in other countries he has travelled to, such as France where people are used to seeing black people.
However, he noted that life in China is easier compared to the life in his home country, such as the way of using WiFi in public places.
He is also impressed with the sense of security he feels in China. He said that he can go to an ATM at night without worrying about safety issues, unlike in South Africa where people may lose their money and even their life if they go to an ATM at night.
Gilbert Tuva Menza, a student in GIC from Kenya, came to China to pursue a degree in software engineering several months ago. He conceded that his home country is difficult to live in, because most people only care about themselves, and they are not as friendly as Chinese who are always willing to help.
The road ahead
Many overseas students are planning to return home after they finish their study in China, like Katomb.
He intends to go back to the Democratic Republic of Congo after graduation, because he considers developing his home country his mission as a Congolese, but he is sure that he will miss China when he leaves.
"I have been in China for two years. I am getting used to China more than back home. It is a second home to me," he said.
Sabira and Hana also plan to head back to their home country when they finish studying in China because of their families.
Although Sabira has only been in China for nine months and Hana for three months, they have completely fallen for China and are sure that they will miss their life here when they leave.
"I have new friends and have become used to living alone and having my own space," Sabira said.
-- Taken from “Students from less developed and war-torn countries come to China for schooling and fall in love with the opportunities and culture” By Zhang Yihua Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/24 15:48:39