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How studying in China empowered me

By Ibeakamma Chinazaekpere | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-08-06 16:12

A night view of Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on July 11, 2011. [Photo/VCG]

When I first set foot in China, Zhejiang province to be precise, in late 2016, I was like every other international student. I knew nothing much about China apart from that Chinese people could “fly” because of the martial arts movies I watched at that time. There was an air of mystery surrounding the most populous nation in the world – one I wanted to fathom, to understand, once in a lifetime.

My story is full of interesting experiences; as such, I will start by saying never dwell in the territory of things or people that do not empower you. When I was 10 years old, I had a dream several times about living and studying in a foreign nation. I did not take the dream so seriously because my family was not rich enough to afford it. As a result, I thought I would never meet up with my dream. However, the 10 year-old-girl’s dream has come to pass, and today I am studying in China. Before I came to China and while I was in China, I deeply fell in love with Chinese martial arts movies.

With that said, having applied and finally gotten a Confucius scholarship, I left Nigeria on Sept 18, 2016 to go to China. Studying in China was the best move for me; in my heart, the choice to live and study in China was a dream come true and made sense, because studying in China has been so much greater than I ever could have imagined. I am amazed and satisfied with everything and everyone around me. However, initially, learning Chinese and trying to eat with chopsticks were challenging, but as I started to integrate into Chinese society, I started to imitate the lifestyle of the Chinese people, and later I started to learn. Whether it is learning to enjoy the food, acquiring valuable professional experience, mastering the Chinese language, or making new lifelong friends, studying in China in the past three years has made a profound impact on my life.

For example, as a result of the knowledge, I acquired I was able to represent Zhejiang Normal University in numerous competitions, such Chinese poetry, martial arts competition, Chinese tea, singing, hosting events and dancing. I obtained a lot of experience and knowledge in attending these different activities and I won 18 awards from attending these activities. I took the first position in all the activities I participated in. All these awards made me believe that when you empower people with information and knowledge, you bring people closer to greatness, prosperity and development. Therefore, studying in China has empowered me from emptiness to joyfulness and brought me closer to prosperity. Chinese society may have had room for numerous people, but my life with the Chinese people will be forever intertwined.

My three-year stay in China has given me room to get to know many people from different countries and learn about versatile languages and cultures. Although I have not finished my studies in China, I believe that the future is brighter and greater and that my remaining days here will bring greater opportunities that will help me leave a legacy for the next generation of Nigerians who will study in China in the future.

Just as the Chinese government and people have given me the opportunity to shine and become outstanding in the area of education, in the same way I would like to be an ambassador or a Chinese teacher to promote and spread Chinese language and culture to the world.

Looking back at my three-year experience in China, I can say it has opened my mind to fresh ways of seeing the world. It has been a time of growth and maturity for both my mind and character; above all, these have been the most thrilling, inspiring and fulfilling years of my life. During my three-year stay in China, I discovered another part of rural China different from Jinhua city – Dongyang. The rich soil of Zhejiang province might not be as famous as other towns in China, but today, Dongyang and the small farming community enjoy comparative serenity.

As a result of my three-year experience in China, I realized that the tough journey China has been through during these seven decades has left a legacy not only for the Chinese people, but to all other nations struggling with reform today, especially African nations. I will conclude by saying, during my three-year experience in China, I have learned that the Chinese people’s dream, song of freedom, reform, and poverty alleviation during these past seven decades have transported and directed them away from poverty to prosperity as they commemorate their 70th anniversary.

The author is a Nigerian student studying in Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua City.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

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