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My China story, and it started in Wuhan

By Akib Irfan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-12-03 09:29

The author participates in a teaching English program of Huashi Yang Leifeng Volunteer Team. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

On Sept 6, 2016, I took a China Southern Airlines flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Wuhan, China with a dream. On this journey, I was not only carrying my luggage, but also the expectations of the people of my homeland. Four years have gone by in no time, and now I want to tell my China story.

My name is Akib Irfan, and I am currently studying at the International Cultural Exchange College of Central China Normal University. When I came to China for the first time, it was a big challenge for me to adapt to the new life. I left everything I was familiar with and came to a completely unknown environment, with a language I couldn't even speak, and I had no friends. I couldn't keep up with my classmates in my studies. Most students have a Chinese foundation before going to China, I wasn't one of them. I felt lost, but I didn't give up. I asked my teachers and classmates for help.

Although the teachers couldn't speak Bengali, my native language, they helped me overcome my difficulties in learning Chinese by using simple Chinese words that I could understand, sometimes employing gestures to convey a meaning. The teachers requested all students to communicate in Chinese regularly, because that would help us learn Chinese quickly and with less difficulty.

One day I was chatting with a friend and two Chinese students passed by. I overheard them saying, "What language do they speak, it seems to be Vietnamese." I was delighted that at least I could understand something in Chinese because two months prior to that I couldn't understand even a simple conversation in Chinese.

During my time in China, I have visited many places and learned a lot about the rich and colorful Chinese culture. I have seen developed cities and rural areas that are constantly changing. I want to use this knowledge to help develop my motherland in the future. I like traveling alone to new places, being among a group of strangers makes me feel at home. Although I experienced many difficulties in China, I have grown to appreciate hard times because they have made me strong. I would like to thank the people of China. Through their hard work, China has developed.

Due to my interactions with students from more than 100 countries, I can now understand eight different languages. I have also participated in a lot of volunteer activities. Not long after I arrived in China, I was already searching for volunteer organizations inside and outside the school. I regard being a volunteer as an exercise that requires long-term investment and persistence.

Whether it is teaching children a foreign language or accompanying the elderly to a nursing home, it has become an indispensable part of my life. I regard participating in volunteer activities as not only being helpful to others, but also an opportunity to understand the Chinese society.

I would like to thank the Chinese government, the Chinese Scholarship Council and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Bangladesh for providing me with an opportunity to study in China.

The author is a Masters recipient of Teaching of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL), Central China Normal University.

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

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