Compassion and care make the impossible possible in China

By Janaka Jayawickrama | | Updated: 2023-09-01 21:48
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Janaka Jayawickrama (third from right in the last row) in the China Art Museum with international teachers and students from Shanghai University. [Photo provided to]

One day, after my family and I had returned to our apartment after shopping, we discovered that electronic lock of our apartment door did not work. Soon, some of the university staff came to our help.

They tried their best but failed. The door failed to open even after the manager of the building came with the master key. We had no choice but to wait for a maintenance staff to come with his set of tools. Throughout this experience, there was only laughter.

This may seem like a very ordinary problem. But to someone who is new to China and does not speak the language, this is a veritable crisis, one that was solved with compassion and care.

Shanghai University organizes many events for international students and staff members.

Visits to museums, food festivals, seminars and many other activities make it easier for us to become integrated into the campus as well as the city.

These events also give me an opportunity to meet new friends from China and all over the world. We already have new friends from India, Hungary, Turkey, Ghana, Thailand and many other countries across the globe. This is truly a global experience.

Learning about the local language and culture has not been easy. After all, Chinese culture has a 5,000-year history. It is very challenging to decide where to start, but we also understand that this is a huge blessing for us.

The campus is beautiful, family-friendly and lively. There are many beautiful flowers, birds, insects and places to explore. We truly appreciate the attractiveness and picturesqueness of the campus.

Over the months, we have made many friends. Most of them are colleagues, students and friends we met in Shanghai. We may not know the names of every person on campus yet, but we do recognize one another and would share a smile or a laugh whenever we cross paths.

Everything was difficult in the beginning, but we have now found a rhythm to life in Shanghai.

This is a story about learning. This is also a story about the experiences of a shared humanity.

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