Opinion / Web Comments

My 8 years in China

By Riz Qamar (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2012-10-09 16:32

My 8 years in China

I landed in China on April 1, 2004, as a foreign language teacher in Changsha, Hunan province. I stayed in Changsha for over eight years and observed the transitions, which I am going to share with you.

First, being a teacher, I noticed a huge number of English training centers being established, attracting hundreds of foreign teachers to come and teach in Hunan province. I could hardly see any foreigners on the streets when I first got there. There were only a few foreign teachers or businessmen from other countries.

During the last 10 years, not only teachers, but thousands of foreign students enrolled at various universities, studying medicine, engineering, Chinese language and agriculture. Sheraton Changsha Hotel was built, adding beauty to the city, where one can have cuisines from all over.

A subway train system is now under construction, which will help ease the growing traffic. I am not an economic analyst, but I have seen the number of luxury private vehicles during the last couple of years in Changsha, which clearly shows that people have become more affluent than before.

I saw a new Western-style bar street was built, catering to people coming from many countries and it's a hotspot in town. All the two-way streets in downtown were converted into one-way a few years ago. During my stay, a number of Western food chains started business here, such as Starbucks coffee, Papa John's Pizza, imported ice cream parlors, and donut shops. This trend has influenced the eating habits of Chinese people as well. One can see those places swarming with local people, 24/7.

There used to be only one Wal-Mart in the city center back in 2004, and now there are four.

If I look at the overall development of China, I would cite the first space shuttle that was launched in 2010, making China a significant player in space technology. How can we forget the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing? The opening ceremony is still fresh in people's minds. Another event worth mentioning is the Shanghai Expo held in 2011. It was again a marvelous occasion.

I can see China as a leading nation in economics, business and sporting ventures in the future. Yes, I would mention education system too, as it needs to be revised. I see students stressful and worried about the big exam called gaokao. The education ministry must design some other strategy that demands understanding of the subjects rather than rote-learning.

China welcomes us foreigners and provides us with jobs, respect, hospitality and freedom. I am thankful to the Chinese people and the government. I wish China a prosperous future!

The author is an an English teacher in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

This article is for the "Tell us about your China"  activity. If you have your story to share with us, you can send an email at comment@chinadaily.com.cn or leave your post on the activity "We want to hear from you" in China Daily forum.

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