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六月有奖征文:40 Days in China…

作者:OTHMAN CHAOUKI | 来源:长春四达国际教育交流学院

      Since my childhood, I have always seen the media portraying China as an mysterious Country with a proud history where all people do Kung Fu, eat rice with chopsticks and manufacture cheap items, but I have always known that there is more to China than what the biased media wants the people to know, therefore, I packed my belongings and I departed for China in order to see for myself the things that I’ll never get the chance to see on the screen.


My Arrival

        November the second 2016 was the day I set foot on Chinese soil for the first time, after long hours of flying from my hometown Casablanca to Paris, and then to Shanghai where I was going to catch another flight to Changchun. Up until then, nothing seemed different about China except for the language and the faces, Pudong Airport was almost the same as any other airport in the world, but once I arrived to Jilin Province, everything had changed!

Back home, I used to work for a prestigious bank, but due to several reasons, I decided to leave everything behind and seek a new adventure in China, the country that I heard many things about, some are positive, and a whole lot of negative things, but now, and after 40 days in China, my whole perspective about the country and its people became clear.

I could safely confirm that 90% of people who have never been to China have a poor knowledge of the country, a knowledge that is sadly limited to stereotypes that are generally wrong, and unless you have lived in China, you would be unable to understand how rich and diverse the country is.

Starting with my close entourage, my workmates are one of the nicest people that I have ever met, not only in China, but in my whole life, I didn’t expect that I would be received with such warmth that only a family could provide, all my questions are met with an answer, and all my requests are fulfilled in an embarrassingly generous way. This family like entourage has made my first “clash” with China very smooth, and in a blink of an eye I started getting used to my new life.

At first I thought that my colleagues have been friendly with me because I was their workmate, but then I noticed that this friendly attitude and generosity was a common trait in Chinese people, wherever I go I meet friendly people who are willing to listen and help regardless of the language barrier, people who are always willing to be patient in order to help a stranger in need.

Work


       Now I live in Dunhua, where I teach in a primary school, and here, my life has known a new turn, considering that I’m one of the very few foreigners in town, I get more attention than I’ve ever dreamt of,  especially at my school where I’m treated like a celebrity, which is a double edged blade, yes it provides a feeling of joy and happiness to be recognized and admired but on the other hand, it puts some pressure on me because I have to live up to my new image and set a good example for my profession as a teacher as well as for my image as a Moroccan expat.

The first thing that caught my attention about the school was the organization and the infrastructure, if I tell people back home that I teach in a school in Northeast China not far from North Korea, they would imagine that school as a medieval building, however, schools in Dunhua in particular, and in Jilin Province in general have all the characteristics of modern schools, furthermore they have something many schools around the world lack, which is discipline of the students and the amazing devotion of the educators.

 

A Man’s got to eat!

Food is one of the things that worried me a lot before arriving to China, and that was caused mainly by the stereotypes surrounding the Chinese cuisine. It’s sad to say that around the world, whenever you mention Chinese food, the first thing that would come to people’s minds is eating pets, lizards and insects, and once again, upon my arrival I discovered that  it was nothing but rumours and that the Chinese cuisine is one of the richest and most diverse cuisines in the entire world.

The first thing I noticed about food in China is the huge number of restaurants, you can easily find many restaurants in every street, offering different varieties of food for a reasonable price, which is something I admire about Chinese food, because you can have a nutritious and delicious meal without damaging your wallet.

 

Culture

I’d like to talk a little bit about the cultural aspects that I have experienced in China, but it would be unfair to write a general verdict about the Chinese culture because it’s too colossal to be described without having experienced it first hand, and I will limit my review to Jilin province, more particularly Yanbian prefecture. Once again I go back to stereotypes surrounding China overseas, where people think all Chinese people are the same, descending from the same ethnic group and speaking the same language, which is entirely false of course.

40 days is a short period of time, but not too short to see how diverse the Chinese culture is, but how united the people are, for example, in Yanbian prefecture, all the signs are written in Korean and Chinese, giving the streets a very interesting view that displays the diversity of the Chinese culture and the tolerance of its people, and speaking of tolerance, I noticed the existence of a Catholic church in Dunhua, as well as 4 Muslim restaurants, showing, once again, the diversity and the unity of the people of China, and disproving some western propaganda that claims the oppression of minorities in China, personally, I was never treated based on my skin colour, background or ideology, and I believed this is the case of all foreigners in China who are received with warmth and friendliness regardless of what they look like or what they believe in.

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