My name is Zarina Ismailova and I’m from Turkmenistan in Central Asia. In the early autumn of 2014, I came to China for the first time. I came to Wuhu, Anhui Province, where I started my study abroad career. Before coming to China, I was full of curiosity and longing for Chinese culture. Jackie Chan’s movies accompanied me growing up, and the cartoon heroine Mulan from China is also an unforgettable memory from my childhood. Now, without me noticing, eight years have passed since I stepped into this charming country. From being an undergraduate student to pursuing my PhD, I have had a rewarding life and study experience in China, and I can’t wait to share with you all the ups and downs.
When I looked back eight years, I was full of energy at the age of eighteen, full of expectations for the future. On that day,from Turkmenistan to Beijing the plane took off against the rising sun. At Beijing airport seemed there were a lot of people arriving and leaving every moment. I was so nervous. Beijing is so big and crowded city that I felt a little depressed for a while. Taking a taxi from the airport to the train station, I also saw more people and countless tall buildings. After taking the train to Wuhu, I fell asleep tired. In a daze, suddenly heard a familiar word – Wuhu！The train broadcast announced that “Train has arrived at Wuhu railway station”. Finally, here I am!
Wuhu is located in south-central China, namely a Jiangnan city with “half the city’s mountains and half the city’s water”. Adjacent to the Yangtze River, Wuhu is situated halfway between the capital of Anhui province, Hefei and Nanjing. Wuhu is like a bright pearl of the river bank. Different big cities,the life of Wuhu is very comfortable, it allows people to experience life slowly and enjoy life in a leisurely way. I still remember when I first arrived at the school, the sun had just set and the street lights on both sides of the street were already on. There was the warm light, the shadow of not many pedestrians on the road. Well, Wuhu gave me the first feeling of comfort and stability, the kind of fear to the unknown I felt when I just arrived at the airport suddenly disappeared.
In many people’s eyes, Wuhu is just a small city, but for me, it is the most beautiful city in China. I still remember when I first arrived at my school. The sun had just set, and the street lights on both sides of the street were already on, the warm light and the shadows of a few pedestrians on the road. In Wuhu, I finally felt comfort and stability. The fear of the unknown I felt when I first arrived at the airport suddenly disappeared.
In Wuhu, I not only learned Chinese, but also experienced China’s profound culture, which deeply impressed me. I was also impressed by the convenience of living in modern Chinese cities. For instance, there is mobile payment, which international students use almost every day. My home country, Turkmenistan, is a developing country like China, but our Internet isn’t very stable and connections often drop, not to mention mobile payments. In my country, people generally use cash, occasionally pay by card, and mobile payment is only used 5% of the time. In China, you can take a phone and get everything done. You don’t need to carry a wallet.
In China, both the young and the old use mobile phones to pay. The most surprising thing is that even beggars accept money in this way. On more than one occasion, I have seen beggars on the roadside with QR code cards for mobile phone payment. Now in China, you don’t even have to bring your phone; you can pay with your face. It’s amazing!
Studying in China has opened a whole new chapter in my life. If I went back in time, I would still choose to study in Wuhu!