Study in China

 

By Abdul Karim

Karim was a young, enthusiastic, professionally grooming and romantic Biology teacher in Abbottabad. It is the city famous for its educational institutions and beautiful climate. The most wanted militant Osama Bin Laden also liked the calm and coolness of Abbottabad and hided there for more than five years until he was killed by American marines in May 2011. After masters, Karim strived hard for half a decade to get to a better position. But he was unlucky to grasp a reasonable position. His dreams were getting torn out. His wish to pass a respectable life was near to take last breaths in morally shattered and materialistic loving society that worship money as God. He was dying with every breath where a human was evaluated by his possessions and power not by content of his character. In that darkness, a candle of hope of better future sparked his luck. It was scholarship offered by the Government of China under Cultural Exchange Program for Academic year 2011-12.

The scholarship was offered by China Scholarship Council (CSC) to Government of Pakistan. The Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry of Pakistan (IPC) was selecting the candidates throughout Pakistan in all disciplines by conducting a test via National Testing Service (NTS) Pakistan. The final list of candidates was to be made by IPC. One cold evening of October 2011, Karim was going to Islamabad to appear in Cultural Exchange Scholarship Test conducted by NTS. The three hour drive from Abbottabad to Islamabad was made more gracious by the company of his loveliest friend Fawad, both among the thousands of 1st class Master Degree Holders to appear in the test. In March 2012, Karim got surprise result that he and Fawad had passed the test scoring 25th& 24th position in their province, respectively. After couple of months, thrilling news came to them that they were
considered candidates to hold Cultural Exchange Scholarship for China. Karim was left alone to see China as Fawad got lectureship in University during that time.

Karim got Admission Notice and Application for Visa by CSC through IPC. He was given a time to fore fill all the needed documents to IPC and to get Student Visa from Chinese Embassy Islamabad. It was a work of great valor and patience for him. He has to complete many requirements e.g. Passport, Foreign Physical Examination Form and Police Verification Certificate etc. At last he spent couple of days in Islamabad to get visa. There is no visa fee for Pakistanis to china as both countries enjoy friendly relations. He came to know that to have a single page of visa on your passport is not an easy work in the world.
The green visa with the picture of Great Wall of China on his green passport brought a smile to his face.

Couple of weeks before leaving his motherland, he was given suggestions, advises, ethical lectures, enthusiastic and sober notes for his new phase of life abroad. He was drunk as a mad by so many varieties of wines of wisdom. Some reminding him the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that “Seek Knowledge, Even if it be in China.” Some elaborating the life style of Chinese, some friends advising that come back with a degree and most importantly with a fairy.

At last a day with mild shinning came when Karim has to say good bye to his motherland. Early in morning he saw his niece hiding herself from him and weeping for him. He also could not hold his emotions that had raptured through his eyes. His old father, the most loving to him was looking at him compassionately. When he looked at the eyes of his mother, they were wet. “I will come back soon successful. You please don’t weep. I can’t bear this.” he was encouraging her mother. Almost all people of village, mostly women gathered at his home to say him good bye. They paid him gracious respect, kindness and love by praying, giving him some pocket money and kisses. He greeted his father with a warm embrace and a gentle kiss on his forehead. Then he had to say “Good Bye” to his sole selfmade relations in this mortal world, called Friends. Last to meet him at airport were his arms, the brothers and piece of his heart, 8 year talkative and sharp niece, Safara. The last embracing to all, he still feels in his soul.

Karim felt a new boost of optimistic emotions as his aero plane left Islamabad to Urumqi. Luckily he got his seat beside window in plane. He was able to watch the wellorganized city of Islamabad under his feet. Then he saw University Campus of Fawad, then
his own hometown and after that it was high mountains and deserts. The high flight above mountains and deserts made him fly high to achieve his goals. When he was entering into China, while in air, he was thinking deeply about the attitude of people of China, his conduct of research, teacher’s relation, weather and living conditions of new place. He never knew that something beyond his thinking was waiting for him. He was in deep thoughts of past and new planes for future. Landing in Urumqi surprised him with cold weather, strange language and new foods. He felt as he has newly born to a new land.

Next day he was in the cold of fog city, Chongqing. He was very relaxed that weather of October of Chongqing was like his hometown. There he observed abundant greenery in vegetation, gracious development of infrastructures and hard working of Chinese people. He had been listening since his childhood about the hard working of Chinese People. Karim was feeling comfortable as he safely reached the destination of voyage, Southwest University. The young students were coming in and out on the roads of campus as water tides flowing on the surface of ocean. He was thinking himself as a droplet from far mountains
that has mingled into the ocean after a long, hard and very lucky journey.

When he reached the Foreign Student Dormitory, Southwest University, he was called to do some basic necessary official duties like pictures, bank card, internet account etc. He felt very confident at the living conditions of the foreign dormitory. The building was clean and neat with modern infrastructure. His room was reasonable in size, well ventilated, equipped with wooden floor, AC, TV, freezer, desk, cupboard, chair, desk telephone, bed and separate washroom. He was received with great hospitality by the people of office and foreign students. The deep wounds of the separation of family and friends started to heal with the passage of time.

Next objective was to meet the teacher in the School of Life Sciences where he has to study his subject Botany, the science of plants. He met his teacher in the office and was briefed about the laboratory and the work to conduct. He met his Labe-fellows who treated him as a member of their own family. In his early days he felt difficulty in communication with them. Interestingly, once he asked a problem to his Post-Doctorate fellow and spoke fluent English for five minutes but was replied with only a single “Yes”. He realized that Chinese have trust in their language. He considered that it is very important for anyone to improve communication skills in China to talk to natives.

It became very busy for him to study which was keeping him away from homesickness. He had to attend laboratory from 8:30AM to 9:00PM except the time for classes. The friends in dormitory used to call him “Nocturnal” as he was seen by them late in night. Many suggested him even to sleep in laboratory. It was a tough time schedule as compared to his past life. But the new studies and experimental works were full of charm for him to keep him energetic and charm full. He was manipulating the mysterious molecules like DNA etc by his own hand which once he dreamed for.

Early days in China were a period of settlement. The greatest challenges to face were language and food. His medium of learning was English but practically all it was Chinese. It was more difficult for him to communicate in market or in campus but Chinese
friends were very cooperative. The second problem for him was the Chinese dishes and to obtain Muslim food. His total life became a laboratory. He has to test different kinds of food everyday and make sharp analysis for their taste etc. He was “slow and steady” winning the race and was adapted to the life and the food. Later he started to cook in dormitory by the advices of friends. He started to cook vegetables, eggs, chicken and “Pakistani Bread” etc with interesting innovations, which were liked and praised by his friends.

The life in dormitory was a new laboratory to learn. People from different nations and culture with were a source of great learning. There were students from all the Continents with great diversity. His ship was now out of his river into a vast ocean.

No doubt that there is a lot of advancement in higher studies in China as compared to sub-continent countries like Pakistan. A lot of opportunities and sources are available for research work. Equipment and material is advance and teaching staff capacities are much higher. China is so huge country and developing very rapidly. It is a model to inspire the developing nations of the planet. To sum up, the foreign exposure to China was a new revival for Karim. It was to build a new life of your own according to your wishes. Quite often, he remembered the quote of great intellectual and Turkish Poet Maulauna Jalaluddin
Rumi that “Travel brings Power and Love Back to you.”

 

Author Details:

Name: Abdul Karim

Nationality: Pakistan

University: School of Life Science (Botany), Southwest University, Chongqing

CUCAS Says:  This essay is the only one piece to use the writing style of third person, which makes it more like reading a novel, but CUCAS team could feel deep and genuine affections from author’s descriptions, and we are also so touched that the author could live a full life and make the best use of hit time in China.