Time will always tell us which path is right and which path is wrong.
It was during the year of 2016 that I decided to come to China to pursue my dream of being a doctor. I wasn’t having any plans for studying abroad when I was a high school student and I have never dreamed about it. Anyway the day arrived for me to leave India for a while and go to China to start my MBBS course for the next 6 years. On September 9th 2016 midnight I took my flight from Cochin International Airport, Kerala to Singapore first and then from there to Pudong International Airport, Shanghai. Since I was the only student who took admission in Jiangsu University for MBBS course from my agency I was forced to go alone without any companionship to with me. Anyway I was ok with that.
Great Canyon glass bridge of zhangjiajie
I do prepare some basic Chinese words like 你好 谢谢 etc before coming to China. But I didn’t know about the WeChat until I reach Singapore Changi airport and when I met a Chinese citizen. He’s the one who introduced WeChat to me. Then I created my own WeChat account while I was waiting for my next flight in Changi Airport, Singapore. I arrived Pudong international Airport, Shanghai early morning of 10th September 2016. There’s should be a teacher from my agency’s Qingdao office who was supposed to receive me when I reach Shanghai. But later I knew that no one is coming to pick me when I called my family. Which made my first day in China still unforgettable. Later I managed to contact with a senior student in Jiangsu University whom which I already known before coming to China. He helped me to meet some volunteer students from Jiangsu University who were already there in the airport at the same day to pick up the new students coming to China. So I was lucky to came on that day otherwise I should have really in a bad situation since I’m in a country which I don’t understand language and no one is there to help. Anyhow I managed to reach my university around midnight of that day.
Me and my classmates of MBBS batch 2016 during surgery class
Pictures from international culture festival of 2018 and 2019
During the first few months of my studies I realised that things I knew about China and Chinese culture was very few compared to the things that I didn’t know. Active participation in the extra-curricular events and socialising yourself more in the community really helped me to learn more about the Chinese cultures and different types of Chinese cuisines. I learned to cook some of my favourite Chinese dishes like braised pork, Sparerib soup or Pork chop soup and how to make dumplings. Then it was the struggling period of learning Chinese language. From the beginning I really tasted the bitterness of learning the most spoken language in the world but I realised if I practice more I could easily tackle it. Since I was the only student in my class from the state of Kerala, there wasn’t many friends for me to chill out. So I got a lot of time to learn Chinese language and attend more Chinese corners, and this gradually helped me to learn the Chinese language more efficiently.
Learning to make dumplings during a Chinese activity
Our first activity for the medical students was the white coat ceremony. In which we wear the white coat for first time and take the Hippocratic oath. I used to be active in volunteering works so I got my first chance to go for a trip to Nanjing in a tour program organised by the school. We visited some of the beautiful places in Nanjing such as the famous Nanjing museum, Xuanwu Lake, Dr. Sun Yatsen Mausoleum and visited the Shanghai Bund during a blood donation drive organised by the Indian community of Shanghai... Also I had many opportunities provided by the Chinese students associations to participate in their activities in which I learn how to make dumplings.
White coat ceremony
This should be an important thing which happened in my life during my life in China which will have a great influence in my whole life that I was lucky to be treated as a family member in a Chinese family. Even though I’m a foreigner they treated me very well and also accepted me as their adopted son. It helped me to recover from the homesickness and loneliness which I faced during the beginning of my studies in China and also helped me to improve my Chinese language skills. During the winter vacations of 2018 and 2019, I got an opportunity to visit the hometown of my Chinese parents in Xinyang, Henan province and I went there with them. I stayed there for almost one week and celebrated the Chinese New Year of both 2018 and 2019 with my Chinese parents and their whole family. This was a great opportunity for me to experience the vastness of Chinese culture and get to know more about it. Some of these cultures were I didn’t even heard about and I felt they’re really fascinating. Chinese New Year and it’s celebrations will be the one which I’ll surely miss when I go back to my home country. Now I’m still their adopted son and they treat me like an actual member of their big family. I was often invited for many of their family events such as weddings, birthdays and reunion dinners etc.
Kids from my Chinese parent’s family
Overseas students of Jiangsu University often have many cultural activities. One among this is the International Culture Festival (ICF) of every year. This helped us to become more bonded with the students who’re from same place. We the students from Kerala state who speaks the language Malayalam created a group and we named it as Samrajyam (a word from the language Malayalam which means an empire). We’re about 35 students and we often have get-togethers and tours during the vacations and mostly are during the important festivals of Kerala state like Onam, Christmas, Eid-ul Fitr, Vishu, New Year and birthday celebrations etc. During these festival time we cook delicious Indian food and gather in some parks to eat together and play games after eating. We often go for trips to parks like Xinjin Ferry Ancient street, Jiaoshan, Nanshan, Beigushan and Jinshan which are in Zhenjiang close to our university also places like Happy Farm and Dongguan street in Yangzhou, Fanda water theme park in Wuhu, Anhui.
At xijin ferry ancient street
Yangzhou dongguan street
Apart from the studies I’m a person who likes to travel a lot. During my three and half years of life in China, I visited many places such as Wuhan, Yangzhou, Changzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Wuhu and Zhangjiajie. While travelling to these cities most of the time I was alone and seldom with some tourist groups of people from different places. I encountered many Chinese people in my day to day life and during the trips to the scenic areas who’re really curious to know about myself and where I’m coming from etc. They also want to take pictures with me and hold their kids and pose for the pictures. There was many such occasions in which I felt the warmth of Chinese people and how curious they are about to know the foreign people and their home countries.
At Nanjing museum
In front of yellow crane, wuhan
It’s been three and half years of my life in China and I’m a fourth year MBBS student in Jiangsu University. These three years of time helped me to learn many new things, to become more independent, self supportive and made me more mature than I was before. So now it’s the time to say which was my right path to choose to pursue my dreams to become a doctor and the seprecious three and half years of time proved me that I chose the right path for my future in 2016.