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【Interview】International Students: Life in BIT for One Month

release date :2014-12-11 09:20:00  |   [ close window ]ViewCount:

Studying in a foreign country isn’t easy, but it has its rewards

Writers: News Center of BIT  Zhao Lin, Debby Ng (Austrilia) Translators: News Agency of BIT  Shi Qi, Lai Hongdi

   Samina Akhtar, 26, from Gilgit, Pakistan, is a new international student at BIT. She is enrolled in a four-year electrical engineering Bachelor’s course.

    Beginnings in Xinjiang. Prior to arriving in Beijing, she studied at Xinjiang Normal University for two years after graduating from high school in Pakistan. For Samina, the choice was simple – Xinjiang was close enough to her hometown, but far enough to allow immersion into a completely different culture. The experience eventuated into an extremely positive one: “It was a very nice place with nice people so the first time I arrived in China, I found that I really liked it.”

    Samina also chose to study in China due to the prevalence of Chinese people in her hometown. She recalls seeing many Chinese workers in her city, a vast majority of them engineers – and, being an electrical engineering major, she became inspired by them. Samina’s mission to study Chinese began to make headway – and she isn’t the only Pakistani with such a goal. 

    Life at BIT. Samina’s reasoning in coming to Beijing is not so different to many other international students’. “I came to Beijing because it is a big city; the capital city.”

   “I researched scholarships and different environments of universities and chose BIT,” she says. She was successful and is now on a scholarship from the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC).

    Already, Samina has noticed differences between her life in Xinjiang and her new temporary home. “It’s difficult eating here because the food is not the same as in other cities – in Xinjiang [the dishes and style of cooking and eating] are a bit different.” She has, however, now adapted to Beijing food.

    Samina was also surprised by the accommodation allocated to her. “The university arranged us to live at a student apartment outside university. I would prefer to live inside the university,” she says. Suzhouqiao is a new complex which began to house BIT international students this semester.

    Despite the inconveniences, Samina says BIT has been very helpful towards her, and encountered no problems with enrolment or information regarding settling into BIT life.

    The complexity of foreign language learning. Like many other international students, Samina’s most persistent hardship stems from the Chinese language, having not been able to speak Chinese before arriving in Xinjiang. “I had a confused face and was like, what are they saying?” she recalls. Her Chinese language level has now significantly improved – however, it requires daily attention as her entire course is taught in Chinese. This presents an obstacle to learning and hinders her ability to have time to make more Chinese friends and participate in social activities at BIT. Samina says, “In Xinjiang, I had many Chinese friends. In Beijing I have not yet met friends like them.”

    "Before we only learnt basic Chinese, not words which are related to our subjects, so it’s very difficult. Every day we come to the room and a translator has to help us. It’s problematic and takes a long time.”

    On the positive side, Samina credits her cooperative classmates and dedicated teachers in helping her understand her coursework. “All my teachers are very good – if we have a problem they give us a time to see them. They help me all the time. So thank you so much, teachers!”

    A bright future. Connecting to home is important to Samina whilst in a foreign country. While she does miss her hometown, she has found refuge in meeting many Pakistani and other international students at BIT.  As for future prospects, Samina has slightly deviated from her original plan in order to broaden her horizons in China.

    "I will first complete my Bachelor’s then return home and find work for one to two years. Then I will go and study at another university outside of Beijing. I say this because I want to learn more things and go to other cities.”

    But of all the overwhelming experiences in China, Samina is most partial to the warm nature of its people. “Some people call out to me and say that [my hijab] is very nice and beautiful. Those times, I am really happy.”
Matthew: New Country, New Beginning
Writers: News Center of BIT  Zhao Lin, Hector Andres Campoy( Maxico)  Translator: Zhang Andi

    We met up at the lounge of the international students building to make an interview to one of the international students in this great university.

    I very much enjoyed my dialogue with this intelligent and talented gentleman; his attitude was genuinely winning and engaging.His name is Matthew, he is a young student from France, he is 20 years old and he studies Computer science at BIT.

    Beginnings in a new country .For Matthew, the choice was simple - China is a beautiful country rich in history and culture but more important than this, China makes a great choice for him since it offers a great opportunity for growing in the business field related to computer science.

    Comparing both French and Chinese cultures, it outstands the fact that they are very different to what food, behavior of the people and culture it refers,  but this was not a big issue for this open and limitless student since he has been living in the Asian continent since a long time ago. Before coming to China, he studied in Thailand for 8 years and now it is easy for him to accept the culture and the behavior of Chinese people.

    It is true that learning Chinese language could be difficult for many international students and it actually was a head-scratching issue for this student at the beginning but thanks to his big effort, now he can speak over 1000 Chinese words!

    Life at BIT. Matthew has been studying at BIT for more than two months and so far he describes this university as a good one because of its academic level, friendly people and ease to make the inscription compared to other universities. 

    " My mathematics teacher for example, he has been very patient to us, he explains in a very simple way and uses very helpful examples and I really appreciate that”.

    He discovered BIT because of the cousin of one of his friends. He studied at BIT a long time ago and he still could recommend this University to him. He also mentioned that one of the great things about this university is that you can improve your Chinese very fast since you are with Chinese people all the time compared to other universities where he has been to.

    Difficulties on the way and current situation. If he could mention an unconformity, it would be the disappointing fact that he asked for more information about one topic of security computer science to one of his teachers and she said that what Matthew wanted to do was too difficult. However, he understands it and so, he keeps studying and reading from other information sources. 

    Despite the inconveniences, he feels very grateful and enjoys his life at BIT where he is sure that he is receiving good quality classes, a secure environment and a good treatment from the people around him. 

    We think Matthew would not only enjoy the BIT experience, but would be an excellent addition to the BIT Community.  

Anthony – Look into the Future    
Writers: News Center of BIT Zhao Lin, Carlos Erlan Olival Lima (Brazil)  Translator: News Agency of BIT  Zhang Andi

    Anthony, from Indonesia, is studying Industrial Engineering in BIT. He is one of the new students from BIT and he plans to get his master’s degree in BIT. He chose to come to BIT, because it is in the top 3 of the best universities of Beijing in Technology, then it can provide a great support for his career with excellent professors and laboratories with the most advanced technology.  Besides, BIT is an excellent place to make friends and have funny due to great number of place to practice sports and relax.

    His grandparents are Chinese, then his family always come to China on the vacation to visit his grandparents in Guangzhou. Due to his good relationship with his grandparents, since he was a child he wanted to come to China and learn more about the Chinese culture, habits and language, but he just spent in China a couple of days, what is not enough to learn about one of the world’s oldest cultures. By the way, his grandparents always taught him a little bit about China when it was possible. In that, he learned three traditional Chinese poems, a little about the Chinese language, besides he already visited a large number of cities in China, which gave to him enough knowledge about the Chinese culture over the years.

    Due to that knowledge about the Chinese culture, Anthony is able to respect the differences between the Chinese culture and the culture of Indonesia. For him, the differences start with the food, because the Chinese cuisine, despite the difference in each region according the climate, imperial fashions and local preferences, three characteristics are common in the Chinese cuisine. The foods are very spicy, sweet or oily. Despite these differences between the cuisine of the two countries, they are very similar because many Indonesia dishes receive influences of the Chinese cuisine, then he doesn’t feel much difference in the taste of it.

    He is already studying mandarin seriously for two years, then he doesn’t have many problems to have a conversation with other peoples, but despite of this, he doesn’t get to understand all the stuffs in his classes, but every day he keep his Chinese up because he plan to get the scholarship from BIT next year. For this, the student needs to have one of the five best scores in BIT and go to class frequently. He thinks that one of the great reasons of his Chinese improve so fast is because of his teacher in the international student center. Anthony considers these teachers are the best in BIT because they explain all the subject very kindly.

    Anthony has great plans for his future, and one of his plans is to work for an international company and establish his own business, and in one of his possible business is create a new Starbucks. He is thinking about that because he plan to work with the efficiency of the manufacturing systems.

    We believe that Anthony has a great potential and he can become one of the best engineers after his graduation in BIT.
Beijing is familiar with Melaka, which makes me feel at  home

Writer: News Agency of BIT  Yan Li  Translator:
Shi Qi

   Neo Siah Lok Shaun, from Melaka, a historical city in Malaysia, is an international student in BIT, who is major in Electrical Engineering and Automation (Beijing Institute of Technology).

    Impression on Beijing. In Shaun’s words, the most important reason why he chose BIT was by the suggested of an agent from his high school. In the agent’s description, BIT is one of the most famous university in China , especially in the field of technology. As such a great tempation to a guy who’s good at science and engineering course, he decided to come and experience it himself.

    Arriving in Beijing with impression that China is a big and very developed country, however, after some days seeing the city personally, Shaun surprisingly found that Beijing is not much different than his country except it’s a lot bigger. “My first impression of BIT was that it is a modern university, but actually it’s more historical.” As the capital city of many dynasties in ancient China, many places of historical interest and scenic beauty are still preserved well, which are popular sites among international students, Shaun said.
    Shaun also talked about the harmonious and warm of Beijing. “Beijing is familiar with Melaka, which makes me feel home.” “Things here are simple, transportation is very user friendly and everything can be bought just by using card. Although the card needs to be recharged.” Even though if peopl are lost, they can just use their phone and search for the routes.

    Life at BIT. Learning Chinese is easier to Shaun than other international students because in Malaysia people speak Chinese a lot, basically on a daily basis. So, with strong basic and the Chinese course in BIT, it is not tough for Shaun to communicate with people here. As things in Beijing is the same as his country, right now Shaun isn’t having any difficulties living in BIT. “People here are friendly. I’ve met a lot of friends and we always play and learning together,”Shaun said.
    Right now Shaun’s plan for the future is not decided yet, but his first step is that after getting his bachelor degree from BIT, he’ll probably go for a master in China. 
    Staying for four years in a foreign country, “I believe that anyone who went abroad to study will definitely miss their hometown,” Shaun said definitely, with a little sorrow. However, as the similar of Malaysia and China, the sense of missing hometown isn’t such strong to him. “Travelling around china would be great because I can go sightseeing and learn more about China,” Shaun said, with a smile.

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