Everyone has a decisive choice which determines his or her life. For me, it was coming to China as a foreign student.
On Sept 19, 2015, I left my family in Afghanistan for a completely foreign country, China. All my understanding was limited to what my father told me and what I learned from movies.
After two days of traveling, I finally arrived at Taiyuan University of Technology. For the first two years I was in Mingxiang Campus in Jinzhong city, Shanxi province, which is called the new campus.
The beauty of the new campus can even make even an unemotional person fall in love with it immediately. When I stepped into the campus and saw the yellow buildings, green football fields, small electric cars carrying students, freshmen wearing blue and green clothes doing military training, I felt the charm of the place.
In the beginning, I felt very lonely and friendless because of the language obstacle. The Chinese students were trying to talk to me, but I was like a deaf person and couldn't understand anything. At the same time, when I tried to express myself it was like they were deaf and I could not be entirely understood.
Learning Chinese is not an easy hurdle to overcome, especially for me who had never dealt with Chinese characters and tones before. However, under the careful guidance of all the teachers in the school and with my own efforts, I acquired communication skills in a short time.
The teachers at the College of International Student Exchange left a very deep impression on me. Every time I remember Han Xiaoyun's grammar teaching method; Wang Jing's unique pronunciation teaching skills; Li Wei's modern literature class; Zhang Jinping's Chinese as a foreign language class; Zhao Jingwu's modern Chinese class and Shi Yu's ancient literature as well as their tender, humorous, enthusiastic or passionate characters, I feel proud to have had the opportunity to be a student of these great people.
Of course, there are some difficulties for everyone when studying abroad. At first, I thought the most unendurable thing was the food, especially in the cafeteria. However, it didn't take much time to get used to it. I even missed the local variety of noodles when I got back to Afghanistan on a summer holiday in the first year.
In the past three years, I lived and studied in the Yingxi Campus in Wanbailin district in Taiyuan, which is known as the old campus.
After I arrived at Yingxi, I became further integrated with the society. The campus is located in the city center. There are many places to go explore.
Yingze Park was my favorite place to go. Then I went to other places ever farther, such as the Second Reservoir of the Fenhe River, the giant Buddha statue on the Mengshan Mountain and others. I also went to surrounding cities such as Jinzhong, Datong, Linfen, Yuncheng, Changzhi, Hejin and Lyuliang.
During the past five years, I visited many parts of China, especially the representative cities in the north, south, east and west. All these trips helped me experience the true meaning of the extensive and profound Chinese culture. As a foreigner, I personally experienced the Confucius saying that "it's a delight to have friends from afar".
Now, while I write this story, five years has passed. I'm getting ready to leave here for a new place.
For me, this place which raised me for five years, each day here holds colorful treasures in my memory. No matter how far I go, I will never forget this place and the teachers who helped me learn the language and culture, which makes up one-sixth of the world's population.
By MOHAMMAD SHAHIR SHARIFI
The writer is an Afghan student in Taiyuan University of Technol­ogy.