Hasib (Pakistan), tell us about his experiences learning Chinese: “Ten years ago, there were only a few classes for each grade but now the number of students has increased several folds. The teachers mostly lived on campus at that time. I often saw the university’s president going to work by bicycle. But now the teachers have cars. The parking lots are always crowded.”
The depth of friendship between China and Pakistan is as high as a mountain and as long as a river. The Chinese even give Pakistan an amicable nickname “Ba Tie”, which means “faithful brother Pakistan.” I came to China 10 years ago, so I am a typical “old China hand.”
In 1997, I became a student at the computer science department of Tsinghua University. After graduation five years later, I returned to Pakistan. This year, I came to China for a second time. Seeing the present-day China, I, once so familiar with her, couldn’t help sighing with wonder at her great changes.
I used to be a “Beijing expert.” Every weekend, I had taken to the streets, experiencing the folk culture and meeting different people. I was quite familiar with the city. But this time, I saw more towering buildings, wider streets, and much more complicated maps. The streets are no longer what they looked like before. I feel quite muddled.
Back at the campus of Tsinghua University, I was impressed with the great changes that had taken place there. Ten years ago, there were only a few classes for each grade but now the number of students has increased several folds. The teachers mostly lived on campus at that time. I often saw the university’s president going to work by bicycle. But now the teachers have cars. The parking lots are always crowded. I also saw more young teachers, most of whom have overseas study experience. These teachers know about the overseas customs and get along with foreign students more easily.
Great changes have taken place in Beijing. There are more skyscrapers and more motor vehicles. The city is no longer in dominant grey color but rather colorful now. The residents’ living standards have also greatly improved. But what remains unchanged is the “faithful brotherhood” with my Chinese friends. Seeing them again after 10 years, I feel as if we had parted with each other just yesterday.
I am indebted to the Chinese language because it brings so many Chinese friends to me and enables me to communicate with them like I do with my family. The Chinese language is not only the language of the Chinese people, but also the language of mine. Now I can proudly announce that China is my second homeland.
Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Number 05. Volume V. November 2009.
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