Life in China(Sarah Ali Siddiqui)[2016-09-04]

Time: 2016.09.04

My name is Sarah and I am a Pakistani studying in Computer Sciences 3 year Master’s degree program at University of Jinan, China. So far, my experience has been great here. The people of Shandong province are warm-hearted, welcoming and makes it easier to adjust and get adapted to the totally different culture and lifestyle of China. 
 
The teachers in the International Students Office have been very cooperative and helpful with everything. The teachers in our school i.e. the school of information science and engineering have all been very supportive and accommodating. I am a member of the Ubiquitous Sensing Lab (USLab) and our supervisor, Professor Zhang Yuan has always been very kind, caring, understanding, encouraging and cooperative. Even before I came to China, he used to communicate on a regular basis to guide me through every step of the process. I have learned a lot from him over the past couple of years. Besides the research work, he has also taught a few academic courses to us. His tips and advices have helped me see my own work critically and how to polish a good work to make it a great work. Living abroad can be difficult without people to guide and care for us. 
 
I have finished my course work with very good grades and have published a paper in the Springer. Currently, I am working on my second paper and I also review papers from time to time.
 
One of the few things that I appreciate the most about China is the vast transportation system. It is very economical, convenient, comfortable and safe for students. Both the local public bus network as well as the intercity train system is fitting for foreigners especially students. Another great thing about China is the online system for almost everything from the mobile top-up to cheap food to shopping of all kinds of stuff to money transfers and payments of all kinds etc.
 
China has a rich culture and Chinese people follow their traditions and values sternly. During the past couple of years, I have celebrated a lot of festivals with my Chinese friends like the spring festival, dragon boat festival, lantern festival, mid-autumn festival, Qingming festival etc .The biggest and the most important festival, the spring festival, also known as the Chinese New Year, a Chinese friend invited me to her place to experience the festivity and celebrate it with her family. All kinds of delicious food, fireworks, special television shows and the red packet (hong bao) made the day very special.
 
Jinan is a beautiful city also called the city of springs. The musical fountain in Quancheng square, the tiger spring, the Baotou spring are the best scenic spots of the city along with the thousand Buddha mountain (Qianfu shan). I have also been to quite a few places outside Jinan like the mountain Tai (Tai shan), Harbin, Dalian, Weifang, Kaifeng, Beijing, Yellow river etc. The ice festival in Harbin and my first ever snowfall experience in Dalian are the most memorable of all.
 
Besides the studies and the travel, I have also learned the special Chinese meditation from our supervisor. It is a very healthy, soothing, relaxing and a calming activity especially with all the workload and stress.
 
Suggestion: Sometimes, there is not a proper/standard system for international students in degree programs (e.g. grading system, transcripts etc.) and the language barrier makes it even harder.