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My beautiful memories of China

facebook twitter linkedin | Updated: Feb 25, 2022

[Italy] Dragonetti Carlo, East China Normal University

Dragonetti Carlo delivers a speech at the graduation ceremony. [Photo provided to]

Studying in China has completely changed my life!

When I applied for the scholarship, I had no idea I would grow up like today. I first came to China in 2013, and could barely speak Chinese back then, but now I can write an article in Chinese!

After coming to China, I experience different things every day, which helps me grow and makes me a “China hand” . I just realized that my past life was a complete waste. As a native Italian, if I had not come to China, I would not have known that it is not good to wear green hats or give your girlfriend shoes as gifts in China. These are not simple cultural phenomena, but real factors that urge me to change my mind-set, my habits and myself. There are plenty of examples proving that I have blended into China.

For example, I get used to drinking plain water, I learn to pass my card with both hands, I always offer my seat to the elder, and I eat with chopsticks skillfully. How can I be the same as I was when I lived in Italy?

I only experienced certain aspects of China in Shanghai, while other parts of China also deeply attract me. In the past 10 years, China has improved its infrastructure. I'm so lucky to travel to more different provinces by convenient public transportation.

I have been to many places including Liaoning, Yunnan, Gansu, Sichuan. I will never forget when I worked as a volunteer teacher in Wuyuan, Jiangxi Province.

Back then, the school organized us to work as volunteer teachers in Jiangxi. Several international students and I got to know thousands of Chinese primary students through this opportunity. I'm honored to be a part of the activity where we helped children broaden their horizons and helped them cultivate a more open mind.

Can you imagine how happy children were when they played and studied with us? In fact, I have to admit that I was happier than they were. Although I have participated in many volunteer activities, the volunteer teaching was the most meaningful thing I have ever done in my life.

As the slogan of our volunteer teaching said, “Love is boundless” , our goal was to bring love and care to those innocent kids. But we found that we felt more love in them. Chinese kids are brilliant!

I taught them geography. The reason why I chose geography was that when I was a kid, China seems so distant on the map, but now I am in this beautiful country. China’s reform and opening-up and globalization have made all parts of the world more connected, and we are full of hope for the future.

I'm grateful for what I have seen and done. I would like to thank the Chinese government for providing us with scholarships and East China Normal University for nurturing me.What I admire most is that they have won the trust of the young generation around the world, which is hard to achieve even in western countries.

We are the leaders of the next era. We will not forget the quality education and warm memories China has given us. If you get to know China, it will be hard for you to leave her and forget the memories of being here. China is home to me. I love China.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).