My sweet XAUAT story |
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My sweet XAUAT story

By SAITOTI EMANUEL ELIBARIKI | | Updated : 2022-10-08


Nationality: Tanzania

University: Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology

Location: Shaanxi

My name is 齐雷,birth name Emanuel Elibariki Saitoti, from the United Republic of Tanzania, currently studying Civil engineering at Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology(XAUAT),an amazing place to be.I recall November 22, 2019 as the day that I arrived at the place that I always wished to be in, the People's Republic of China, a place with advancement of technology, fast pace in construction,a success story and a role model of development to many.

As I arrived, I was astonished by the complex and beautiful designs of the city of Xi'an, an ancient city with great history, yummy foods and wonderful people. I also remember teachers welcoming me with warmth and encouraging words as I was the last foreign student to arrive at the campus in that academic year.

It took alot of energy, optimism and courage to be accustomed to this new place,having new faces, a different language used for daily communication and even the freezing cold weather. Although I come from a cold region of Tanzania but it was no match for this, welcomed by freezing coldness as soon as I landed.

On my first day at school, I did not understand what the language teachers were saying, I was just startled. Despite the dark cloud at that moment I was given a Chinese name with a teacher who believed that I would progressively be better as she later defined the name as a combination of a ‘crushing rock,齐’ and a ‘mighty thunder,雷’. I also remember meeting new faces from different parts of the world, all of them had one thing in common; that is friendliness. I was never left out at XAUAT, let it be learning time or entertainment time,everyone is so interactive and supportive.

Unfortunately, in early 2020 a pandemic struck and the society halted for a moment, witnessing yet another biggest challenge to human history,COVID-19. From social medias to news outlets, the name 'Wuhan-a central city in the Hubei province of China' kept surfacing as they were intensely battling against this deadly disease, millions of doctors,care workers and servicemen being deployed to save lives on the front-lines.

It was among of the toughest and scariest moments that I witnessed in history, but I had to stay strong, cooperative and supportive to the efforts to curb this pandemic. Through China's unique 'Zero-COVID' strategy, we had to enter a complete lock-down so as to curb the spread of any infections in our province(Shaanxi) as it just lies to the west of Hubei province. It was a hard time but yet special, because it happened while I am in a foreign country.

During the early days of the winter holiday of 2020, some of my friends were scared of the outcome of this battle and many decided to go back to their respective countries,leaving only a few of us who believed on an immediate relief.

To this end, it is worth noting that the lock-down had numerous benefits including space for self focus and improvement but on the other hand, it caused some psychological effects such as anxiety. But I am grateful because my parents, teachers and the university in general provided alot of assistance and made sure that we never felt lonely, scared or isolated, but rather feel connected by providing mental support, advice and physical support including food items and reliable free internet connection.

This pandemic changed the normalcy of the society we live in, it has reshaped ways of interaction, thinking and further more prepared us for any future incidents that might face our societies. I also made a little bit contribution by writing a couple of encouraging messages to the people of Wuhan and China at large who were all in an intense battle against this deadly enemy, believing that someone out there would be encouraged by my posters, some of which were posted in the School of International Education at the main campus.

Fast track forward, its now 2022, almost 3years since it all began, some infections due to new variants of the virus arise from time to time and lock-downs are imposed, offline(in-person) classes get suspended or we are required to do several rounds of nucleic acid testing but everything is gradually resuming to normal, perhaps the new normal and life goes on.

Thanks to the continuous efforts shown by the government and the general public, we can still enjoy our days in harmony, we can eventually attend in-person classes and other school activities in the campus. Although most times I am occupied with school works but I love spending my free time learning new things; reading psychology and entrepreneurship-related books; exercising my body or playing basketball.

I have also been striving to excel in Chinese language proficiency whereby I have managed to complete my HSK 4 exam in October 2021 ahead of schedule. I use more of my time on communication with both fellow students and locals, focusing on the fluency and additional standard communication vocabulary which I believe would be more helpful during my stay in China.

I wish to stay in this beautiful country,a home far from home, be part of this wonderful society for a longer time, complete my postgraduate studies and achieve all the amazing things that I had already planned. There are many opportunities and development tools that I am eager to learn from this place so that I can use them to replicate development to my Tanzanian society, for instance the poverty alleviation strategy used to lift almost 800 million Chinese out of poverty, the up-to-date construction techniques used to deliver world’s high quality projects and the ground breaking advancements in science, technology and space exploration.

It is always my hope that as China continues to open up to the world, more people or nations can grasp a better view and know more about this beautiful country.