New Semester! International Students Share Their Must-haves!

For those post-millennial boys and girls, the new semester not only means a start to something new, but also a great adventure. For some of them, it is the first time to leave home and come to a new country which is so far and so different.

New Semester! International Students Share Their Must-haves!

Students dress in their traditional clothing to celebrate the annual World Culture Festival held by Beijing Language University. Photo: VCG

  • How do they cope with their first day in China? 

  • What have they brought from their home country to ease homesickness? 

  • And what are their expectations of the new semester? 

Metropolitan talked to some of them and let them share their must-have lists as well as some useful tips.

Halting homesickness

On September 7, Beijing Language University welcomed their new students from all over the world.

On the main road of Beijing Language University campus, we met Annalise Bowden, an 18-year-old girl from Texas, US, who is going to start her freshman year. She told us she brought some perfumes with her, which are all her favorites, and also had a pair of socks with American flags and a T-shirt with the word “Texas”.

New Semester! International Students Share Their Must-haves!

The opening ceremony at Xi’an Jiaotong University kicked off on September 13 in Yongningmen, Xi’an. Overseas students take photos with the cartoon figures from Terra Cotta Warriors. Photo: VCG

Most of the girls we met were the same as Annalise. They brought their favorite clothes and cosmetics to China, and want to start their new life here with the best self image.

“I brought some traditional clothes. See, I’m wearing one of them,” Lili Urooj from Pakistan showed us her beautiful Pakistani dress. “It’s like wearing the culture of your country.” She suggested newcomers bring clothes from their countries to school so that “they can perform in different clothes when the culture festival arrives.”

Home flavor

If there is one thing one must take from their home country, it has to be the food. Home flavor always make us happy and can ease homesickness with a simple bite. When talking about the must-have list, many freshmen also said they have brought their favorite food.

New Semester! International Students Share Their Must-haves!

Wuhan University held its 2018 opening ceremony on September 9, where thousands of undergraduate students, including overseas students, attended the ceremony. Photo: VCG

Akhsya Amran and Sharizah Rahman, from Malaysia, both agreed that food is a must-have on their lists.

“Of course the food. You can’t get it over here. So we brought a lot of things like spices, soy sauce and chili sauce.”

Usman Arshad from Pakistan said he brought some rice here, saying that the rice from his home is very delicious and well-known all over the world.

Marco Matera is a 20-year-old from Italy who brought some cheese to university.

New Semester! International Students Share Their Must-haves!

Overseas students from Nigeria take photos to celebrate their studies at Central South University on September 7. Photo: VCG

“I also like Chinese food. It’s quite good,” he said happily, “I think it depends. If you’re an open minded person and want to try new things, then you don’t need to bring too many things from your country.”

Fillip Sebok from Slovakia also brought some food from his hometown, not for himself, but as a gift for his friends in China.

“I brought some sweets. Because we’re in a very international environment here. It’s very nice to know other cultures and of course, their food,” said Fillip.

An open mind

The biggest impression these young adults left on us is not only their love of their home countries, but also their international outlook and the courage of starting a new life on their own. Just as the young Malaysian man, Ben Chia said, “we should keep an open mind besides all these material things.”

“If you’re from the West, [and] you’re not very used to the culture, keeping an open mind will help you get through the first days.”

New Semester! International Students Share Their Must-haves!

Overseas students study at Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University. Photo: VCG

For most students, coming to China not only provides them an opportunity to study, but also enables them to see a real China through their eyes.

“I think China is great. It’s so clean here, and people are friendly,” said Valerie Sokolova from Russia, “People told me that Chinese people don’t know how to speak English. But yesterday when I had trouble on the street, many people came to help me, and some young people talked to me in English. They are really friendly.”

Having been studying in China for three years, Fillip is now getting used to his life here.

New Semester! International Students Share Their Must-haves!

© Image | Google

“I think many people [in my country] don’t know much about China. For example, they only know cities like Beijing and Shanghai; they only know China is very big. So, I’m always the one who tells them that China is a very complicated country. It’s very modern and changes very fast,” said Fillip.

New Semester! International Students Share Their Must-haves!

© Image | Google

As for their expectations of the new semester? Most of them gave me the same answer: improve their Chinese!

“I hope I could be fluent in Chinese, as I’m in a one-year Chinese preparatory program,” said Annalise.

“You should learn some basic Chinese before you come,” suggested Akhsya.

“Local Chinese will appreciate your effort if you can communicate with them in basic Chinese,” she said.