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Seeing is Believing

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2023-05-18 10:09:54 | Author: Farzad Azizi

Mr. Farzad Azizi. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Farzad Azizi

I come from the small town of Mullingar, located in County Westmeath in the middle of Ireland. After graduating from the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS) with a master's degree in business, I decided to move to China after a meeting with Ms. Wang Liping, who ran a cooperative international exchange program with TUS.

I have now been living in China's Hefei city for almost a decade. When I arrived in 2014, I lived on the 21st floor of a building with 34 floors. Seeing these skyscrapers really amazed me. The community I lived in had more people than the whole town of Balbriggan. The way I tried to understand the city was to take a local bus ride and get off at different stops and walk around. The bus only cost one RMB per ride and was very convenient. Along with taxis, buses were the only form of transportation in the city at the time, and traveling to nearby cities meant taking the slow and old green train.

Fast forward to 2023, life has never been more convenient for a foreigner living in Hefei. Many new communities have been built, new businesses established, roads and bridges built and there is ongoing development in every part of the city. Each community is designed like a small city. For example, there are 23 tall buildings in my community campus, which has four gates, and each gate has at least one of the following: a supermarket,a pharmacy, a clinic, a kindergarten or a soft play area for children.

Besides all of these services making it easy for people to source their daily needs, and public transportation has been greatly improved, with five subway lines in operation and several others being built. Car hailing service DiDi is only a phone click away at a very reasonable price and a bullet train now takes only 20 minutes to get to Chaohu city, and it is always on time. In the past, the same trip on the antiquated and unreliable green train, which now no longer operates, would take me an hour. If your commute is not too far or you prefer to bike, you have a choice between an e-bike that can travel up to 24 kph, or a bicycle using your Alipay phone app. During my time here, I have seen great development with new restaurants, resources and facilities constantly being built and people having more choices than ever before, thanks to the encouraging spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

I believe in the saying, "Seeing is believing." From seeing the road cleaners getting up early in the morning and working till late at night, to the 24-hour security guard with a quick response to people in need, I have seen with my own eyes how hard the Chinese people work. It's genuinely encouraging.

I did miss my family at the beginning of my bachelor days here, but I do not think I ever really felt homesick because the Chinese friends I was surrounded by made me feel like at home.

I remember I first arrived in Hefei in September and my birthday is in November, and I was asked to go to the office by Ms Wang. I did not expect them to know about my birthday, but I was surprised by a beautiful cake and many gifts from my employer and colleagues. And to this day, my colleagues are like my family whenever I need something these are the people I call. Not only that, but I have also been fortunate enough to have been invited to experience China with my friends from different parts of the country.

During my time in Hefei, I have got to know the kind-hearted local people who have always been very good to me, and that has made all the difference to my China journey. My suggestion for those people wanting to come to live in China is to make an effort to get to know the locals and experience the local customs, including the food.


Farzad Azizi is an English teacher working at Hefei No.1 High School.

Editor: 毕炜梓

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