The Chill in Beijing was growing stronger. Zhang Junzhu (张珺竹) bundled up in thick clothes, wrapping herself tightly. Despite the swift onset of Beijing’s cold, the warm hospitality of the Chinese people kept her heart cozy.
Hailing from Indonesia, Zhang Junzhu’s initial impressions of China came from history textbooks in school— the Great Wall in Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, these mystical and extraordinary cultural heritages left her deeply impressed. The stories of the Chinese navigator Zheng He’s voyages particularly kindled her yearning for a country that had intricate historical ties with her homeland. However, the real reason she desired to study in China in recent years was its rapid development.
Zhang Junzhu: “Firstly, China offers excellent educational resources and a conducive learning environment. Many Chinese universities have started admitting foreign students in recent years, and I have some older siblings who came to study in China. They shared a lot about China with me, sparking my curiosity. I wanted to delve deeper into learning Chinese and Chinese culture, so I applied for a postgraduate program in International Chinese Education at Minzu University of China.”
In Zhang Junzhu’s eyes, the Chinese language is melodious. Yet, for foreigners, mastering it poses significant challenges. Nevertheless, she finds joy in it, relishing not just the learning process but also harboring high expectations for her future after graduation.
Zhang Junzhu: “I aim to learn about Chinese culture first, improve my Chinese proficiency, and then return to teach in my country. Indonesia and China have extensive collaborations, with many Chinese companies in our country. After graduation, I could work there. If I can speak Chinese, Chinese companies would welcome us.”
Though she’s been in China for only three months, Zhang Junzhu has encountered countless pleasant surprises. From delicious Chinese cuisine and the profound culinary culture to the diligence and friendliness of the Chinese people and the vibrant campus life, her life in a foreign land is both exciting and heartwarming. During her free time, she explores Beijing with classmates, savoring the fusion of tradition and modernity in every brick and tile of the city.
Zhang Junzhu: “Apart from the modern architecture, Beijing also boasts many ancient buildings. When I first arrived, I visited the Drum Tower, Shichahai, and even climbed the Great Wall. It was truly exhilarating.”
Not long ago, the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation took place in Beijing. Zhang Junzhu and fellow international students were keenly aware of this significant event. She mentioned that this year marks the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Under this framework, cooperation between Indonesia and China in various fields has improved the lives of local people.
Zhang Junzhu: “The Belt and Road Initiative has brought many benefits to our country. For instance, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway was constructed by China, and it’s incredibly fast, getting you to your destination quickly.”
Next, Zhang Junzhu will embark on a three-year study journey in China. During this time, she hopes to explore more places in China to gain a better understanding of the country’s modern development.
Zhang Junzhu: “In the future, I wish to travel to different cities in China, to genuinely feel and experience China. I also hope to engage with people from various professions in China to learn more about the country.”