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How did I come to China

In this article I will tell my personal experiences about what it was like for me to come to China after a postgraduate degree and having a heavy working routine. I’ll tell you what it was like before and after I came.

Like all exchange students living in China, I came here after passing the HSK and passing an interview at the International Office of the university I applied for. I was studying Chinese at Confucius Institute since 2019, it was easy to pass HSK 3 and HSKK 1. The only challenge among all the requirements was the pandemic. Because of that, I couldn’t come to China in September. So, I had to move on and keep fulfilling my obligations.

At the end of 2022 my routine started was heavy. I was living in Brazil, finishing my Masters, revising my thesis and working 10 hours a day at the same time. Since September last year, I have been waiting for a response from Hubei University after my coming to China was postponed due to the pandemic situation in China. Suddenly, when 2023 started, I received some messages on Wechat from the managers of the Hubei University International Office. They were calling all successful applicants to get their visas and come to China in March. What a big surprise.
Then my life completely changed. I got my visa, saved a lot of money, said goodbye to the company I worked for, finished writing my master’s thesis, defended it at a master’s colloquium, and was finally able to come here.

To come to China, I had to take three planes:

  • a Lufthansa plane going from Brazil to Germany, which made a stopover at Frankfurt airport;
  • a China Airlines plane from Germany to China, which stopped at Shanghai airport;
  • and another China Airlines plane that just went from Shanghai to Wuhan.

I could feel the Chinese energy from the moment I stepped on the China Airlines plane. The service was already better than on the previous plane just because the flight attendants were kinder, traditional Chinese music was playing in the background and the food was very good.

When I arrived in Shanghai, I stayed there for 3 or 5 hours before heading to Wuhan. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to leave the airport and walk around there, as I did in Frankfurt. But that’s ok, another time I’ll buy it.
Finally, when I arrived at Wuhan Airport, it was a surprise for me. There were already many Chinese people trying to interact, they were impressed looking at me and my colleagues. I was feeling different from everyone else, and that’s what happens when you visit Asian countries. It is normal to be exotic in these countries when you’re Western. I could see that he was already a foreigner. I was feeling it.

A school bus came to take us to the university. The bus driver was waiting for us outside the plane. When we finally arrived at Hubei University, the manager of the International Office was waiting for me and my colleagues. We had a first conversation and then we left the bus. It was already midnight and we were very tired. The first thing I did when I entered my dorm was go to bed.

The next day I was feeling like a child, everything was new to me and amazing. Every single thing was amazing to me. Looking at ordinary people, traditional yet modern architecture, modern cars everywhere, etc.

After a week adapting and dealing with bureaucracy to regularize my stay in China, classes finally started. All teachers, as expected, are kind and caring. They measure our efforts to learn.

Finally, the International Office organized an event to praise Brazilian culture, welcoming all the Brazilians who came with me for this exchange. On International Chinese Language Day, we were celebrating it and Brazilian culture at the same time. We had a tent offering Brazilian food and we danced to popular Brazilian music on a stage. It was fantastic.

This is how the Chinese received us in China: with courtesy, respect, and attention.

My journey here is just starting.

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