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A journey to my second home

By Haroon Ali Kabeer | | Updated: 2023-05-11 10:02
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Editor's note: We have asked expats living in China to share their own stories about the cities they work and live in. Haroon Ali Kabeer is from Pakistan and has been living and working in Shandong province for about seven years. He is now a teacher at the Shandong Institute of Commerce and Technology.

The culture of any country represents its national psychology and identity. People's values and opinions are transmitted to state leaders through the media and other information channels, influencing foreign policy decisions both directly and indirectly.

My name is Haroon Ali Kabeer. I am from Pakistan. As a foreigner, I am impressed with Chinese culture, infrastructure and landscapes. I have been to many cities in China like the capital city of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xi'an, Urumqi, Suzhou and everywhere in Shandong.

Haroon Ali Kabeer. [Photo provided to]

As an academician, I understand the importance of proper research and documentation of sources. In this article, I will share my personal experience of living and working in China as an international student and foreign teacher, which has changed my life. I aim to provide an enlightening and insightful account of my life in this culturally rich and diverse country.

China is a country filled with vibrant culture, rich history and breathtaking landscapes. The country's rich culture, with its unique and advanced educational system, has made it a popular destination for international students all around the world.

In 2016, I came to China to pursue my studies and I must say it was the best decision I have made in my life. Another reason for choosing China was the iron-clad relationship between Pakistan and China. I knew the Chinese are friendly with foreigners, especially with Pakistanis.

My first impression of China was a mix of awe and amazement as I arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport on Aug 28, 2016. The city was bustling with people, the air smelled of street food, and the LED lights on buildings were telling me that I was in another world.

On the second day I arrived in Jinan at Shandong University where I did my IMBA. My first few months were a bit challenging because of the language barrier, but thanks to the friendly and helpful locals, I was able to navigate my way around quickly.

One of the things I noticed was how Chinese people value education. They take their studies seriously, and schools have a meaningful curriculum. From primary schools to universities, education is highly regarded, and that is evident in the quality of the education system. The education system in China has been modeled to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in life.

Haroon Ali Kabeer attends a Chinese New Year celebration event at the Shandong Institute of Commerce and Technology. [Photo provided to]

As I settled down, I realized that by learning Chinese I should also explore the cultural heritage of China. As the country has a fascinating history, there are historical sites to visit everywhere you go. From the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an to Mount Tai in Tai'an, as well as Baotu Spring, Daming Lake and Mount Qianfo in Jinan, China has a myriad of popular tourist destinations with cultural and historical significance.

After completing my IMBA, I landed a job as a teacher at the Shandong Institute of Commerce and Technology (SICT). It was my best decision in China so far to come to SICT. School leaders, colleagues and all the management staff are supporting.

The overall experience has been fulfilling and exciting. Working in China has allowed me to experience the culture more in-depth, and I have had the chance to teach international business courses to young learners, which has been rewarding.

Recently, I participated in a speech contest with the theme of "The Yellow River in My Eyes" and I won third prize. I also got an opportunity to learn the history of the Yellow River and explored the Yellow River estuary in Dongying.
In conclusion, China has become my second home. Living and working in China has been a truly unique and remarkable experience.

China has changed my life completely. I have learned so much about China's rich culture and history, met inspiring people and gained a broader understanding of the world.

I hope that my experiences will inspire others to explore the rich culture and history that China has to offer.

Haroon Ali Kabeer (fourth from left) attends the "Huanghewan" Chinese Speaking Contest for International Youths in Qufu, Shandong province, on March 24. [Photo provided to]
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