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Me and My Story in China

UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environmentfor Sustainable Development
November 20, 2020

My name is Sahidul Islam, and my Chinese name is WANGBo. I amfrom Bangladesh, a small country in south Asia. My dream, which has inspired me along the way, is to become an engineer through hard work.


In order to realize my dream, I chose to study in China. I can still remember I was very nervous on myway to China; and I became even more so.  when I met my teacher who picked me up at the airport. My life in China has been full of adventures, challengesand thingsunexpected. Leaving my home country at a youngage was undoubtedly the most challenging decision I have ever made.


Sahidul Islam(first left) with his peer students


When I was a child, I only knew China as “a land of wonder”, assuming that all Chinese could do kung fu. Ithought China was "a land of wonder" because I discoveredfrom my world history classin middle school that almost all the important inventions were born in China thousands of years ago . Chinese movies, especially those of Jackie Chan, gave me an impression that all Chinesewere kung fu masters. But soon after I arrived in China, I realized that I was wrong because it turned out to be equally difficult for both Chinese andme to be good at kung fu.


I spent my undergraduate years in Yichang where I was fortunate enough to knowsomeexcellent teachers. They took care of me as if I were their own child, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. In such a cozy and easy-going city as Yichang, people don't feellike they are leading a hectic life. This doesn't mean, of course, that people here are not working hard. Instead,they have simply found a good balance between work and life. The Yangtze River flows through the city. For me, the mountains and rivers here are full of natural beauty with Chinese characteristics. I learntChinese hereand won some rewards, which gave me the confidence to continuemy study and life in China.


In my spare time, I also took an active part in activities organized by the Student Union. When I was in the third year of my undergraduate program, I was elected president of the International Students Association, leading 50 members from different countries. As a result, I got more opportunities to develop my leadership skillsin activities organized for Chinese and internationalstudents. In response to President XIJinping's "One Belt and One Road" initiative, I organized a number of cross-cultural activities by joining hands withthe Chinese Student Union and Youth League of the University. In April 2019, I participated in the Release of Chinese Sturgeons in the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, for whichIwas interviewed by China Central Television (CCTV), which was shown in the special program “Talk about Our Seventy Years” of CCTV in 2020.Given thatthe Yangtze River is the mother river of China, I think it is of great importance to protect the ecosystem of the Yangtze River basin. Not only should all Chinese protect the River, but we,international students in China, should also care for its "health". It is everyone's responsibility tosave water, protectthe environment, and treasure life. The activity broughthome to methe importance of individuals’ role in the protection of natural ecologybecause economy could notthrive without the balanced development of ecological system.


In early 2020, I happened to be in Hubei when the novel coronavirus epidemic broke out. I responded to the call of the Chinese government and Tongji university by giving full play to the role of "self-management, self-service, and self-education" of international students. As the president of the Bangladesh International Students Association, I actively cooperated with the epidemic prevention and control workand provided various services and assistance to international students, including communicating epidemic prevention information, distributing medicine and food and providing psychological guidance to students. At the beginning of the epidemic, I managed to provide 5,000 masks to police and front-line medical staff in Bangladesh to support my country’s fight against the virus.During the epidemic, I could have returned to Bangladesh. Yet the efficient and orderly manner in containing the epidemic in China made me full of confidence in this country. I decided to stay herebecause years of living and studying in China has made it my second home, and here I couldlend a helping hand to other students. This special experience means a lot to meas it has given me a clearer understanding of China in the context of the epidemicand bolstered my confidence in continuing my study in China.


Sahidul Islam as a volunteer during the epidemic


I have been in China for four years and three months now. Before coming to China, all I knew about Chinese culture was kung fu and a little bit about Chairman MAO and Confucius. Influenced by Confucius' thoughts and values, my grandfather told mesome famous Confucian aphorisms. My life experience in China has deepened my understanding of the daily life and culture of China. As a food lover, I found myself entering a vast food world in China. I was impressed by the exquisiteness of the Chinese cuisine and the variety of cooking techniques, dishes, colors, aromas, and tastes. Chinese movies have also taught me a lot about Chinese culture, social life and history. Operation Red Sea, Me and My Motherland, Wolf Warrior 2, and The Flowers of Warare all my favorite movies. I have made many friends in China, and thus getting a more direct way to learn about Chinese history and culture. My Chinese friends told me a lot about Chinese culture and history, such as Taoism, Chinese classical music and musical instruments (zither). They have enriched my study and life in China and made me more confident about my future.


I am a Master’s degree student majoring in environmental engineering at Tongji, a prestigious comprehensive university in China. I feelvery lucky and find it an honor to be a member of Tongji. The UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development provides us with the best research environment, where the knowledgeable and amiable teachers make me justfeel at home.


Finally, I would like to say “Thank you very much China. I love you!”

Source: https://unep-iesd.tongji.edu.cn/b7/54/c13729a178004/page.htm