There is a group of Pakistanis who has come to Nankai University for pursuing advance studies. Interested in what their lives would be like in China, we interviewed a senior PhD student whose name is Imran. Imran is studying for PhD in Regional-Economics at prestigious School of Economics at Nankai University. In a lengthy conversation with him, we captured his unique perspective about Nankai.

The first impression of Tianjin

Since Imran’s has been in China for the first time, he knew nothing about Chinese language, which caused him many troubles in the beginning. After landing at Tianjin airport, he couldn’t explain the address to the taxi driver. Later, a policeman helped him in finding the destination. As a preparatory training for his major studies, he studied Chinese for one year at College of Chinese Language and Culture, Nankai University. Imran said, that during this intensive course of Chinese language he made Chinese friends and watched Chinese news, which helped him a lot in improving his Chinese language skill. At the time of interview, we were greatly impressed by his unstoppable fluency of Chinese language. He remarked about learning Chinese language: “unlike other languages, Chinese language has no alphabets, so learning individual words was very difficult for me”. But his commitment and dedication to learning Chinese has helped him in acquiring such a level that now he can follow his teachers’ lectures. 

In addition to learning Chinese, Imran also told us about his adaptation in new culture and its food habits, such as the use of chopsticks, which worried him a lot. He narrated his first dinner at Tianjin: “because of my late night arrival, I found that all foods were finished, except noodles. And eating of noodles required using chopsticks, which made my first dinner really difficult. As a consequence, I left the hotel with half-filled belly. But now, I can use chopsticks!” Imran stated proudly.

Academic Life at Nankai                                                                                          

Imran told us that he chose Nankai for his higher studies, because of its international reputation, which he knew before he came to China. Furthermore, being an economist the initiative of One Belt One Road also attracted his attention to have a first-hand experience in China.

He was quite satisfied from the academic atmosphere at Nankai, especially his interaction with his supervisor. He told us that his PhD supervisor is simply a “beautiful human”. He always keeps an eye on him, like a father, and inquire about his life in China. Imran remarked that: “my supervisor is the best teacher I met in spatial economics, specifically referring to his mathematical skills”. He further told us that although “my teacher is heart-patient and takes great troubles in delivering lectures, but he performs his duty diligently, which impress me a lot. His “expertise on the subject has been a valuable asset for me”, Imran told.

Cuisine and Sports Life in Nankai                            

As we all know, Chinese food are famous all over the world. So most foreigner who come to China want to have a taste of Chinese food. Imran has no exception. “I have tasted Dabingjidan yiqie(大饼鸡蛋一切), Huoguo(火锅),mahua (麻花) and Malatang(麻辣烫)”….etc. he said. Imran also mentioned that Mahua(麻花) is his favorite. He told us that the smaller Mahua tastes like one kind of snacks in his hometown, which reminds him his home. Moreover, Imran is good at cooking, and he learnt some Chinese cooking food, such as Tangyuan, and hot pot.

Imran lives a dynamic life and he is fond of sports. His favorite sports are badminton, table-tennis and cricket. And he had got second position at Nankai’s International students’ badminton competition. For body fitness, he also goes to gym three or four time a week, and have a habit of night jogging.

The Unexpected gains: travel and friendships 

Imran likes travelling very much and he had been to many provinces of China, Sichuan, Anhui and Inner Mongolia for example. He said traveling around China provide him an opportunity of observing various sub-cultures of China, and it also improve his Chineselanguage. Furthermore, Imran like hiking, and he went to Huangshan, Taishan, Jixian and Panshan etc.

Imran is very sociable person, and he has made lots of Chinese friends during his 4 years stay at Tianjin. He particularly mentioned his first Chinese friend who come from Sichuan. They have struck up to such a level that although his friend has graduated and have gone back to Sichuan, but they still keep in touch now. Imran laughed: “Taking part in many activities really helps me to make acquaintance with Chinese people. I derived great pleasure form it. In addition to practicing spoken Chinese, it’s also improve my Chinese listening skills.”

China-Pakistan friendship has withstood the test of time. And there are many Pakistani students on Nankai campus now. We hope all those they can live a happy life at campus and love it just like Imran says: “Tianjin is familiar to me. It’s my second hometown. I will firstly choose to stay in China for work after I graduate.”

Source: Nankai News

Written by Wu Shiqi, Zhou Zhi

Proofread by Syed Ismail

Edited by Cecilia Yang