Foreign Medical Students Celebrate Spring Festival
Changsha Medical University (CSMU) quiets as the winter holiday begins. International student apartments are bustling. More than 300 foreign students, like Hassen and Usman Wazir, will spend their holiday here.
On February 5, the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year, a reporter visited the two, to hear their stories of Changsha-style Spring Festival and life.
CSMU international students try their hand in writing the Chinese character “Fu (福)” on Xiaonian day.
Tule Hassen Barud and Usman Wazir, two international students in Changsha Medical University, spent their winter holiday in China. Though far far away from their families, they enjoyed a special and warm Chinese Spring Festival.
Usman Wazir, 19 year old
A clinical medicine freshman at Changsha Medical University
Usman Wazir, whose Chinese name is Chen Weize, is from Pakistan. This is his first Spring Festival in Changsha. “It’s bustling and exciting!” is how he described his Spring Festival.
“Chinese Spring Festival is rather long, beginning from Xiaonian day. On that day, January 29, our university arranged a reunion dinner for international students. We enjoyed a happy Xiaonian and experienced Chinese traditional Spring Festival culture. The teachers taught us to weave Chinese knots, and to write couplets and ‘Fu’ (福) a character meaning blessing. All of these were strange and amazing! I sent reunion dinner photos to our family to share my happiness in China.”
International students learn to weave Chinese knots.
“It is interesting that when Spring Festival approaches, the spring couplets, ‘Fu’ (福), and red lanterns can be seen everywhere in Changsha. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, many people set off firecrackers and fireworks. I’ve never seen such beautiful fireworks. Beyond that, teachers gave ‘red envelopes’ in the international student WeChat group. Those lucky red envelop-winners were rather happy.”
“I enrolled last August and have lived here for half a year. I love Changsha. As a foreign student, I have difficulties and miss my family very much. My teacher, Yang Yun, takes care of me and helps me when needed. He is absolutely the best teacher I’ve met.”
“Changsha people are polite and nice to foreigners. They always try their best to help when necessary. I toured Orange Isle, Yuelu Mountain, Window on the World, Changsha Museum, and the Changsha Library. Changsha is really an attractive city.”
“I spent my winter holiday in Changsha instead of going home. I want to improve my Chinese language proficiency and get myself ready for our university’s three Chinese language competitions – the 6th Chinese Song contest; the 6th Chinese Character Writing Competition; and, the 5th International Student Chinese Speech Competition. In my spare time, I like snooker, reading, and poems.”
“Changsha Medical University is my second home. It is like a big family which is homelike and makes me feel comforted.”
Tule Hassen Barud, 21 year old
A clinical medicine junior at Changsha Medical University
Hassen is from Ethiopia. He has lived in Changsha for more than 3 years and has not yet gone back home. While missing his parents very much, he has fallen in love with this city and proudly tells all his friends “I live in Changsha”.
“If I had gone back home and then returned to school, I would have been much more homesick.”
“This is my third Spring Festival in Changsha. I will go to Yiyang to visit a friend who I chanced to meet on the subway. He does business in Changsha and asked me to his home in Yiyang this holiday.”
“I am fond of Changsha food. I always go to Huangxing pedestrian street during the Spring Festival for the tasty snacks, such as rice noodles, Tang You Baba (a glutinous rice dumpling fried in sweet oil), and stinky toufu. I prefer Tang You Baba, spicy fish lips, and fried rice with egg.”
Changsha people are nice. I was once helped on a bus when I didn’t bring enough change. Besides, they are always willing to guide when I get lost. I’ve lived in Changsha for three years. I love Changsha people. Changsha is my second home.
Just like Changsha people, I am willing to offer help. It is destiny that brings me to Changsha.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to help a Hunanese who was being treated in Changsha. Mr. Zhang, 38, was admitted to the Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University for rheumatic heart valve disease. The physical examination showed that Mr. Zhang had a special antibody in his blood: anti-FYA antibodies positive. Only 0.2% of Chinese people have such antibodies. The rate in African students is 90%. At the request of the Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, the Changsha Blood Center immediately launched an emergency recruitment for African blood donors through the Rare Blood Type Group. African students responded to the call. I donated 300 ml blood along with other two qualified donors. As an African from afar, I never thought that my blood could help a Hunan person. It was my destiny!
Hassen donates blood. (file photo)
As a medicine major, it is my duty to treat and cure patients. Though have different skin colors and different nationalities, we are all flesh and blood. I am proud and happy that I can study in Changsha and help other people.