In this article, I will share my experience of being welcomed as an African student in China, where I pursued a Master’s degree in Journalism and Communication in New Media at the Communication University of China.
In 2019, I received an educational opportunity from the Chinese embassy in Somalia to study in China. This opportunity opened my eyes to many things and taught me valuable lessons.
Before departing from Mogadishu, I was apprehensive due to negative messages from some media about China’s treatment of other communities. However, my experience was quite different. On my flight to Beijing, I was impressed by the kindness of a Chinese citizen who sat next to me. He greeted me with a smile and we had a pleasant conversation throughout the flight.
Upon arriving in Beijing, I was welcomed by friendly people at the university and around the city. The university emphasized cultural exchange and organized trips to different regions of the country, where I witnessed the warm hospitality of the Chinese people.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan in late December 2019, I was invited to an event to reward employees of a perfume company. My friend from Yemen and I were well received and even invited to another event, which was unfortunately canceled due to the pandemic.
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, my experience in China was overwhelmingly positive.
In conclusion, the warm welcome and hospitality I received from the Chinese people and their government dispelled any negative messages I had heard from some media before my trip. I now have a fondness for China and its open-minded people, who showed great kindness towards African students like myself. Their attitude was better than what I have experienced in some countries, and I would love to visit China again in the future.
By: Abdirahman Abdullahi Kanava – Editor-in-chief of Somali National News Agency (SONNA)