What was the biggest challenge for you, and what do you cherish the most?
Jinnuo: “I think the biggest challenge is the different perception of habit. You come to a new country and a new society, and the rules you used to know may be completely different here, and you need to adapt and prepare in advance. I’ve lived in China for 22 years, and I’ve already had an established mindset about most things, such as rules and requirements, and some things I subconsciously thought were just like that, but later found out that they were not at all. Before coming here, I thought most countries in the world are like this, but after arriving here, I slowly found out that maybe China is the special one.”
“And this also brings me the most precious treasure, can be a new perspective, or a new way of thinking to see or examine some issues. Especially for those of us studying social sciences, we are not like those studying natural sciences who can do the same experiments in any lab to get the same models or conclusions. We need more to experience and be exposed to different societies, different political structures, different economic systems, different types of markets, different factor endowments in positioning and decision making in international markets. To see different cultures, customs, art, architecture, knowledge that cannot be fully gained from books or classrooms.”
How did your family react to your decision?
Jinnuo: “My family was very supportive of my decision, in fact, during the years of the New Coronavirus outbreak, my family had anticipated that I would be here for two years and not come home, and they were very supportive, we would video call every week and I would share with them what was happening to me here.”
Why did you opt for the Silesian University?
Jinnuo: “I think it’s fate. When I planned to pursue a master’s degree after completing my undergraduate studies, Silesian University came along and delegates from Silesian University came to my undergraduate university and signed a cooperation agreement. After I learned about the university, I decided it fits my requirements perfectly and I started searching the internet for information about Silesian University and the Czech Republic and consulted with my professors and some elders and finally I came here.”
What was the most difficult thing after arriving in the Czech Republic?
Jinnuo: “Then it should be a train schedule. I still remember that after I arrived at Prague airport, the airline lost my luggage, which was a big shock to me. After I arrived at the train station in Prague, I needed to take a train to Ostrava, but it was my first time to take a train abroad in a foreign country. After I bought my ticket, I wandered around the train station for a long time without finding the timetable and platform information of the train. When I was anxiously wandering back and forth in the underground tunnel, a beautiful lady wearing a red coat and black boots with chestnut shawl hair took the initiative to help me (you can see from my vivid description how excited I was) and used her phone to check the train platform and told me that Czech trains only display platform information about 15 minutes before departure. At that time, I was thinking that the Czech people are really friendly.”
How and in what ways does the education system in China and the Czech Republic differ?
Jinnuo: “The most fundamental difference between the Chinese and Czech education systems, I think, is that the basic ideas of the two systems are different, which of course is also due to the basic national conditions of the two countries in terms of per capita resources. In China, especially for higher education above the university level, a screening system is in place. If a Chinese university only has a target of 100 students to train for a master’s program each year, and you are 101st in the exam, then unfortunately, you will not be eligible for admission. The relationship between professors and students at Silesian University is more equal and casual, and most professors will treat you like a friend and encourage you to be more liberal with discipline and assignments.”
How did you perceive the study atmosphere and relationships between students?
Jinnuo: “A tense study atmosphere stimulates competitiveness among students, and a relaxed learning atmosphere gives room for creativity. I think the relationship between professors and students is relaxed in the classroom and it can be intense and more efficient during self-study or group work outside of class.”
Did you go home during your studies?
Jinnuo: “I didn’t go home for two years here because the airfare into China during the pandemic was just too expensive.”
What is your favourite memory of the Silesian University?
Jinnuo: "That would be the graduation ceremony this October. It was be the best graduation ceremony I have ever experienced, solemn and ceremonial. Although I did not understand most of the speeches of the Dean and other speakers, the atmosphere was really great. And I really had a funny feeling of affection for the rehearsal before the official start, because in China such a big ceremony is also organized with repeated rehearsals beforehand.”
What appealed to you most during your stay in the Czech Republic?
Jinnuo: “The Czech Republic, as a developed country, has completed its stage of development. The Czech people enjoy life more, live more freely and easily, and the pace of life here is slower and more leisurely, which is what appeals me the most.”
What are your plans for the future? Are you planning to stay in Czechia?
Jinnuo: “In the future I plan to return to China, on the one hand my family is there, on the other hand I think China is more suitable for young people, there are more opportunities for development, although the pace of life is faster, life is more stressful, but China also has its advantages, the risk always coexists with the opportunity well.”
What are your recommendations for international students who are considering studying at the SU?
Jinnuo: “I came here two years ago with a sense of uncertainty and confusion, but I finally realized that Silesian University is really a positive, open, inclusive and dynamic university. I fell in love with the comfortable climate, the pleasant landscape, and friendly professors and staff. Don’t hesitate, it will be a beautiful and unforgettable journey in your life.”
Some interesting facts about China:
- All the pandas in the world are Chinese, and China has ownership of all the pandas in the world. All foreign zoos that keep pandas need to send planes needing to transport fresh bamboo to the pandas’ home province of Sichuan, China, every week. Examples include the Vienna Zoo and the Qatar Panda House.
- There is a Chinese saying that the people are dependent on food. China has eight major cuisines and dozens of smaller regional cuisines, including 24 major preparation methods such as stir-frying, stewing, pickling, roasting, braising, braising and marinating. As well as specialized breakfast (you can only eat it from 4:30 – 10:30am during the day) and late night (5:30pm – 4:00am), and some seasonal ingredients.
- China has the most comprehensive and complex topography in the world, including plateaus, mountains, plains, hills, basins, grasslands, oceans, deserts, glaciers, caves, lakes, waterfalls, rivers, islands, etc.
- Most Chinese people do not have religious beliefs. In fact, it is not that we do not have religion, China has Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism and Christianity (one of my mother’s friends is our local Christian leader, although my mother is not religious but it does not affect them as friends), but most Chinese people are more materialistic, if you let some god appear in front of me and perform miracles, I will immediately believe in him. For Chinese people, we are taught that you have the freedom to choose to believe or not to believe in a religion, and the freedom to choose which religion to believe in, not that your family or environment determines your religion at birth.
- Chinese New Year is the most important festival of the year for the Chinese people, equivalent to Christmas. As Chinese New Year approaches, Chinese people working abroad will travel across the country to their hometowns to be with their families for a week or half a month. Dinner on December 30 of the lunar calendar is considered the most important time of the year, when all family members gather for dinner, watch the Chinese New Year Gala (a state-organized annual gala of the highest caliber, broadcasted on television and the Internet, for more than 40 years, and customarily watched despite being scolded in recent years), pay respects and say some words of blessing to the elders and receive red envelopes (A red envelope is a small envelope made of red paper with auspicious patterns and words on it, in which the elders will stuff cash, the amount of which depends on the local economic situation and the elders’ income).
- In China, red envelopes are given on New Year’s Day, when relatives and friends get married, when relatives and friends have children, and when relatives and friends’ children get into the desired university. This also leads to the culture of white envelopes, which are given when a relative or friend has a serious illness or dies. Tip: If you have the opportunity to attend a wedding in China, please join it with red envelopes, it will be a feast prepared from months ago!