19 Oct My International-Student Friends at SUSTech
At the beginning of the semester, CLE Teacher, Matthew Jellick encouraged his Sophomore A2 students to practice their writing skills, promising to help them get their articles printed in the local English newspaper, “The Shenzhen Daily”.
Maureen Liao, 廖琬凝, a student in his Tuesday/Thursday class, followed though, working with Matthew over the course of the first month to help her publish an article about her Cambodian classmate here at SUSTech.
Titled, “My International Friend at SUSTech”, the article highlights the growing international student population and the cultural and academic diversity they add to our campus…
My International-Student Friends at SUSTech
SUSTech Sophomore Student
When I first came to SUSTech in 2016, the school started to receive foreign students around the same time. It was lucky for me to have the chance to live and study alongside people who came from an extremely different country and culture: Cambodia.
The first time that I actually met them was at the Regional Culture Festival where students represented their hometowns and shared special regional cuisines with their peers. I just passed by and glanced at the international students’ booth where I saw a young man dressed in traditional Cambodian clothes and holding a wooden statue. It seemed that he was talking to the people who gathered together in front of the booth, so I walked towards it and found he was introducing the people to a statue that represents the religious figure Shiva. He spoke in English with a cute little accent, and I felt attracted to the mysterious and miraculous Indian Buddhist culture he spoke of. After a period of some time, the crowd of listening people gradually left and he finally noticed that I still stood there, appreciating the sculptures and the pictures of architecture printed on the postcards. He asked me if I needed an introduction to the building on the postcard he held. He told me that was Angkor Wat — but I was confused before he told me its Chinese name, “Wu Ge Ku,” — Cambodia’s most famous ancient architectural structure which also represents the beauty of the country. He also taught me some daily expressions in Cambodian. Before I left, we exchanged names. His name was Kevin, and he also told me his Cambodian name, Kosal Sout, although I can’t say it correctly because the Cambodian language has different pronunciations from Chinese.
After our first meeting, we came across each other more frequently. He usually eats lunch with his Cambodian friends in the same cafeteria as me so when we meet we both greet each other enthusiastically. Once our college held an activity just in front of our dormitory building, where we played with a clay sculpture, an intangible cultural heritage of China. On that particular day, the Chinese students had just finished class and the international students joined in. One of them recognized me. While his friends played with the clay sculptures, Kevin and I sat aside and talked about our recent life at SUSTech. Kevin said he wanted to major in Medical Science so he could return to his home country to be a doctor. We exchanged our WeChat contact information and since then have communicated about different topics.
In 2017, SUSTech received more international students into the freshman class. These new students came from a variety of countries including Ukraine, Vietnam, Malaysia and Latvia. After they had been at the university for about one week, they took part in a meeting where the seniors — the 2016 Cambodian students — shared about their life and experiences living and learning in China. I really hope that Kevin and I will remain friends and that SUSTech will continue receiving international students who keep the campus colorful and rich with multiculturalism!