Language is no barrier to learning about the culture and people of a country, discovers Radhika C., in the Land of the Dragon.
After completing my MTech from National Institute of Technology Karnataka-Surathkal, I got selected for the Chinese Government Scholarship-2011 through the Ministry of Human Research and Development (MHRD), New Delhi. Now, I am pursuing PhD in Environmental Science and Technology since the middle of 2011 at the University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB), China.
USTB was founded in 1952 and focusses on engineering, but at the same time, it maintains a balanced programme of science, management, humanities, economics and law. I receive hundred per cent scholarship, and therefore have access to all the amenities. USTB has good infrastructure and the quality of research is high. Before coming to China, I did not really know much about it. I was interested in learning about their culture. My experience in China has opened my eyes. It is interesting being in a totally different country. I loved the thought that I am really on my own. In spite of the language barrier, the Chinese people are very welcoming and friendly.
Seeing the poverty in China and observing the hard work and ethics that everyone possessed changed my thoughts about China. I understood that everyone worked extremely hard for what they had. My experience in China was life changing. I have developed a perspective on various cultures and communication barriers. I learned a lot about problem solving, and about the freedom we have in India. The Chinese people value Guanxi (relationships). What I found very difficult to adjust to was the organisational bureaucracy which affected even the simplest of requests. Sometimes a simple request would not get a response because the wrong person was addressed, and he/she did not want to lose face by directing you to the right person.
The Chinese operate on a very different timetable as compared to Westerners and there is no getting away from that. I would suggest fellow Indians to opt for renowned universities in China as a destination for their higher studies.
I am eager to come back to India, and to share the knowledge I have gained in China.
The writer is pursuing her PhD in Environmental Science and Technology at USTB-China.