After 18 years of my career in the Tribhuvan University of Kathmandu, Nepal, I got an opportunity to teach in Chinese university. Before arriving here in Yunnan Minzu University situated in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province of People’s Republic of China, I had already taught Chinese students for 10 years in Nepal. It was my first tour abroad. I was overwhelmed indeed but I was leaving my family for the first time so I was little bit nervous and scared. Regardless, keeping in the mind the value of new experiences, I was heading towards China and the day was 30th August, 2018.
Since the exit from the Kunming Airport, I was accompanied by Usha jee, a Chinese Nepali teacher. I really appreciate her company from the deep core of my heart. Her Nepali language was very sweet and fluent and she was kind and helpful too. She took me to the accommodation of foreign teachers and provided me all the necessary information. That day for the first time I realised that I had come alone to struggle abroad. The first day I stepped my feet in China, I spent the whole night remembering those tough days of my life’s journey. That didn’t make me upset. In fact, with every attempt it provided me sweet inspiration to utilise different places and moments.
I researched about Kunming in the Internet when I was in Nepal. It was located to the east of Nepal. The very fascinating city I saw was surrounded by mountains and the climate of there was also similar to that of Kathmandu. After reaching here I could experience everything new whatever I might have learned. Though I had already enjoyed the monsoon of Nepal, here in Kunming the monsoon was not over. That’s why I felt colder here. Even in the sunny day I used to cover myself with a thick jacket and cozy cap to defend myself from cold and my students used to laugh at me with weird eyes. The cold wind blown from the snow would shiver my heart. Because of very loyal and liberal attitude of my students towards me with whom I used to have food, perform official works and visit different places, I always felt like I was in my own country. They didn’t let me feel weird and lonely. Whenever I would be alone in my room, I used to miss my family, relatives and my friends badly. For the first few days sometimes I used to feel lost somewhere and get anxious but again from somewhere a very alive call poked me and it depleted all my anxiety and then quickly I got ready for a new class with lots of vitality.
Nepali, Hindi, Urdu, Singhali, Bengali, Pashto and including Tamil there used to be taught South Asia’s seven important languages and culture in the university of our school. There were also few helpful foreign teachers. All my students were also very humble and generous. I found all the admin’s employee and management team extremely helpful. In 1st semester I found Miss Usha very helpful and as a coordinator of Nepali language Miss Harita was very helpful and cooperative.
Gradually I got attracted by that place because of all the hostel’s employees’ and Chinese students’ kind and hearty behavior. After coming to the university, there were multiple factors that made me relaxed. In comparison to Nepal’s environment, China was very different. The nature of China was very mesmerizing with lots of greenery and abundance of different mosaic flowers. I could see students roaming around the park and reading there aloud, and that used to make me pleased. I didn’t see any dust while walking on the road. Chinese people were so in love with flowers and trees and that factor attracted me hugely. One thing I always contemplate is that people’s good character lies in their tidiness and well organized life. The civilization of Chinese people and the government could be easily analysed by the clean roads of China.
Life is a way that leads a person’s thoughts to its certain aim. After coming I found the new destination of my journey. Here I found the beauty in the study of nature and teaching languages as well. The most important thing I got to know here was the hard work and sincerity of students in their study. Everyday I used to feel glad by seeing the punctuality of students in the classroom. They didn’t miss any class or if in case they had to do so for any specific reason they did appeal for a holiday. I literally appreciated that. A teacher always feels proud to see their students desperate on doing their task and missed assignments. I got always inspired because I saw everybody very productive and keenly focused on usable things and they could make the uses of technology conveniently, all my students got the results beyond my imagination. Coming year they will be arriving in Nepal for study, so they were intensely interested in the places of Nepal and Nepali culture and traditions.
Everyday before the class I used to make lesson plan and assemble all the teaching materials and that would consume time. Especially for the appropriate video and audio lesson I had to research in the Internet. I used to prepare the lesson by recording myself and used to send in WeChat. For the better interaction practice I prepared all lessons myself and made them practice in the classroom. I also showed documentary movies in order to make them more capable. It was easy for me to teach dramatically to interact with each other so that I could let them find their mistakes and progress in order to improvise themselves.
I always behave friendly with my students because I believe it makes it easier for them to learn our language and culture in a friendly environment. I went outing with them, helped them in their works and ate with them. Several times I sang for them and danced as well in the classroom while teaching. With the help of my family photographs, I taught my students the procedure of cooking Nepali food and celebrating Nepali festivals. All my students were happy with my friendly behavior and would share all their problems easily with me.
I found Nepali friends in Kunming near by our university. I enjoyed immensely travelling different places with my colleagues and students from the university nearby. Whenever I visited any place, I would interact with my students about the place and things I saw there. That’s why I got to know more about the culture and language of China. Those elements made it easy for me to teach my students about the Chinese objects. My English language was good, that’s why I never had to face a difficult situation for that matter and that helped me a lot. Especially with foreign teachers and Chinese friends, I got closer easily. But, because of my introvert nature I couldn’t get cozy with everybody. My friendship remained formal. Throughout my stay in China, I visited Dali, Lijiyang, Yuxi and Beijing. I asked many questions in Nepali language to my students before visiting any new place. After returning from the place I used to share my experiences in front of the class that would make me familiar about the places and my students would gain the knowledge of language. They used to show huge interest on my sharing of experiences.
By showing the video of Lijiyang trekking or the visit of Great Wall of China I taught my students to interact. I found vast difference on food and eating schedule between China and Nepal. In Nepal, we had to reach office at 10:00 o’clock and that’s why by 9:00 o’clock I had to eat my lunch but after coming here in China I used to have my breakfast before 8:30 and lunch at 12:00 o’clock. That was a tough reverse of my habit. It was difficult for me to eat rice without daal using chopsticks but later on I discovered delicious food of my choice. Gradually, I was able to go and eat in the restaurant alone. I used to pay through WeChat and it really made it easy.
I had became so much familiar with Kunming city such that I could go to each and every corner without anybody’s help. When I called my son from Nepal to visit Kunming city I was able to take him wherever I liked. Thus my experience of China and Yunnan Minzu University has been super spectacular. It is a matter of my pride. I would be going back to my country Nepal with lots of good memories and happy moments. I would have one more month holiday to spend with my family, friends and relatives. It has been a very good experience staying in China in my Tribhuvan University career. I must say it’s a heavenly pleasure spending one year journey of my life in China. I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart to the government of China, YMU personnel, all of my colleagues and students for every single moment and sweet behavior they showed me here.