Cultural diversity and working in China
I have been receiving affection, candor and love from my academic fellows, colleagues and teachers since 2015, the year that I entered China for PhD study (the same things I experienced from other Chinese people). A “fish out of water feeling” is a sort of reaction to psychological disorientation which most people experience during an extended stay in a culture that might be different from their own. To be honest, I never experienced such a feeling.
The pre-arrival experience of one’s life in China is of course influenced by what one reads and hears from electronic, print and social media. I probably had some concerns but the reality that I practically observed while being on-site was quite different. No doubt, after arriving in China, I had to face some challenges like language, food and living but these were all adaptable.
As to the language, at the time I came to China, I was unable to understand Chinese, and thereby I missed talking with my family so much. On the other hand, I learned how to be independent, how to be more responsible, and how to persevere. It helped me a lot to be independent even though it was very hard at first. I found that Chinese people know the name of Pakistan and consider it a best friend of China. My decision was to work hard for both my home and host countries.
To describe my feelings and experience with my institute, the Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology (INEST), Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), prior to joining INEST, when I was still in Pakistan, most of the communication on the part of the institute was made by Miss Min Bo. It’s funny but I always considered her a “male staffer” even though she didn’t ever say anything on that point, so I used to address her “Dear Mr. Bo”. Later when I joined the institute, the reality was found to be otherwise.
As to the working environment at my institute, the fellows, research and administrative staff were all cooperative and trouble-solvers. Special gratitude goes to my dignified host supervisor 吴老师 (Prof. Wu Yican), an academician of CAS, under whose kind patronage the entire institute keeps on flourishing day and night. Both international and Chinese friends were to be made here. We helped each other and discussed our work too. Although we were different in cultures, traditions, and interests, we became good friends and respected each other’s culture and life-styles.
Education (particularly research at CAS) has always been a vitally important issue for China which is home to people from diverse countries with different cultures. The country’s high quality of research can be seen in Chinese universities/institutions (particularly CAS).
Being simple and honest, the aforementioned words are not enough to express my life and research experience here at INEST (HFIPS, CAS in Hefei). These words can only serve to indicate my humble thinking about and best wishes for the entire CAS family and China. I hope I can keep working for the strategic, economic and cultural development of China through the platform of the Chinese Academy of Sciences — I am grateful to CAS and China.