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The Story of me and China—written by Mr.Ye Zaw Myint (Class of 2020)

     It is a great honor and pleasure for me to introduce myself. My name is Ye Zaw Myint (Mr.) from Myanmar. I received a Master of Accounting (MPAcc) degree in 2020 from the Shanghai National Accounting Institute (SNAI). First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to SNAI for providing me with an excellent opportunity to share many interesting experiences and knowledge I gained during my studies in Shanghai, China.  

I had imagined that after graduating from the MPAcc program, I would be writing about my experiences studying for a two-year Master's program in China. It is now time to take this into account because my dream has come true. To put this into practice, let me reflect on my incredible and unforgettable experiences in China over the last two years. Based on my own experiences and knowledge, this paper presents my perceptions, feelings, and impressions about China's development, studying and living in China, and so on.        

To be honest, before moving to China, my Chinese language skills were very low near to nothing. The first challenge I faced upon arrival in Shanghai, one of China's major economic cities, was communication at the Pudong International Airport. This was my first visit to China. During the first semester, I went to the market to get some snacks and the necessary learning materials. At the time, I had no idea what the salespersons were saying or how to communicate in Chinese. During that semester, I had no idea how to refill mobile bills, use WeChat Pay or Alipay to purchase flight or train tickets, obtain a subway (metro) card, or refill the money in it. I can only take them with the help of my fellow countrymates.

How do I overcome the problems and challenges mentioned above? Don't worry, because our school (SNAI) has already agreed to assist us. Every semester, the teachers teach a Chinese language program as one of the required credits. In this sense, we took Chinese character dictation and conversed with teachers and classmates in class. We also spoke with local Chinese people and recorded audio to ensure a better understanding, which we then uploaded to the "Ximalaya" app. We received comments and suggestions from the teachers after we uploaded it, indicating which parts we were weak in and which we were strong in. Then, with the help of the teachers, we gave it our all. Following that, we gradually improve our Chinese language skills that began in the second semester, and I am able to overcome these difficulties on my own thanks to the Chinese language class. My advice is that the first and most important thing you should do before going to China, whether for study, a seminar, or even a visit, is to learn the Chinese language.

I would want to focus on my experiences with mobile applications for online buying, such as "Wechat," "Alipay," and "Taobao." If you wish to buy something, cash, WeChat Pay, or Alipay are all acceptable methods of payment. They are simple payment tools. I discovered that the majority of Chinese individuals pay their bills via Wechat or Alipay rather than cash. They are clearly on the threshold of a cashless system. It just not only establishes a strong and secure Chinese money circulation, but it may also reduce transactional corruption. These applications are beneficial and convenient for us. To my knowledge, what China is doing in the information technology industry is resonating throughout the world, and I have no doubt about it. The "Taobao" online shopping mobile application is also essential in the daily lives of Chinese people. It is a convenient platform for shopping without leaving the house because it is linked by "Alipay." After making an online payment, we can buy anything from "Taobao."

Let me share my remarkable memories from a bullet train adventure I did during my winter holiday break in February 2019. I took the bullet train to Wuhan, which is located in the Hubei province of China, to reunite with my countrymate friends and coworkers who were studying at the Central China Normal University (CCNU) at the time. Although the bullet train travels at a high speed (approximately 250 km/h), it is as steady, smooth, and convenient as a flight to the targeted location. My impression is that most Chinese people prefer to travel by rail rather than by plane because they feel more protected and secure. And I do feel that way. 

Among other well-known tourist attractions, I visited East Lake, Mulan Heaven Lake, Yellow Crane Tower, and the Yangtze River. When I visited East Lake, I enjoyed seeing the natural, picturesque vistas and lotus flowers, walking on the nice pedestrian paths with a fresh breeze, riding a "HelloBike" bicycle along the huge lake, and there were plenty of trees, shade, and benches. Mulan Heaven Lake is a lovely location with breathtaking views of the surrounding hills, valleys, and waterfalls. Climbing the mountain via steep stairwells, strolling across the rope-built glass bridge, zip-lining across the lake, and riding the boat were all part of my adventure. The Yellow Crane Tower is a massive structure built in the traditional pagoda style. It is surrounded by a vast park that draws a large number of visitors. I climbed a flight of steps to each level of the tower, which has ornate walls and ceilings. There are souvenir shops nearby where I can purchase items. When I arrived at the top, there was an open-air balcony with sweeping views of the city of Wuhan. It was fantastic and provided me with cool air, which allowed me to relax. The Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge is the Yangtze River's first bridge, as well as a highway and railway bridge. I took a Yangtze River cruise, wandered down the river beach under the bridge, and then ate great native street food at a night market. My journey was a lot of fun thanks to my excellent buddies.

Allow me to recount some of my subway (metro) adventures. As you are aware, the class is open on a regular basic Monday through Friday. Those were the days when I was overburdened with homework, and it left me exhausted both emotionally and physically. That is why, on weekends, I wanted to get some breathe the fresh air to refill my elapsed energy so I could keep up with my ongoing classes. To accomplish this, I took the subway downtown and visited well-known and intriguing sites such as the Shanghai Pearl Tower, the Bund, Nanjing Road, Yu Yuan Garden, and Zhong Shen Park. Due to the traffic, taking the bus to downtown Shanghai sure take quite some time. What is it about the subway that I prefer over the bus? Because it is more convenient for me to arrive at my destination. Because most souvenir shops are underground near the station, I can easily buy what I need.

I would like to relive my school days. The SNAI campus is beautiful and pleasant. The school provided sports cards so that we could engage in physical activities such as football, basketball, tennis, and swimming. Furthermore, the convenience store is already on campus. Each student has their own single room, and bedding service is provided once a week. The school's administration is efficient and beneficial to all SNAI students. The timetable has already been created. The required documents and learning materials are already available in the library. The school ensured that we received our monthly stipend on time and provided us with an ATM (MPU) card so that we could easily withdraw cash on campus. And the school arranged for all students to have a China Mobile SIM card so that they could communicate with each other and their families from their respective home countries. In addition, arranging to attend seminars and forums, scheduling thesis timetables, and giving lectures for thesis writing by professors are all included.

Shanghai is a lovely, nice, clean, and smart city with skyscrapers similar to New York City in the United States. In my opinion, the Shanghai road system is very well organized. Motorcars (vehicles), motorcycles, and bicycles have their own lanes. It encouraged people to drive and ride safely on the road. The CCTV cameras have already been installed in every corner of the traffic points controlled by the traffic center. It can easily capture incident footage in the event of an accident.

At first, I thought that only Shanghai was developing rapidly. Other provinces and cities are also growing, like Shanghai. What makes me think that? Because we had trips to Nantong city in Jiangsu province, Hangzhou and Yiwu cities in Zhejiang Province, and Nanning and Qinzhou cities in Guangxi Province as field studies planned by the school (SNAI) after nearly completing each semester, I discovered that the Chinese authorities concerned have been undertaking to develop all-round sectors of provinces in China in order to check and balance. China’s long historical cultural heritage dates back over 5000 years, and the Chinese economy has grown rapidly in recent years.

While traveling by bus to various locations, I noticed that the highway roads are very wide and smooth. During my journey, I came across several long bridges that were both strong and unique, connecting two mountains. It has demonstrated that China's transportation is adequate for tourists. It has the potential to persuade travelers from all over the world to visit China. It has the potential to generate foreign currency for China through tourism. 

I have realized that China is building a lot of infrastructure in order to do business. Apple is among the most prominent foreign companies doing business in China. Apple products are assembled in China because sufficient infrastructure is already in place, skilled ICT experts and laborers are available, and labor costs are reasonable. That is why foreign investors invest in all related industries there. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) brings foreign currency to China. It put strong Chinese currency (Yuan) into circulation.

Chinese people are friendly, good-natured, helpful, and kind to all foreign students. They are keen to assist us when we need to record audio of us speaking Chinese with them. They never deny it. I assumed they liked and appreciated it when we said things in Chinese, whether our pronunciation was correct or incorrect. They made correct us if we said something incorrectly. That, I believe, is the core value of the Chinese people.

As per the arrangement of our campus, SNAI, we have many opportunities to study and visit distinguished places as part of our field studies during our schooling period in China. From December 18 to 20, 2018, the first field study was conducted in Nantong City, Jiangsu Province. The second field study took place from March 25 to 28, 2019 in Hangzhou City and Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province. The most recent study was undertaken in Nanning City and Qinzhou City, Guangxi Province, from December 2 to 6, 2019. As we all know, field study is an important component for all students to gain regional knowledge about history, culture, custom, and development, as well as the socio-economic life of local people.

During our three-day trip to Nantong City, we went to the Nantong Museum, China Abacuses Museum, Luolai Group, Jinghua Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Jiangsu Dasheng Group Co., Ltd., Jiangsu Provincial Tax Service, State Administration of Taxation (SAT), and Zhuji Green Expo Garden. During this field study, I learned a lot about the history and development of China's textile industry sector, local culture and history, the Chinese economy through its advanced taxation system, and the transformation of the manufacturing industry, including how to manufacture various medicaments.

We visited many business locations during our four-day trip to Hangzhou and Yiwu cities, including the China National Silk Museum, Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Pan-China Certified Public Accountants LLP, China Finance and Taxation Museum, China National Tea Museum, Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank, and China's Small Commodity City. As a result of those visits, I perceived more about the history and development of China's accounting firms (local CPA professions), the history and culture of Zhejiang Province, the development of China's finance and taxation systems, China's contemporary finance and taxation policies, the development of Chinese private banks, and the classics of tea and Chinese tea culture, including China's silk and the Silk Road.

During our five-day trip to Nanning and Qinzhou cities, we toured notable places such as the Guangxi University of Finance and Economics, the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities, the Rural Development of Zhongliang Village, Lingshan County, and Onelitchi Company. The above-mentioned trip is extremely valuable. I attended very interesting lectures such as ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Integration, Role of Government in Poverty Alleviation, A Comparison of China-ASEAN Accounting Standards, and Cultivation of Accounting Talents in Guangxi Province, which were given by authorized officials from Guangxi Province and held at Guangxi University of Economics and Finance. During this field study, I gained an understanding of Guangxi Province's history, culture, and development; China's strategy, experience, and achievements in regional cooperation with ASEAN countries; how public finance supports poverty alleviation and inclusive growth through China's related experience and achievements; and the culture and history of Guangxi minorities, including China's efforts to promote ethnic solidarity and national unity. Furthermore, I have the opportunity to learn a great deal about China, particularly about poverty alleviation in China. This provides me with a wealth of information about the achievement of the poverty alleviation ratio in China. Because my paper is related to poverty alleviation, it was also beneficial for my thesis writing.

I have obtained knowledge and experiences that all of the field study visits are valuable, beneficial, and supportive of my career development and further studies. For these reasons, I would like to pay my respects and express my gratitude to the authorized professors and teachers from the International Students' Office of SNAI for taking us to these illustrious locations.

Last but not least, I would like to thank SNAI and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) for giving me a fantastic opportunity to study for a two-year Master’s Program in China and also to participate in this competitive event. I would also like to appreciate the Department of International Graduate Education of SNAI for organizing this writing activity. My gratitude goes to the President of SNAI, the professors and teachers, and the school's concerned personnel for teaching, guiding, and nurturing me during my two years of study there. In addition, I want to thank my classmates, friends, and colleagues for providing me with supporting documents, data, and facts.

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