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The Story of me and China—written by Mr.Bounmy Soutpila(Class of 2017)

       My name is Bounmy SOUTPILA, I am currently working as a secretary to vice minister of Ministry of Planning and Investment, Lao PDR.After being asked to write an article on the story of me and China, I struggled to figure out what to write about.  It is not that I didn’t do very much during Studying in China, in fact, I feel almost as though I did too much! I thought, how I would summarize in some of article.

      Since I have been completing my Master's program, in Shanghai China, in early July 2017, it was over 5 years ago, I have since enjoyed my time here for several reasons, I can never forget those moments, these memories and unforgettable times will help me encapsulate some the priceless memories and experiences that I have carried with me from Shanghai China.

1. My first story can be summarized on my experiences at my institute’s campus
      It began in September 2015, I was one accepted into the program as an international student for two years, and this program exceeded my expectations, “A Master of Professional Accounting program” at Shanghai National Accounting Institute (SNAI). At SNAI is a completely welcoming institute with the best set-up modern classroom, comfortable dormitory, and I found the International Students Office at SNAI provided so much support while we all International Students were there or away.

      In the first semester, I have made lots of foreign friends which has 22 international students in the same class from 9 countries and Chinese friends; Student life at SNAI’s campus is very active with my friends, there were plenty of activities organized by SNAI to give us an opportunity to interact directly with local students. I attended many interesting events there. The facilities were also very nice with a lot of space to walk around and lakes inside the campus. It also had theatres and sports facilities.

Here are some stories I can remember:
      I remember how wonderful it was to make new Chinese friends who taught us more about Chinese languages; More importantly that I was impressed, by the kindness and welcoming help of local students at the same dormitory, even when most of them don’t know us before, they do their best! I can’t see that anywhere else!
o How all of us struggled to learn the Chinese language (practiced Chinese characters) before class; as well as how we enjoyed calling each other with a Chinese name that so wonderful sound. I was given a Chinese name, “伯明  BoMing”, meaning the Big and Bright, I also like my Chinese name very much.
o How my classmates and I would stay up late doing assignments together, and I remember how much of it was to celebrate the New Year, Birthday parties together.
o How much fun it was to see some of our classmates learning how to use chopsticks and eating noodles with chopsticks.
     I would say that my experience at SNAI’s Campus was overall good. My classwork, fun, and extracurricular (Study trips) at SNAI all connected, something I felt SNAI did very well.

2. Second my experiences outside (exploring Shanghai)
       Shanghai is surprisingly pretty big! It has a stable infrastructure, and a huge market, Cultural landmarks, modern landscapes, advanced technology, efficient transport systems, and towering skyscrapers in Shanghai cities. It is a safe place, and also a very large and diverse city, and there is no one way to experience it. I feel like getting to live in Shanghai has helped me understand from many different viewpoints better.

       Studying abroad means growth and independence. I ended up learning plenty of things that I now use in my daily life. Sure, in the first months, I honestly don’t even know where to start. I could go on and on talking about the study in the class, it is important but not the only thing to take into consideration going shanghai. I think that there are many things to value starting with by Did I actually learn something valuable?

    When I started understanding China and its people, I started enjoying it more. I will never be part of the community but as time passed, I started at least getting used to my new lifestyle.  I traveled a lot throughout Shanghai on my weekends and holiday, move around, meet people, I took these opportunities to practice my Chinese speaking, it was very nice- because Chinese people will tell you if you pronounce a word wrong. That’s a perfect way of communicating, I enjoyed the weekends which I spend visiting different places, visiting new places in shanghai with my friends I found myself opening my eyes to a new world. Moreover, exploring the different Chinese foods is also additional exciting. The Chinese people are full of hospitality, genuinely cooperative, wise-hearted, with a welcoming nature. I feel at ease and comfortable being here with the most loving and helpful people in the world.

Here are some stories I have learnt:
o How much Chinese food is good and diverse, so yummy and so many specialties in each city. How easy is the bike renting system with Apps? From class, I learned and noticed that even though bikes have been overpowered by cars and trains, Chinese bike companies managed to catch up with the trend. Aside from electric bikes, China now has upgraded its normal bicycle ride into a shared bike system, where bicycles can be used by the public anywhere and anytime, they want. These shared bikes are borrowed and paid for by the user through Alipay,

o How easy and modern is the payment App for anything, nobody uses his wallet anymore,
o How well-organized transportation is: trains are fast and on time, attendants in every car, very comfortable seats (in 1st class), not that expensive. Cheap subway and buses or tramways. Plus, information is very easy to find in train and subways stations, signs are well done. The first time I came to China, obviously, I was astonished by how different my country was compared to it. Transport network and ring roads, especially a Metro or Subway (ditie), caught my attention since it was something that my country does not have and never before had I seen or been on. I learned that the Shanghai train is the fastest train service and that China’s high-speed rail system is the longest in the world.  I have always thought that a country's transportation system reflects its wealth. If a country runs a bullet train, it definitely means such a country is developed and can afford to provide its people with a comfortable living.            
       Furthermore, I had a really good time in China and I will always remember with a smile my time spent here. My institute SNAI and all the people whom I met. In those two years, it struck me, one of my favorite things about my time at Shanghai was how it felt like everything, in the classroom and outside, both curricular and extracurricular, tied neatly together.

3. Lesson learned that I gain from my Course in China
       China has transitioned itself into a more globally competitive and free market. China sought the limelight on the global stage. this is the Belt and Road initiative. If realized, it could be the most defining moment in world history that can make China greater than it is today. Going back to what has been said earlier, the country's transport network would indicate the country's expanding economic growth. The Belt and Road Initiative, thus, envisions a transport network that would connect almost every part of the world to create more robust trade and development. China's economic miracle is now a leading example for most developing countries. Its architecture, infrastructure, and technological advancement are going non-stop.

      I heard a lot of stories from Many Lao students who have ever been to China would say that a certain road or building project could be completed in only a few months. That's how fast China works, and apparently, that is why it is now an industrial superpower, contributing so much to its economic growth. The changes that occurred in China's economy have led to changes in Chinese society and way of life as well. Due to China's national interest in improving its international image, it has now become more Westernized than I thought. Aside from that, China has also attracted many international students, like me, to experience Chinese culture and society. It is as if China not only opened its economic doors, but also sought to introduce its culture to the world and in return, China embraced different races into its own gates. If one must think about the changes that happened in one country, the economy is the first thing that comes to mind. But the effects of such economic outbursts can be seen in the socio-cultural changes surrounding the way of life. Moreover, the decision to open its doors to the world is a point of no return. But the lesson from China is diffident, China is unique on its own. Although China’s economic growth has brought dramatic changes in the lives of its people, the culture, and society as a whole, their traditions, and cultural symbols were kept in place. So, the experience and the lesson of development and bringing the economic growth of China to the Top of the world. Those lessons are very useful for countries who are developing the country and especially for Lao PDR. 

4. What happened in Lao PDR Today
      Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, if Lao’s decision to open its doors to the world by road network linking. Of course, a railway link through Laos which gives it a competitive disadvantage in trade would greatly reduce cargo transit times and transportation costs between Laos and China. 
       In the past,  staring at the bus station in Luang Namtha, the biggest town in northern Laos, travelers wanting to get south to the capital Vientiane to face the prospect of a punishing 18-hour journey, and that’s on a good day. Laos is a developing country and many of its citizens welcome major infrastructure improvements. But what longer-term change will the high-speed railway bring to Laos and the rest of Southeast Asia? Now! China is in the process of changing this. new high-speed railway It started construction in late 2016 that is set for completion at the end of 2021. By then a 414-kilometer section of track will snake from Boten on the China border, all the way down to Vientiane capital of Lao PDR, the new train will cut the journey to just three hours, The first talks about the railway linking Laos and China began in 2001, with Laotian and Chinese politicians both having confirmed the plans in 2009. Construction began at Luang Prabang on December 25, 2016, it would be completed in May 2021, leaving the project well on track for a 2021 opening. Track-laying was officially completed on October 12, 2021. The first EMU was delivered to Vientiane on October 16, 2021, and the line opened on 3 December 2021, a day after the 46th anniversary of the Lao PDR. The railway is expected to boost tourism, with passenger traffic to account for the majority of traffic on the line, as well as benefiting from reduced transportation costs.

      The railway is another part of China’s expansive Belt and Road Initiative, a series of mostly Chinese-financed infrastructure projects around the world receiving direct investment and loans. In keeping with the initiative’s aim of promoting connectivity, the China-Laos railway will also connect south to lines in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Going back through the archives of memories has made me reflect and appreciate wonderful years that I spent and learn how to develop the economy, the new experience, and the lesson of development that being part of the rapid change not only economically but also socially, changing lives and who can expend the area of trade partnership with other counties in everywhere in the world. Now I can gladly say: "China is in the process of changing the world to make the impossible possible".

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