Editor's Note: The fourth SCNU English Writing and Short Video Contest, themed "SCNU & Me", ended with 312 entries from 39 different schools and institutes. We congratulate all prize winners on their outstanding performance. Awarded winners have been announced (see results), and all winning entries will be published in this column.


By Malahova Polina

There are so many reasons to love SCNU, that it couldn't fit in any writing, and I'd really want to capture every single happy moment that I've experienced here, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be possible, since with every new day comes new joyful events. Nevertheless, there's one feeling that sparks up inside of me most strongly when I try to recall all the memories that I got during this short time. It's hard to put in one word -- is it a feeling of belonging or maybe a feeling of constant support? I guess the following examples will do a better job of expressing my emotions.

Before coming here, I was exceedingly worried that I wouldn't be able to meet the requirements. I was afraid that the atmosphere would be very tense and stressful as well. Already in China, heading to the university all alone, I felt more uncertain and lonesome than ever. Imagine my surprise when this feeling evaporated as soon as I passed through the turnstile at the entrance to the university territory, all thanks to the caring and attentive attitude of the student Zeng Ye and teacher Zhang who greeted me. After welcoming me with a warm smile, they made sure that I had a good rest which I needed so much after a long journey.

It was two days before the start of the semester and I was temporarily placed in a Chinese dormitory. There I once again had the opportunity to find out that although this school is primarily famous for its level of provided education and academic achievements, fortunately for me and all other students, a warm attitude and hospitality towards people is an equally important distinguishing feature here. One evening, I wanted to make instant noodles and, since I didn't have my own kettle, I turned to the janitor for help. Not only did she invite me to eat at her table, so as not to carry food upstairs back to my room, but later she also noticed that I couldn't eat these noodles which turned out to be too spicy, and, despite the fact that I didn’t ask for anything, she kindly offered me rice and vegetables that she had cooked herself. And so, from the very first day at this university, I encountered responsiveness, care and support again and again.

As I already said, I was very frightened by the prospect that the workload and demands would be beyond my strength. However, even though teachers encourage us to challenge ourselves and do more than is required, I always feel comfortable while in the class and I really enjoy the friendly atmosphere in our group. Thanks to the teachers, my attitude towards difficulties changed from anxiety, which distracted me from coping with them to the belief that it was difficulties that would help me become better.

However, the teacher to whom I feel most grateful isn't teaching any of my courses, nor she's teaching in my part of the university. I was lucky to enter the school shortly before the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the SCNU, in honour of which the art performance was planned. At a rehearsal for this art performance, I met the wonderful Niu Xiaomei, a wushu coach. For me, Wushu is a very important part of my life, which I have devoted to for more than 10 years, so it is a great happiness for me to have the opportunity to learn from such an experienced trainer.


With teacher Niu at the art performance of the 90th anniversary of SCNU.

Since we met, she has done a lot for me -- gave me tips pointed out mistakes during the training sessions and comforted me after the training when I was feeling so dissatisfied with my performance that I cried. She even helped me prepare and go to Tianjin for a wushu competition. This trip is one of the most unforgettable events that happened to me during the time that I have been studying here. Flying on a plane to another city, seeing the performances of students from all over China with my own eyes, performing successfully myself and just having a good time with the team - I couldn’t even dream about this when I applied to this university. None of this would have happened to me if it weren’t for my coach with her kindness and generosity. Sitting on the plane on the way back to Guangzhou, my teacher said that she was glad that we were finally coming back. She lived here for 30 years, and I only lived here for 2 months, but at that moment realised that I too missed Guangzhou and SCNU. Although I miss my homeland, family and boyfriend too, I still wish time could stop so I don’t have to leave the university.

Despite the fact that I come from a whole different culture and my level of Chinese is still very poor, which prevents me from communicating freely with locals and even leads to funny misunderstandings sometimes, thanks to the hospitality, friendliness and responsiveness of all those whom I meet here, I feel at home and am never afraid of finding myself without help and support.

At one of the final rehearsals of the anniversary concert, which was truly grandiose and became the second most significant event during this time, I suddenly felt especially strongly as a part of the university. At that moment, a rehearsal of a dance number was taking place on the stage while photos of those who studied here many years ago appeared on the screen behind the performers. Once upon a time, these people looking at me from the photos were studying, making friends, and enjoying youth within the walls of this university, just like we do now. This touching performance made me see SCNU as something that constantly changes and evolves yet never loses its core values, something that consists of a large number of unique people's characters and stories, yet has one unifying spirit, something that I'm proud to be part of.

Not long ago it seemed to me that a year was an incredibly long time, but now 2 months have already passed and they flew by unnoticed, leaving me a sea of impressions. The events that happened during this short period of time will remain in my memory for the rest of my life and I can't wait to see what new happy experiences the future will bring. For this, I want to sincerely thank every person who contributed to the founding and development of the SCNU.

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