WNIC ATTENDS CHANGSHA TOURISM OPENING CEREMONY
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Yesterday morning, over 80 foreign nationals visited Yuelu academy in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the culture of Hunan and the Xiangjiang region. Changsha evening news reporters Tang Chao (Zhao) Zhao and Zhu Min, Zou Lin (photographer) reported.
"Changsha is one of the best cities which I've ever stayed in." British national Chris Sinha is a professor of the foreign language and international education college at Hunan University, he has been in Changsha for just over a year and a half. During yesterday's "beautiful Changsha • my home —— Changsha in foreigner's eyes" activity, Chris and over 80 other working, studying and living in Changsha foreigners went and visited Yuelu Academy and Wang Cheng Tong Guan town in order to experience Hunan culture and find historical remains whilst appreciating their own deep love for this city.
"Changsha is becoming more internationally known"
Upon mentioning Changsha, one word which foreigners mention the most is "change". In the year 2000, Singapore national and volunteer worker Cai Xiu Lian came with an NGO short-term team to Changsha. Her heart was touched by the special needs children whom she saw at the Changsha number one welfare home, since then she has continued to live in Changsha for the past 15 years.
Up to now, Cai Xiu Lian's work has mainly been teaching mentally handicapped children how to use computers. "They're actually really smart, they just need more help." Working as a foreign volunteer in Changsha, she has felt the increasing understanding and help which Changsha has been giving children with special needs day by day. "Learn from Lei Feng and those types of activities have made more people come and help out the special needs children, there are already so many volunteer organizations in Changsha." Changsha's civil administration, police force, etc. government departments have also given her lots of help, particularly the "One year, one visa" visa system which allows her to live here much more easily.
Speaking of first impressions, Cha Xiu Lian still remembers her very first unhappy experience with riding the bus here. However now, the Changsha subway, public bus system and other forms of public transportation are already well developed, and when she takes the bus younger people will often give up their seats for her. Another thing which makes Cai Xiu Lian happy is the direct international flight from Changsha Huanghua airport to Singapore, so she doesn't ever have to go through the hassle of transferring mid-journey again when flying home. "Changsha is constantly developing internationally, and there are many activities which help raise awareness of this beautiful city to the outside world."
British national David Priest (Pu Jia Wei) is a 'Star city friendship award' winner, he jokingly says that the reason why he was sent to Changsha was because he can "handle spice in his food". As one of the witnesses of Changsha's development, it's change and development in the past few years has given him a very special benefit. David is the principal of Wei Xi international school in Changsha, employing foreign teachers from abroad is one of his main responsibilities. He said that to start with trying to convince foreign nationals to come and work I. Changsha was pretty hard, as Changsha wasn't particularly known in the international arena, however nowadays "Changsha's international reputation is getting better and better". "There is an increasing amount of foreign teachers who know of Changsha and would like to come here, so my work nowadays is much easier than before."
"Foreigner" become "expert" spreading happiness in Changsha
Englishman Damion Braithwaite, who has a particularly grounding Chinese name "Da Ming", is currently working for Yali High School's International Department as an English teacher. He has already been living and working in Changsha for 7 years, and has set up the website "What's New in Changsha" and the free magazine in order to help newly arrived foreigners to more easily adjust to and integrate into life in Changsha, as well as provide a service to the foreign community to help them find good restaurants, scenic spots, jobs etc.
In the past few years, Changsha has successively won the "The city which has the happiest feeling", "The city which possesses the most cultural soft power" , "Friendly international city communication and co-operation", "China's livable city" awards and many more. Damion thoroughly agrees with the title of "the city which has the happiest feeling" with regards to Changsha. According to Damion, this city doesn't just have great food, beautiful firework displays, a free to all Yuelu mountain public park, but it also has friendly Changsha locals. "Changsha is a city with a great energy to it, the locals are really happy, this happiness has also affected me."
Except for 'happiness', during the interview, many foreigners expressed 'friendliness', and 'warmth' are common labels given to Changsha locals.
Jian Yuan comes from Hunan province's twin county, Tokushima, Japan. He came to Changsha in 2010 and is now coming up to his sixth year of living in this city. He is the owner of a curry restaurant, and is also Hunan province Japanese committee's chief secretary. "Changsha is a vibrant, energetic and intense city, with deep cultural roots and friendly residents, I love it here." This far-traveling Japanese man has also developed a taste for the authentic Hunan flavored betel nut (Bing Lang). Whenever he visits home he brings with him local Hunan produce such as An Hua dark tea as gifts, these have proven to be very popular with his friends and family. As the chief secretary of Hunan province's Japanese committee, he is often consulted by his compatriots about visiting Changsha, asking him many different questions about the city, "I am extremely happy to answer their questions, and I also encourage my Japanese friends to come and invest in Changsha enterprises".
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