Oscar's father works for the Bangladeshi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has always been fond of Chinese culture. During the 1980s, Oscar's father studied at Beijing Foreign Studies University and after graduating returned home to his family.
Oscar became familiar with China from very early on. His father would often talk about China's geography and history, and the family home had a map of China, which father and son would spend a lot of time looking at. Oscar knew a lot about China, from its dynasties to the differences between North and South, before ever visiting the country.
Having studied in China, Oscar's father also had many Chinese friends, which he would often invite to their house. On these occasions, the father would make several Chinese dishes for his guests, such as braised pork, potatoes, steamed buns, and all sorts of soups. "Since I was a child, I had the feeling that Chinese people were friendly, amiable, and enthusiastic." Having made so many contacts in China, Oscar became eager to visit.
In the bookshelves at home are many Chinese books that his father likes reading; at times, Oscar would look through them, too. Oscar's mother is a music teacher; in fact, the whole family is very much into music. "My father likes Chinese music very much; his favorite is Teresa Teng, whose songs can often be heard at home. My sister, who now is 15, can sing several Chinese songs."
Beginning Chinese classes at ZNU
In 2019, Oscar's Chinese dream was realized, as he was one of 10 Bangladeshi students granted admission to study in China. Since his family has long been interested in Chinese, Oscar had an advantage in preparing for exams and managed to accomplish in just six months what others did in two years.
In September 2019, Oscar arrived on Zhejiang Normal University. At first, even though daily communication was not a problem for him, Oscar found the academic language quite difficult, "I couldn't understand what I was hearing, and I couldn't read." Oscar often got confused, but his teachers and classmates helped him a lot. "The teachers would often remind my classmates to help me after classes. Many students took the initiative and offered me extra help."
Being fluent both in Chinese and English, Oscar now serves as a "journalist" and "translator" in his class. A few days ago, Oscar and his Chinese classmates performed several interviews at an event related to Sino-African tourism.
"In the future I must repay Jinhua"
Oscar is used to typing characters with pinyin, the app in his phone is completely in Chinese, and his phone is made in China. "I bought this phone in Bangladesh," but, as he explained, Chinese products can be found everywhere in Bangladesh. From food to clothes, everything you need is there.
Being in Jinhua for over a year, Oscar has never felt like an outsider in a foreign land. He has felt the enthusiasm of the people in Jinhua and their passion for life. After graduation, he hopes to stay in China, and in Jinhua specifically, to work and grow. "It's in Jinhua that I've really blossomed. After learning so much, I will try to pay Jinhua back for what it has given me." Oscar is fully committed to continuing to live and grow in this lovely city.
(Text and photo by Wu Yueyue, additional pictures provided by Oscar Mazumder, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Kendra Fiddler)