Were you aware that despite the often sour relationship between China and India, both the countries share several similarities?
Both China and India are one of the fastest growing economies with rich heritage and culture. Being the first and second most populated countries respectively, both these nations share their spiritual values and beliefs in Buddhism along with their high regard for ‘teacher’ or ‘guru’ as known in India. Additionally, both countries welcome foreigners with open arms and uphold the standard of hospitality being widely acknowledged in India as ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which translates to ‘the guest is equivalent to God’.
With the above given facts, would you choose to believe them or still question the validity of ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’? Would you believe that you could potentially make China your second home and call its people your brothers or still continue to have fixed, rigid mindsets owing to the numerous stereotypes such as ‘the Chinese hate Indians’ or ‘the Chinese eat meat of any and every animal’?
So was the experience for our exchange participants who recently visited China for an AIESEC project. It was extremely heartwarming for them to interact with the locals who were more than happy to help people from different cultures, social and ethnic background and there was hardly any animosity or bitter feelings amongst the Indians and the Chinese as talked about generally. On the contrary, they are very helpful, humble, and calm people who do not discriminate. All our exchange participants agreed that they were made to feel at home and the only problems that they faced were that of language barriers or the difficulty to look for vegetarian food.
Yash, who is one of the exchange participant had lived with a host family in China and shared details such as the Chinese prefer boiled food to spicy food and they love welcoming and treating foreigners. He also shared more about his experience and added how he had the most fun when he and the others jumped into the Jinku late at night and how they sang songs at a bar in China. He further added how the entire experience had taught him how there are no right or wrong perspectives; only different.
Ashutosh on the other hand shed light on the personality and demeanor of the Chinese and how they are extremely punctual and dedicated toward their work and this is something that the Indians should learn from them. Additionally, he also mentioned how the Chinese should learn how to socialise and take a back seat and relax sometimes from the Indians. Ashutosh’s experience also familiarised him with the culture of China, where unlike India protests and anti- national views and opinions are not very appreciated.
The entire experience enabled the exchange participants to break free from the stereotypes that one usually holds for China and its people as they were able to live their experience in a new country, with new people, through their own eyes and truly embrace every single bit of it.