Ghulam Murtaza, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing China
A common question is asked in China, "Why did you come to China to work? I would say, our desires lay the foundation for our endeavors and our destiny. It was after my master's when I qualified for the prestigious, "Public Service Exam" to serve as a lecturer in the Higher Education Department of Pakistan. I served the department happily for four years.
But there was a long-lasting desire somewhere hidden in me to pursue a doctoral degree abroad. Therefore, I went on this expedition to find a place where I could fulfill my desire and flourish my scientific career.
China Chose Me
China offers living support not only for international students but also their accompanied family members. Hence, China has emerged as the favorite destination for many international students ever since China launched its "China Scholarship Council" with a vast scholarship program in 1997. Since the last decade, China has received an influx of international students due to its policy of attracting international talents to reposition, "Chinese higher education" in the world and also to train foreign talents to "know China" (Zhihua), "be friendly towards China" (youhua), and "love China" (aihua).
Considering the above benefits, I chose china/china chose me for my doctoral study and research. I would love to mention that I and my wife got the offer of a Chinese government scholarship together, to pursue a doctoral degree in Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), one of the famous universities in China. We had been engaged in Bioanalytical chemistry research in Pakistan. The research scope of our advisor was biotherapy and molecular medicine related to our previous work; therefore, we accepted the offer and landed in China in September 2016. We had a wonderful life at the campus and participated in all academic and co-academic activities.
It's never easy to relocate especially as a student and settle in a new country, with an entirely different culture, and language, but when it comes to China, it's not the case as its people receive you with open arms. We have been living here in Beijing for the last five years and we have experienced a smooth life. There are no restrictions on personal and research activities as long as you abide by the Chinese laws. People in the BIT and Local Township have no prejudice against foreigners. We love to enjoy the Chinese festivals along with the local Chinese people.
Witnessing China's Development
This is necessary for academic researchers to visit enterprises to practically see the real-time research and development.
In 2017, the local government of Shenzhen, China organized an international youth conference/One Belt One Road Initiative and invited one hundred youth from all over the world. I had the honor to attend the event. The event spanned over three days and we had a chance to visit top universities and enterprises in the city, for instance, Beijing Genomics Institute, and Tencent.
China values international collaboration with foreigners. We were offered to submit grant proposals to start any business in China, if interested. This is a very unique example of enabling youth to stand on their own feet under the guidance of experienced.
I also participated in the Beijing conference and exhibition for instrumental analysis (BCEIA) for three consecutive years: 2017, 2019, and 2021. This conference is held every two years and hosts participants from within China and abroad and provides the opportunity for cooperation and networking. These are a few examples of which an international student can avail during his research period in China.
Opportunities in China and Prospects
China offers many kinds of scholarships for degree and non-degree programs for international students. This has opened avenues of cooperation between Chinese and international researchers. As a part of this cooperation, I was offered postdoctoral researcher position at BIT. With this position, I have been serving my alma mater since last one year, and able to grow my scientific career. Besides, my school is also hosting several postdoctoral researchers from Pakistan, India, and Africa, around a number of graduate students from Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
More and more opportunities could be created with the cooperation of Chinese and international researchers for the young researchers and students. In the post-COVID-19 era, the role of China's potential in research and development becomes important and demands more cooperation and facilitation for international students and researchers. I am looking forward to play my role in this cooperation in the days to come.