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Willer Daza


22, from Colombia, studies Chinese Language at Nankai University



As a recent newcomer to Tianjin, what advice would you give other people that have just arrived to the city?

I would advise people to explore the city as much as they can, at least the area in which they live. It may also take the help of a local to find that really delicious food that’s in the process of cooking just next-door. 


This is the first time away from your home country Colombia. What has had the most impact on you? 

A highlight is the overall safety I feel living here, like for example being able to walk anywhere at any time, which is not always the case in big cities. What I have had the most trouble coping with is what I perceive as "rudeness" from Chinese people towards me, which I have come to learn is just the way things go here (sometimes, after being very poorly treated by a cashier, I will receive a very warm smile in return for my Spanish-accented xi猫 xi猫). 


What are the worst and best things about Tianjin? 

Tianjin comes with all of the perks of a big city, especially being able to find many foreigner-friendly spots in case one feels a little homesick and wants to eat some Nutella or drink foreign beer. It can get hectic but not as much as its big league counterpart cities elsewhere in China. What I do find annoying about living here is the quality of the air, which can at times seem just fine but is mostly alarmingly dense.


What's the strangest thing you've seen/experienced since you've been here? 

I think some of the food being offered in the supermarkets and at some restaurants is a hint too weird for me, and with this I mean live frogs or donkey meat, amongst others.


What's your favourite Chinese dish so far? 

This month's favourite is being cooked after 22:00 in the stalls in front of Tianjin University's Weijin Lu gate. There is this one stall that sells what is perhaps the most amazing rice I have ever eaten. Their curry rice is served with a fried egg, a piece of chicken dipped on a delicious sweet, black sauce that later also gets pan-fried, and a spoonful of some spicy green vegetables that I don’t know the name of yet.


What are your top three places or things in Tianjin so far? 

Ancient Culture Street is a must for people visiting or moving to Tianjin since this is maybe the most representative piece of Chinese culture I have seen here so far. If you understand some Chinese, you might also want to try attending a 鐩稿0 (xiang sheng) show. I would also recommend going for a walk along the river starting at the train station (澶╂触绔). There are many nice things to see on the way, but not many of them are strictly Chinese-style.


What do you like to do in your free time here? 

When I have the time, I like to go and try new restaurants that I stumble upon while walking the streets around Nankai University, and I also like visiting the nice caf茅s located in several places along Weijin Lu, most very close from Nankai and Tianjin University.


By Sanne Jehoul

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