The number of Central Asian students in China has been steadily increasing with the growing ties between China and those countries.
Students from China and Tajikistan try out traditional Chinese clothing during a cultural exchange activity at Hunan University of Science and Engineering in Yongzhou, Hunan Province on June 21, 2019. [Photo: CFP]
Students from Central Asia account for a small share of the group of international students in China, but the number has been quickly expanding in recent years.
The growing presence of this community also represents the closer ties that China shares with Central Asian countries.
Akmyrat Annamyradov from Turkmenistan is studying international trade and economy at the Northwest University in Xian.
He believes that as China assumes a larger role on the international stage, studying in the country offers an ideal opportunity for students to cultivate a global perspective.
"You should go to somewhere else to be global aware, and China is going to be the better country for that. Because first of all, it is going to be like that, if you go to China you will see the world, you'll see the part of the world. After that, China is developed pretty well than Russia and Turkmenistan, so you should go to China because the future is in China."
Last year, the trade volume between China and Central Asian countries reached 70 billion US dollars.
The figure surpassed initial expectations, and bilateral trade continued to flourish, expanding by an additional 22% in the first quarter of this year.
Geography student Khakimov Mukhammadayub from Tajikistan says the wide range of business activities is creating many job opportunities for Tajik people.
"Tajikistan and China have many business areas like, Tajikistan people come to China, bring Chinese stuff, send to my country, for example, clothes, shoes and other things, then send to Tajikistan."
With the deepening of people-to-people exchanges, an increasing number of international students have developed a fascination for traditional Chinese culture and techniques.
Bazarkhan Saulet from Kazakhstan is studying acupuncture and moxibustion in the Gansu University of Chinese Medicine.
She says compared to the Western approach, traditional Chinese medicine has been proven more effective in treating certain illnesses, and more Kazakhs have adopted the Chinese approach.
"For patients who had a stroke, acupuncture can be a great option as it's safer and helps with recovery. And for lumbar disc, Western treatments tend to lean towards surgery, but traditional Chinese medicine uses acupuncture to target the body's meridian-collateral system, which has shown some really promising results. That's why many patients in Kazakhstan prefer traditional Chinese medicine and actively seek out these treatments."
Kutmamatov Belsultan from Kyrgyzstan also studies acupuncture and moxibustion. He's already formed a clear blueprint for his future career.
"When I go back home, I want to open a comprehensive Chinese medicine hospital that offers both inpatient and outpatient services. It's been a dream of mine for a long time and I'm excited to pursue it as my career."
Belsultan's dream wasn't forged out of thin air – before studying in China, he had already met a lot of patients in Kyrgyzstan after two years of working with traditional Chinese medicine, and he knows the market has great potential there.
"Not long after I came to China, they kept calling me and asking when I am, where I'm working at, and they need acupuncture and moxibustion. It's amazing to see how much recognition and interest traditional Chinese medicine treatments have gained in my country."
The relationship between China and Central Asian countries has seen significant development over the years, and this positive trajectory is poised to receive another boost due to the expanding exchanges among the younger generation.