This year, the Expat Service Center in Jinjiang District provided visitors from Britain, Iran and Romania with the opportunity to live in a Chinese community and immerse themselves in the local culture and society. Some also enrolled in a short Chinese language course at a local university.
"It is important to have this kind of place as more foreigners are choosing to live in Chengdu," says Guo Xin, a local official of the Niusha Street Community of Jinjiang District. "We hold several public events for foreigners and local Chinese. This helps foreigners deeply understand China's culture and way of living."
Elizabeth Frost was one of this year's intake of overseas visitors to Jinjiang. She graduated from high school in England and then decided to enrol in a Chinese language program at Sichuan Normal University. "I really enjoyed learning how to make Chinese food. During Spring Festival, my friend taught me how to make dumplings, and then today we learned how to make Zongzi. I think you can learn a great deal about a culture through its food."
Thomas Caterer also graduated from a British university, and is also learning Chinese in China. "I was in Beijing for Spring Festival and I went to Nanjing for the Lantern Festival. The celebrations, cuisines and local languages, vary so much in size and scale from province to province, it almost feels like each region is like a new country."
Lian Clifton is also from the UK. "I find the history behind every element of Chinese culture fascinating. As my friend said, we never hear much about China in England, so to experience it myself and discover so many new things is amazing."
While many of the foreign visitors are fresh out of college, Teodor Lupu from Romania has several years' experience as a chef, and now pursuing a degree in hospitality management in China. "I think what attracts me the most is the friendliness and sharing culture."
Finally, Adam Yee is a film major at Sichuan Normal University, and is also of Chinese descent. "Many things attracted me to China, such as handicrafts and Taichi. My parents are Chinese, so I wanted to come to China to experience the culture."