Work and Life in China
It is of my great honor to be a member of the big family of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). I was thrilled and excited when I was informed that my application for a CAS PIFI assistant professorship had been accepted. Not only is CAS a respectable academic organization in China, it is well-known around the world as well. CAS offers various programs for scientists at different positions and top scientists from across the globe to work in collaboration with CAS.
Working as a CAS member brought my research journey to a whole new level. I was highly motivated to seize this opportunity and make the most of it. It is exhilarating to work in an environment where knowledgeable scientists from all around the world work and collaborate at the frontiers of science. A significant advantage of working in the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry of CAS is the accessibility of equipment and facilities. The equipment and facilities are available in adequate numbers and finding the necessities of laboratory work is not a common concern for researchers here which eases the work and frees the mind to simply focus on the research itself.
Students and staff are extremely friendly and I never felt alone here. One of my concerns about working in China was my limited knowledge of the Chinese language. That worry was totally relieved right after arriving here when I realized how hospitable and helpful Chinese people are. Sometimes I faced difficulties in handling my official work due to my limited Chinese skills. It was even more challenging and difficult when it came to funding applications. Nonetheless, people in my research group were always there for me, willing to help and guide me. I am so delighted to be able to work in the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry and specifically to work with my advisor, Professor Gan Zhang. He is not only a great mentor but a perfect example of a successful researcher. I learned a lot from him about life as a scientist and dedication to science.
Life in China is filled with thrills and surprises every day. I adapted to it faster than any other places that I have visited during my research journey. The food variety in China is amazing and you can choose the type of food you like whether you have a taste for spicy or non-spicy food. I am from the Middle-East and it is never a problem to find Middle Eastern cuisine here in Guangzhou. There is a large number and variety of restaurants serving Middle Eastern cuisine, making me feel right at home. I like the weather in Guangzhou, especially during winter and spring, although I have a bit of difficulty during summer due to hot weather and the high level of humidity. My favorite leisure activity is to play ping-pong and I am quite good at it. Being able to play ping-pong with my Chinese colleagues helped me to find more and more friends. My Chinese colleagues always invite me to play with them and I am very grateful for their kindness. I feel their excitement in seeing that a foreigner can play at their level. Additionally, I have tried to make the most of the multinational environment of the institute and have found friends from other parts of the world. I have met friends from Pakistan, France, Spain, the Philippines, Japan, Russia and Sri-Lanka among other countries.
The pleasant experience of working as a CAS member and the thrilling experience of living in China with its open-hearted people made me decide to continue this collaboration whether as a CAS member or as a collaborator of CAS in another organization. CAS is a pioneering organization in the academic world and I wish to continue being involved in its programs and projects.