More than a decade ago, I left Pakistan to join the Hunan Agricultural University in Changsha, capital of Hunan province. It is the best decision I have taken in my life, because China opened up a whole new world for me.
I received the warmest welcome at the Changsha railway station, from where two very pleasant women escorted me to my university apartment, which was fully furnished, complete with cable TV and Internet connections. My director hosted a lavish dinner in a restaurant, which was also attended by some other faculty members.
I lived in Changsha for about 10 years, teaching at a couple of schools and was warmly received wherever I went.
I am not a native English speaker but like so many others in Pakistan (in fact, on the Indian subcontinent) I have a good command of the English language thanks to years of rigorous practice.
In 2010, China issued a rule barring non-native English speakers from teaching English in the country's schools. My school regretfully informed me that the rule disqualified me from teaching there any longer. I left China with a heavy heart. I am back in Pakistan. But I miss everything about China.
RIZ, from China Daily forum