Expat in Taizhou enthralled by Chinese culture
Nils Schwerzmann plays the erhu, a two-stringed bowed Chinese musical instrument, in Taizhou, East China's Zhejiang province. [Photo/taizhou.com.cn]
Enjoying a few cups of white tea and playing the erhu, a traditional two-stringed bowed Chinese instrument, are how American expat Nils Schwerzmann starts his day in Taizhou, East China's Zhejiang province.
Schwerzmann is an English teacher who has been in Taizhou for seven years.
The American fell in love with Chinese culture when he was playing a game in high school. The game's background setting in the Three Kingdoms (220-280), a period when China was dominated by three warring states, and erhu music captivated Schwerzmann.
He visited China for the first time in 2014 after graduating from college. Through a recommendation made by a sister of a Chinese teacher in his college, he got to know Lu Xian, the principal of Taizhou Oriental Ideal School. At Lu's invitation, Schwerzmann became an oral English teacher in Taizhou.
The US expat has developed a wide range of interests in his spare time during his stay in the city, including the erhu, tai chi, floriculture, and tea making. He has learned how to play the erhu for eight years and has won numerous awards.
Education in Taizhou has become increasingly inclusive and open in recent years, according to Schwerzman. "The city's education is trying to ensure student's physical and mental health and all-round development, and I think that's a very good thing," he said.
In 2020, Schwerzmann was stranded in the US for more than half a year due to the cancellation of international flights after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
During that period, he wrote letters to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, and the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Education, expressing his eagerness to return to China.
When asked why he was so eager to return to China, he said, "Taizhou is my home. I have many good friends at home and we need each other."
Taizhou is a city with great development potential, according to Schwerzmann. He said he was impressed by the city's increasing level of inclusiveness, better environment, and improved transportation.
In 2019, the American successfully applied to be part of the first batch of receipients of the five-year working residence permits in Taizhou. The validity time for the certificate has been prolonged from a year to five years, while related procedures have also been streamlined.