Foreign doctors, teachers applaud Shanghai's soft power

(en.sh-italent.com)Updated : 2022-03-03


International doctors working in Shanghai gather for a meeting held at the Shanghai United Family Hospital on Feb 22, 2022. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Shanghai recently held two meetings with 13 foreign doctors and eight foreign teachers working in the city to discuss urban soft power.

The foreign attendees applauded Shanghai' soft power and expressed their opinions during the meetings, noting that they have witnessed the city's development.

The meeting with foreign doctors was held on Feb 22 in Changning district. Ten out of the 13 foreign doctors from eight countries who attended the meeting have been living and working in Shanghai for more than a decade.

"Soft power is like the 'personality' of a city, and 'openness, innovation, and tolerance' have become the most distinctive characteristics of Shanghai," said Han Jie, executive director of the Shanghai United Family Hospital.

The gains Shanghai has made in the medical and healthcare fields, according to the foreign doctors, are the most significant embodiment of the city's soft power.

Ashishi Maskay, an orthopedist at Shanghai United Family Hospital, said Shanghai has given him a lot of warmth so he has treated it as his home, and he is very happy to be connected with the city.

Maskay arrived in Shanghai 18 years ago from Nepal. He organized a volunteer blood donation squad called "bloodline" with foreigners as the major members, and he personally donated blood 25 times. He was given the Shanghai Magnolia Award foinr 2020, which is one of the highest distinctions a foreigner can earn for extraordinary contributions to Shanghai.

Maskay's colleague Melissa Gronemeyer mirrored Maskay's remarks, stating that it is warm to work and glad to live in Shanghai, and that doctors and patients have more options here.

Some foreign physicians have been able to communicate in Chinese. "Many people from many cultural backgrounds came to Shanghai, lived here, and gradually became very familiar with the city, which is interesting!" said Zhao Kangwan from the Shanghai Life Tree Medical Beauty Clinic.

Michelle Okano Anzanello from Shanghai Shende Hospital said that she is about to renew her work contract, and her child has begun to learn Chinese. After two and a half years in Shanghai, she felt the convenience of city life and the friendliness of people everywhere, so she wanted to stay here.

"My family and I are reluctant to leave here. If you want to talk about the city's soft power, Shanghai's friendliness, safety, and vitality are the most attractive aspects," said Marie Mathilde Costa from Shanghai Lanyang Dental Clinic.

The meeting with foreign teachers was held on Feb 24 in Changning district. Eight foreign teachers from primary and secondary schools in Shanghai applauded the city's high-quality educational environment, rapid development and inclusiveness.

They also shared their views on improving students' soft power in an era of educational internalization at the meeting.

"I have lived in Shanghai for seven years. I like to teach in this city. In my classroom, I rarely assign homework to children, but I hope to cultivate students' ability to think and solve problems in an interesting way, so as to improve the soft power of students," said Andrew Mcgillivray from Canada. In his view, to enhance the soft power of the city, special attention must be paid to the soft power of children.

Alan Smith, who is currently working as an English teacher, has been in Shanghai for almost 10 years. "The first day I came to Shanghai, I was still a little confused and didn't know what would happen in the future, but Shanghai gave me a surprise. I felt the development of Shanghai in culture, art, business and other aspects, and I am very happy to grow up with this city and the people here."

Smith also said that he hopes to cultivate students' ability to speak in public so that in addition to mastering grammar and vocabulary, they can express themselves more boldly and fluently, which will be useful for children throughout their lives.

Max Duroseau, an American teacher, said that Shanghai's openness and inclusiveness are important factors that attract him. "I hope to have more opportunities to learn about Shanghai's culture and history in the future, which will also be very helpful for our professional development."

Education is an important part of urban soft power. In recent years, Changning district has launched a series of solid measures to promote the internationalization of basic education, including employing full-time foreign teachers at local schools. Currently, all primary schools, 90 percent of junior high schools and some high schools in the district have recruited foreign teachers. Changning also established the "Changning Education International Alliance" to facilitate communication between local schools for expatriate students.