In China, the Spring Festival is the most important holiday throughout the year, when family members reunite and spend quality time together. The Spring Festival travel rush is the combination of the Chinese Spring Festival culture, with a rich Chinese flavor. In 2018, at the public service platform set up at Xi’an Railway Station, international students from the Northwestern Polytechnical University actively participate in the “Heart-warming Winter Campaign” organized by Shaanxi Young Volunteers, the international students are given the opportunity to experience the Chinese Spring Festival travel rush and Chinese New Year. This is the first volunteer campaign for Spring Festival travel rush joined by international students.
2018 Spring Festival travel rush started on February，1st . To help the travel rush run smoothly, over 20 international students of Northwestern Polytechnical University from the Belt and Road countries including Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, volunteer to provide guidance and consultation, offer assistance and carry out emergency services for tourists at Xi'an Railway Station.
Arranged by the organizer, international students are assigned different tasks to actively deliver services at Xi’an Railway Station. Some help maintain order at the entrance; some provide consultation for passengers; some help those who have difficulties entering the station; some guide passengers to purchase and pick up tickets at the self-service ticket machines. Each task seems insignificant, but it makes contributions to ensure the smooth progress of the Spring Festival travel rush. Seeing a granny looking after her grandson with her hands occupied with luggage, Adnan and Hassan volunteer to help her carry the luggage, pick up and check the tickets. They try their best to provide passengers with the most caring and thoughtful service.
In the waiting room of Xi'an Railway Station, volunteers hand out Spring Festival couplets at the same time. Dressed in the same red vests, these international students give away Spring Festival couplets and the Chinese character “Fu” (meaning blessings and happiness) to passengers, presenting their best wishes in mandarin by saying “Zhong Guo Nian, Si Lu Yuan, Zhu Da Jia Chun Jie Kuai Le (Connected by the Silk Road, we wish you all a Happy Spring Festival in the Chinese New Year.)”. With such heartwarming blessings, every passenger’s face is beaming with a smile, enjoying additional happiness on his or her way home.
During this heart-warming winter campaign, many Chinese passengers find it quite surprising and sweet to be helped by international volunteers, so they are very enthusiastic to take photos with them. These volunteers bring a touch of exotic atmosphere and friendship to the Spring Festival travel rush, spicing up every traveler’s journey. As for students themselves, they are closer to Chinese people’s everyday life and are able to experience firsthand the “Spring Festival Travel Rush Culture” and the “Nian Culture” (Chinese New Year) bubbling up in the Spring Festival atmosphere. When talking about the experience, Ali said, “In the past, I thought the travel rush was all about journeying back home by train. However, today I found it much more than that, it is a part of Chinese culture and I am honored to be part of it.”
This campaign will last for 40 days. During this time international students will serve as volunteers at railway stations, metro stations and airports. It is believed that this voluntary service not only provides more benefits and help to the busy travel rush, but also facilitates to disseminate Chinese culture and builds a sincere and amicable friendship bridge linking China and foreign countries
Writer: Chen Xiaofeng
Photographer: Ma Jingbo
Editor: Sun Wubin