A colorful Spring Festival in the eyes of expatriates in Suzhou

2021/2/23 15:55:54  iSuzhou

春节期间,iSuzhou发布【乐嗨苏州】新春特别篇,主人公Tamara Kaup带领大家身临其境地体验了一把地道的中国春节,引发广泛关注和强烈共鸣。其实不少在苏外籍人士都选择了留苏过年,他们又是如何度过这个特别的春节的呢?

A Spring Festival themed vlog released by iSuzhou on its video column “I’m in Suzhou” attracted wide attention during the holiday. In the short video Tamara Kaup vividly shows how the city''s foreign residents enjoyed the Chinese New Year in Suzhou.

Apart from Tamara Kaup, many foreign residents in Suzhou also responded to the government’s call and stayed in the city during the Spring Festival holiday for the purpose of epidemic prevention and control. Some of them are teaching or studying at local schools, some are enjoying married life in Suzhou and some else are new to the city, starting businesses or taking up new posts. They all spent a special Chinese New Year in Suzhou in their own way.

Maginot Bernard from Jamaica

computer teacher, Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan)


“I’ve been teaching computer science since I came to China from Jamaica in 2015. The Spring Festival in 2021 marks the fourth Chinese New Year I’ve spent in Kunshan, Suzhou. Normally my wife will travel to Kunshan from Malaysia to celebrate the festival together with me. But this year we decided to stay put and meet through video calling platforms. During the holiday, my colleagues and I took a good tour around the city, too.” said Maginot.

Renaud Bodot from France

General Manger, Prugent Diam Asia (Kunshan)

“I came to Kunshan in 2017 and have settled in since then, so Kunshan is my second home. I could feel the festive atmosphere of Spring Festival during the holiday despite doing overtime. I think China has done a great job in epidemic prevention and control, and that is why I decided to stay in Kunshan to spend a safe and healthy Spring Festival. During the holiday, I cycled to the scenic Yangcheng Lake and Taihu Lake to experience the unique charm of Suzhou as a Jiangnan water town.” said Renaud.

Miksha from South Africa

“It was the first time I had ever celebrated the Chinese New Year in Suzhou and learned to make dumplings. It’s definitely not easy to cook tangyuan (rice balls) without breaking them. We also gave cooked tangyuan to those front-line workers together with Shishan Hengtang Subdistrict staff, which made this year’s Spring Festival more special. It felt great when I saw the smiles on their faces.” said Miksha.

Manabu Nakamura from Japan

General Manager, Suzhou Izumiya Co., Ltd.

“The reason why I stayed in SND to celebrate the Spring Festival is kind of romantic-- my wife is Chinese. The customs to celebrate the Spring Festival in China and Japan are quite similar: having reunion dinner with family members and friends, praying for good luck at temples, etc. My family go climbing during every Spring Festival holiday, but this year we decided to stay put and went climbing Dayang Mountain. After that, we went to Huaihai Street and ate some Japanese food, which was very satisfying.” said Manabu.

Instrumental performers, Suzhou Symphony Orchestra

Suzhou Symphony Orchestra (SZS) now owns more than 70 instrumental performers from over 20 different countries and regions. In light of the fact that most of the foreign performers haven’t spent Chinese New Year in the country before, SZS hosted a Spring Festival themed event where they learned to make silk cocoon flowers, toured along old street, enjoyed Kunqu opera performance and tasted local delicacies.

Zhen Zhen from France

international student, SKEMA Business School (Suzhou)

“My parents were worried about me at the beginning of the outbreak. Later on, they considered it safe for me to stay in the country as China had brought the epidemic under effective control. During the Spring Festival holiday, my school prepared special goodie bags for international students who decided to stay put like me. It really interested me when I saw red couplets and the Chinese character Fu everywhere in the city. The whole city was in a festive mood and I like this kind of feeling very much.” said Zhen Zhen.

Click here to view the videos.