iChongqing Title

Foreign Brothers Grow Up in China, Embrace Chinese Culture

By XINYI LI|Mar 13,2024

Chongqing—In the vibrant city of Chongqing, two foreign brothers, Youssef Khalil, 16, and Sami Khalil, 14, are thriving in their studies at Chongqing No. 8 Secondary School. They vividly express their deep love for Chinese culture and their dreams for what lies ahead. Having called China their home for the past 12 years, their journey is a testament to the enriching blend of acculturation and educational exchange.

The Khalil brothers arrived in China 12 years ago. (Photo/Prof. Rami)

iChongqing reporter has decided to meet them and ask more about their inspirations and aspirations. During the interview, Youssef and Sami shared their insights into their school life and cultural explorations, highlighting their profound connection with China. They emphasized how their immersion in China has been holistic, encompassing language acquisition and a deep appreciation of Chinese cultural heritage.

Khalil brothers in the Chongqing No. 8 Secondary School (Photo/Li Xinyi)

As they look into the future, Youssef and Sami have set their sights on ambitious goals and envisaged contributing significantly to China's cultural and educational prosperity. In their words and actions, they have been telling Chinese stories to the world since the day they moved to Chongqing. In a recent speech contest, "My Chongqing Story," organized by Chongqing Normal University, Youssef took the stage and told the world his Chinese story. His story revealed his unbreakable engagement with the city's culture and his aspirations as a cultural ambassador. "Me and Chongqing grew up together", he said in his speech, "and I live as a human bridge connecting Chongqing to the world." He is determined to pursue his journey in China and connect this vibrant city and the world, aiming to facilitate a rich exchange of ideas, culture, and knowledge. Being the youngest among the university contestants, Youssef was the only high schooler, and his speech stood out, bringing him first-prize recognition. 

Youssef Khalil participating in the International Department's activity (Photo/Prof. Rami)

Sami's aspirations take to the skies as he dreams of becoming a pilot one day. More than just navigating aircraft, he sees himself as an envoy of China's culture, guiding international visitors through the country's vast tapestry of traditions, history, and contemporary vibrancy.

Sami Khalil wearing a red scarf (Photo/Prof. Rami)

The interview with Sami and Youssef Khalil illuminated their passion for Chinese culture and their optimistic visions for the future, offering insights into the significance of cultural integration, educational interaction, and the creation of international bonds. Sami and Youssef are pioneers in many initiatives that involve high schoolers, hoping that their life in China attracts more young expats to grow up. 


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