Dancing the long drum dance of China's Yao ethnic minority, along with thousands of Chinese students, Zambian Donald Lusambo felt happy.
Lusambo, a student of the Central South University in central China's Hunan Province, said he had a crush on the long drum dance on the first day he watched it.
"The dance reminded me of my hometown. The uninhibited and bold style is very similar to the enthusiastic and passionate African cultures," said Lusambo, adding he dreamed of dancing with many people when he was little and eventually realized the dream in China.
Lusambo was eager to pass on the long drum dance, so he studied the dance and culture of the Yao ethnic minority very hard and finally became a member of the long drum dance inheritance base at the university.
"The world keeps changing, but the Chinese people have been holding fast to their traditional culture, which I think is very admirable," he added.
Lusambo is not the only student attracted by Chinese culture. On the culturally diverse campus, more and more international students have explored the beauty of the traditional Chinese culture.
For Nzaramba Antoine, a Rwandese, the traditional Chinese dragon dance is soul-stirring.
"I've never seen such a joyful, orderly, and constantly changing performance," Antoine recalled the first time he watched the university dragon dance club's performance. "I could not wait to join the team."
However, the training was not easy. Antoine had to learn from scratch. He kept practicing the basic skills day by day to perfectly do the jumps and turns and lift the dragon body high in the air.
As one of the first foreign students to join the dragon dance team, Antoine tried to promote the dragon dance to more foreign students. In 2015, he co-founded the first international student dragon dance team of the university. Over the past six years, this team has gathered nearly 100 students from Mongolia, Madagascar, Benin, and dozens of other countries and won gold medals in national dragon dance competitions.
"The Chinese dragon demonstrates Chinese wisdom and strength, while the dragon dance embodies a sense of unity which is deeply rooted in the Chinese culture," Antoine explained. "Dragon dance is never a sport for an individual but needs teamwork. Through dragon dance, I feel closely connected with Chinese culture."
Music has no boundaries. Mba Nchama Pedro Nsue, from Equatorial Guinea, bears this out.
After listening to some traditional Chinese folk songs performed by the university's choir outside the door of the rehearsal room, Pedro was in awe.
He walked straight into the room and told the choir leader, "I want to join the choir. I love Chinese music."
"His eyes were sparkling when he spoke those words," said Wang Tianze, the choir leader.
In the beginning, Pedro's voice was difficult to incorporate into the choir due to his speaking style and vocalization habits. "My voice was a little abrupt in the chorus, and my friends in the choir kept helping me adjust," said Pedro.
Besides overcoming problems of pronunciation and intonation, Pedro also spent much time understanding the rich connotation of the Chinese lyrics.
"I always look for my friends in the choir and see how they understand the lyrics and learn to experience them," said Pedro. He added that when he sings "the Yellow River Cantata," for example, the roaring Yellow River tumbles in his mind. While he sings "Liu Yang River" in dialect, he imagines how the river looks.
"I love Chinese songs. They give me a new perspective on China," Pedro said.
"I'm so lucky to study in China. The culture, people, and food all made me fall in love with the country. I don't want to leave," said the young man, who will leave China after his graduation.
"But I cannot wait to tell all my friends back in my country how lovable and strong China is," Pedro added.