After a busy day, Bulat often rides on an ofo shared bike and enters Beijing hutongs after passing by steel and concrete high-rises. He would go into a small café, find a seat and enjoy a moment of meditation or chatting – his favorite pastimes.
Bulat left his hometown - a small city in southern Russia – for Beijing alone at the age of eighteen. At that time he could only speak Russian. After living in Beijing for five years, Bulat can speak Chinese and English fluently and he can even read English literature and write his thesis in Chinese. While studying at Renmin University of China, he worked as a manager of ThinkIN China, a platform for the youth, and organized and hosted many activities involving ex-political figures of different countries in his spare time. He also founded Russian Students Union (Beijing) two years ago.
Bulat will graduate from Renmin University this year (2017) but he hopes to stay in Beijing.
Bulat hosts a sharing session of Romano Prodi, former prime minister of Italy and president of the European Commission, which is organized by ThinkIN China. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
“Beijing has become my second hometown. I have friends and partners who start and operate societies and platforms together with me, many acquaintances and most important of all my favorite food ‘malaxiangguo’ - spicy pot - here,” Bulat said jokingly.
When Bulat first came to Beijing five years ago, he could not communicate with the waitress in restaurant since he only spoke Russian. Thus he ordered a dish by pointing to it on the menu casually. After the food was served, it was spicy and salty. Bulat still remembers the taste. “It was the first time I ate spicy food,” he admitted.
After that, Bulat had been awed by spicy food for a year. However, later he developed a craze for it.
Bulat also has a great love for shared bikes in Beijing. He especially likes hanging around Beijing’s streets and alleyways by shared bike. “What I like best about Beijing is that the city is inclusive. In one moment you are riding on a wide road lined with skyscrapers. In another moment you are faced with a narrow hutong where you find the scenery is quite different.”
Before shared bikes appeared, Bulat had to take subway or taxi to go out and he could hardly experience the fun of hutong exploration.
Beijing has changed a lot in the past five years and the reason why Bulat chooses to stay in this city is the opportunities brought about by the changes.
“Beijing is becoming more and more international and I can do the things I like here together with many acquaintances. The city is full of vitality and opportunities in the course of its development. That’s why I came to study in Beijing and am in the hope of staying here after graduation.” Bulat said with expectation, “I will find a job first and work for some time before I find opportunities to do some business.”
Bulat participates in Beijing Marathon 2014. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
Bulat enjoys spicy pot with friends. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
Bulat learns how to make dumplings. [Photo provided to Qianlong]
Bulat cycles with friends. [Photo provided to Qianlong]