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Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

We all know that in recent years, more and more Chinese students are opting to go abroad instead of taking the gaokao (national college entrance examinations). There is also a large number of international students in the US who come from other Asian countries including India, Japan, and South Korea. After living and studying with classmates from different Asian countries, I am impressed by Indian students' extensive knowledge of China.

In November, when the result of the US presidential election came out and Donald Trump became the president, my professors dropped their planned course content and started discussions about the country's future. In economics class, for example, my professor discussed whether Trump would negatively affect China-US relations. There were two Indians and three Chinese students in the class. Before my Chinese friends or I could speak, an Indian student raised his hand and stated his opinion.

He spoke for two minutes and was well informed. He even gave exact figures on China's GDP growth in the past three years.

My friends and I looked at each other and wondered how he knew these facts so well.

After that day, I encountered more Indian students who knew a lot about China and love to discuss the country.

Two months later, I was in an environmental studies class. The topic was climate change and carbon emissions, and the professor showed China's situation on the blackboard and encouraged us to say something about it. Again, before I could speak, an Indian student listed a series of problems China faces and solutions that have been taken.

It appears that whenever my professors mention China in class, my Indian classmates get more excited than the rest.

I think it might have something to do with many people from India seeing China as their rival.

Both countries have a long history and civilization. During the past decades, China and India have both developed rapidly from a poor country to a powerful nation. Both Indians and Chinese have long been regarded as among the most diligent people in the world. So, perhaps students who study abroad think that the two countries are competitors in future development.

Some of my friends who major in science and technology have also told me that their Indian classmates are their only rivals in class. They compare their rankings and scores in each test.

My Indian classmates are very hardworking and they spend  a lot of time studying. Although we have never fallen behind them, after my freshman year, I felt that my Indian classmates were very knowledgeable about China. At least, they excelled more in the field of knowing one's rival.

So, it is time for my friends and me to work even harder and learn about India so that the next time a professor mentions India we can beat them to the punch.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.