YINCHUAN, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- For Richard Djurist, China is not only a good destination for his graduate studies in medicine, but also a fine place to discover the joy of ice and snow.
For the first time in his life, the 30-year-old Tanzania native skied at a resort in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region last month.
"I've never tried skiing before," said Djurist. "Because in my country, we don't have winter. I had never got in touch with winter sports but I love to try something new."
Richard came to China eight years ago and is now studying for his post-graduate degree at Ningxia Medical University. Since the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is around the corner, the university organized a winter sports meeting to help international students experience the charm of ice and snow through games including cycling on the ice and ice-sled racing.
According to Ma Xin, deputy director of the international education school of the university, Richard is among 27 international students from seven countries such as Tanzania, Fiji, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh who are engaging in the activity.
Tanzania is an East Africa country, located south of the equator, with a warm climate all year round. Richard loves sports but had never tried any winter sports.
"I can't wait to try skiing and also play with some snow and see if I can manage my speed," said Richard, adding that most of the winter sports are new to him and he could only see them on TV before.
Although he was a bit clumsy on the ice and almost lost control, Richard still managed to win the sled race with his team.
"By organizing this fun winter sports meeting, we want students to exercise more and pay attention to strengthen physical health, and also enhance their group cohesion," said Ma. "We hope they can know more about winter sports, China and Chinese culture."
After two rounds of sliding on the snow tube, 23-year-old Chand Anandhika from Fiji couldn't have been more excited. It was also her first time to be so close to ice and snow during her five-year period studying in China.
"I didn't have a clue about four seasons until I came to China. Before I saw snow by myself, I always thought it was blue," she said. "That's why I would describe the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as pure white and clear blue, and I really wish I could have the chance to be at the scene when it starts."
"I would use the color red. For me red signifies prosperity, success and general happiness and looking at the people within China, even internationals in China, we are all happy," said Davis Munashe, Chand's teammate from Zimbabwe.
Davis has also tried many winter sports, especially skating and skiing. "They are not as easy as I thought, but all the same, very exciting and very interesting," he said.
Learning that Beijing 2022 would start right after the Chinese Spring Festival, Davis gave his best wishes in front of the camera.
"I think this will be a good time for them to host the Olympics. Because in China, the Spring Festival represents togetherness, friendship, happiness and allows people to be together as one. I believe hosting the Olympics will coincide with that," said Davis.
Seeing children running in the snow, and hearing their laughs, Richard felt great enthusiasm and passion for winter sports. "Exercise helps us maintain physical health, and winter sports help us challenge the cold and also ourselves. As is said in the slogan 'together for a shared future,' I wish all the athletes a good performance at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics," said Richard.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service