Thank You, Confucius Institute!
Dear Teacher Cui,
Today I’ve finally written this mail which I have planned to send to you for such a long time. I want to thank you before finishing my career as a Chinese student.
I would like to first thank the Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland for aiding me in my Chinese learning. I have benefitted from the many means by which it has helped me. It is my recollection that in Dec. 2008, I was introduced to a delegation from Suzhou, who at the time were on an exchange program in Maryland. When my company learnt that they were interested in environmental protection I later came up with the idea of going to work in China– as an environmental engineer. I knew that environmental problems exist in China, so I thought that we should establish an office in China. For this reason I wished to learn Chinese and began to search for a Chinese school. Naturally the University of Maryland was my first choice as it was my former school. I found out that there was a special program offered by the Confucius Institute and I made phone call in application for it. Shortly after in January 2009 I began an intensive Chinese course. There were a variety of students in the class: undergraduate students on their winter holidays, businessmen, college teachers and even parents wanting to understand more about their children. Our class was interesting. We studied Chinese for two hours every week day learning the fundamentals of Chinese, particularly how to spell and how to write. We made rapid progress in the first a few weeks. Teachers and staff of the Confucius Institute always took good care of us and did their best to make sure that our studies were successful. Rebecca McGinnis and your good self impressed me most; the two of you organized our class, encouraged us, offered consultation, friendship and even invited us to watch the Chinese Spring Festival Gala in Washington DC. We had a very good time at the Confucius Institute! Without even realizing I finished the winter, spring and summer semesters and my Chinese proficiency went from strength to strength. Later on I applied for a scholarship to study in China and I was fortunate to receive a chance to further my Chinese studies in prestigious Nankai University.
Secondly, I wish to thank the Confucius Institute for giving me the opportunity to study Chinese in China and learn about China. Although my Chinese proficiency is still not great I was glad to study in Nankai, otherwise I could not have embarked upon my career in China. Here, not only did I learn Chinese, but I also learnt about China and made friends with many people who have assisted me in my work in China. Who would have imagined that my new assistant is a M.A. in statistics from Nankai with whom I met when I was studying in Nankai.
It was not until I came to Nankai that I realized that the Confucius Institutes have helped students of different nationalities to study Chinese and become friends. There are students from South America, North America, Europe as well as Africa.
My life in Tianjin was totally different from that in the US. My Chinese proficiency improved dramatically through the two semesters studying in Nankai. Although it will still take many more years to become fluent, I have no problem living in China without assistance now. This is also the reason why my company decided setup an office in China and appoint me as office head. My success lies in my learning experience at the Confucius Institute. I must recognize that it is the Confucius Institute that offered me this chance.
I will recommend the Confucius Institute to anyone who wishes to learn Chinese; in particular businessmen and those without the opportunity to take credit courses in college: for them the Confucius Institute is the best choice.
I will head back to the US and stay for about a week. I would love to meet up with you sometime during that period.
I remember that you always said that you hope to read a letter from me in Chinese. It took me 3 hours to write this letter today: of course one of my teachers gave me a hand. I honestly would never have imagined that one day I would write a letter in Chinese to you from China. Along with the Confucius Institute you have changed me as a person and the course of my life..I thank both you and the Confucius Institute from the bottom of my heart!
July 16th 2010 at Nankai University