Chinese Language Learning Fever at Goethe University Frankfurt Adds Warmth to this Golden Autumn
— Highlights of the 2011 Autumn HSK at the Confucius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt

[Source]     [Time]    2011-11-11 15:41:23 

On October 23, the sky over Frankfurt was azure blue, lightly dotted with just a few thin clouds. The streets were cold and empty, just like any other autumn Sunday in Germany. But inside the main building of the Westend Campus of Goethe University Frankfurt, long queues stretched through the building. Examining the scene more closely, one would realize that this was because the Confucius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt was welcoming the 2011 Autumn Chinese Proficiency Test, or HSK for short. Two Directors of the Institute, Ms. Wang Weimeng and Professor Zhao Lanliang, were present at the site and led their colleagues in registering examinees, checking their paperwork and directing them to the examination rooms. After registering, every examinee received a warm and friendly cheer of "Good Luck!" or "Viel Erfolg!" Test proctors waited for candidates at the designated examination rooms, test papers in hand. Some examinees looked unperturbed, some quietly reviewed their study materials, while others were cheered up by words of encouragement from friends and family members accompanying them. The youngest attendees were secondary school students while the oldest were retirees who had taken an interest in Chinese language learning after retirement.

Soon, the first examination began. In an instant, the spacious corridors were empty, with only a few of the examinees' escorts and some examinees who had come too early for the next exam remaining. Everything went well in the examination room. The test proctors read out the examination rules in both Chinese and German, after which candidates hurriedly began to answer questions.

In the HSK Level 4 examination room, examinees were writing Chinese characters stroke by stroke. In Level 4 of the HSK, examinees are not only required to recognize Chinese characters, but also to reorganize sentences and describe pictures by creating entire sentences. After reaching the writing section, some candidates began to proceed more slowly in recording their answers. But this slowing of the pace doesn't necessarily mean they were stuck or unable to answer. The Chinese characters were neatly and carefully displayed on the test papers, which can be attributed to their long-term earnest efforts in learning and practicing Chinese.

The test quickly came to an end, as though in the blink of an eye. Test proctors began to collect the answer sheets and test papers starting from the first row. Some examinees wore a peaceful expression; some happily packed their bags while others scratched their heads and sighed; some double checked the number on their answer sheets before the proctors arrived to collect their test papers......After finishing collecting the test papers, test monitors asked examinees their feelings about the test with a smile. Most of them said the test is at an appropriate level while only a few complacently claimed "It's easy and simple." After taking the HSK Level 1 test, a freshman from a non-Chinese major asked a test proctor whether he could skip a level in taking the exam. After hearing that this was possible, he said happily, "if I had known earlier, I would have taken Level 2! Next May, I am going to take Level 3!"

Looking at the smiles on the examinees' relaxed faces and watching them leave the examination room, associates at the Confucius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt smiled and thought to themselves "all their hard work has been worthwhile!"

By Jiang Yuheng