Newsletter: Walking into the Confucius Institute on the Bank of Volga
Volgograd is a heroic city in Russia where the famous Battle of Stalingrad took place. The ancient Volga River nurtured the Russian nation and witnessed the introduction of Chinese culture to Russia. In 2010, when Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University and Tianjin Foreign Studies University established the Confucius Institute, the two great nations began to know each other.
On Mar. 2nd, at Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University, a student of the Confucius Institute reading Chinese dialogues.
For more than seven years, the Confucius Institute has not only provided chances for people in Volgograd and the southern part of Russia to learn Chinese and know more about China, but also become an important platform for local people and young students to understand contemporary China.
On Mar. 2nd, at Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University, two students of the Confucius Institute making a presentation in Chinese on their learning experiences in China.
According to Ning Huaiying, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute, more than 40 cultural activities involving over 3500 participants have been held by the institute. Whether Chinese culture lectures, Chinese culture weeks, food festivals or Chinese art performances all enjoy great popularity. In addition, the institute has sent 20 outstanding students to participate the summer camp at Tianjin Foreign Studies University, which further stimulated local students’ enthusiasm in learning Chinese and understanding China.
On Mar. 2nd, at Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University, Ning Huaiying (right), Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute, and Bakumova, Russian Director of the Confucius Institute presiding over an inter-university exchange symposium.
Sabina, who just finished the four-month inter-university exchange in Tianjin this January, said that she has improved her Chinese and known more about the Chinese culture because of her experience in China. She still misses the life in China though she has returned to Russia now. “Chinese food has won my heart,” she said with a big smile.
In recent years, the demand for Chinese instruction in Volgograd region has been constantly growing. In the past five years, the enrollment number of Chinese-English major of Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University has increased from less than 80 to more than 150.
On Mar. 2nd, Telnikowa (right), a teacher of the Confucius Institute teaching Chinese at Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University.
Bakumova, Russian Director of Confucius Institute, said there is increasing appeal from parents of primary and middle school students for starting Chinese courses and providing additional Chinese classes because they believe that mastering Chinese means a promising career and future, and it has a positive impact on their children.
Under the joint efforts of Chinese and Russian faculties, the Confucius Institute at Volgograd pursues innovation and openness in operation and gradually pushes forward joint talent training. Apart from training Chinese tour guides by cooperating with the Tourism Association and tourism companies in Volgograd, the institute has also established a long-term cooperation relationship with a local leisure shopping center－“Watercolor”.
On Mar. 2nd, students at the Confucius Institute of Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University taking a Chinese class.
In 2016, the institute held the “Chinese Year” activity at the “Watercolor” leisure shopping center for the first time. During the Spring Festival this year, the institute initiated a class of visual arts for locals to experience Chinese culture. Chinese ink paintings, fan paintings and paintings of Peking opera facial masks brought lively Chinese culture to the Russian children and their parents.
“The children showed great interest when they were learning and drawing,” Ning said, “such vivid and lively creative activities with high interactivity have attracted widespread attention from local students, parents and the communities.”
On Mar. 2nd, Sergeyev, Rector of Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University, giving an interview to Xinhua News Agency in Volgograd, Russia.
Sergeyev, Rector of Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University, said that with its strong economic development momentum, China’s major country status has captured worldwide attention. Aiming at educational cooperation and cultural exchanges and upholding spirits of openness and cooperation, the Confucius Institute not only spreads Chinese culture, but also respects the culture and traditions of other countries. Russia will continue to strengthen its cooperation with China’s Hanban and Confucius Institutes and promote mutually beneficial cooperation and common development in all areas between the two countries through cultural exchanges.
As the song goes, “The ice and snow covers the Volga. There are a troikas running on the glacier”. Once upon a time, the song “Song of the Volga Boatman” was quite popular in China. Now, China’s image created by the Confucius Institute takes root on the bank of Volga. When cultures and hearts integrate, the flower of China-Russia friendship and cooperation will blossom everywhere.
(Story by Wei Lianglei, Photos by Bai Xueqi, Xinhua News Agency, Volgograd, Russia, Mar. 4th)