First Portuguese-Chinese Bilingual High School in Brazil Celebrates its First Graduation Ceremony

[Source]    CRI Online [Time]    2018-01-29 17:18:10 

Portuguese-Chinese bilingual high school celebrating its first graduation ceremony

On January 19, the first Portuguese-Chinese bilingual high school in Brazil, the state high school named after Joaquim Gomes de Sousa, celebrated its first graduation ceremony. The high school was co-funded by the government of Rio de Janeiro and the Confucius Institute at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. The ceremony was held in the city council of Niteroi and altogether 44 graduates attended the ceremony. In the coming new academic year, six of them will go to China for their university education.

“We have graduated!” The young Brazilian students uttered in exclamation in Chinese as a unique way of saying farewell to their high school life. Three years ago, they were selected from more than 600 candidates and then recruited by the Portuguese-Chinese bilingual high school and were shown to a path which much differs from their peers’. During the last three years, the bilingual high school has successfully held the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for foreign high school students (Brazil) three times. The school has also sent more than 60 students to visit China and make exchanges and carried out two football summer camps with its own characteristics.

According to Tricia Sosa, President of Joaquim Gomes de Sousa High School, the students have abundant and distinctive life experiences due to their connection to China. Theresa said: “The benefit is unbelievable. Thanks to the cooperation with the Confucius Institute and efforts of all parties, students can have a taste of wonderful life experiences. Some of our students will go to China to enroll into colleges and universities and continue to learn Chinese. I believe that a bright future is in store for them here in Brazil when they come back.”

Guilherme Louis has always been looking forward to preparing for the study in China . He has already acquired a scholarship and now wishes to study Physical Education at Hebei Normal University. Guilherme was born in a poor family. It was through studying Chinese that Guilherme found a way out of those circumstances. He visited China when he was attending a football summer camp. After seeing its development and experiencing its culture, he made up his mind to study in China. Since then, he started to study hard. The teachers were so pleased to see his changes. Guilherme often tells people of how Chinese changed his life path: “Learning Chinese is very difficult, but when you are motivated, it becomes a pleasure. You do not learn Chinese just for personal development, but also for your own improvement and perfection. It can be said that through learning Chinese, I have become a better person. In the future, I will have more career choices. More importantly, my life is thereafter more meaningful and rich. No matter how hard it is, I will still have a try.”

Qiao Jianzhen presenting graduation certificates to students

Liticia Cardoso discovered early that learning Chinese would bring new opportunities. Her mother Orea Santos at first did not agree that her daughter register for examination for the Portuguese-Chinese bilingual high school because of the far distance (the round-trip takes nearly four hours) and the heavy schoolwork (the school adopts full-time education) compared to other schools. However, at that time, Liticia predictably told her mother that “Chinese is the language of the future”. Now, seeing her daughter finish her studies with distinction and set off for colleges and universities in China, Orea felt immense pride and said: “Chinese and China make my daughter’s future full of possibilities. I want her to go to China for college studies and to learn Chinese and Chinese culture better. I feel so happy and so proud that a Brazilian can have such a wonderful opportunity to be able to receive education in China.”

Since its official operation in February 2015, the Portuguese-Chinese bilingual high school has become a spotlight among students and their parents. At first the school planned to enroll 72 students and divide them into three classes. But with growing demand, the enrollment was expanded to 130 students last year. As one of the founders of the school, Qiao Jianzhen, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, hoped that in this way, the seeds of China would be planted in the hearts of Brazilian children, so as to build a solid bridge for the friendship between China and Brazil. Qiao Jianzhen said: “In Brazil, there are very few young people who really know about China. We hope that starting with these young people, we will train a group of Brazilians who really understand China and play a role in the exchanges between China and Brazil. It is presumed that after completing their bachelor’s education, the students will go on to advance onto a master’s degree and build a friendship bridge between the two countries.

According to Qiao Jianzhen, at present, an agreement has been reached between the Confucius Institute and the state government and the education department of Espírito Santo to establish a Portuguese-Chinese Bilingual School in Espírito Santo this year. In the future, the Confucius Institute will devote itself to the chain project of Portuguese-Chinese bilingual education, with the purpose of bringing Chinese to every Brazilian child, regardless of location, so that they too have the opportunity to study Chinese.

(Story by Shi Xiaomiao, CRI Online, China Radio International)


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