First French HSK Exhibition of Studying and Working in China Kicks off in Paris

[Source] [Time]    2018-06-14 11:45:15 

On the 9th, local time, the First French Exhibition of Chinese Proficiency Test (hereinafter referred to as HSK) of Studying and Working in China kicked off in Paris. The exhibition was hosted by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), organized by French Chinese Language Teachers Association (AFPC, Association Française des Professeurs de Chinois), and co-organized by the Education Office of the Chinese Embassy in France and the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO, Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales). INALCO, as the HSK test site and exhibition venue, saw many Chinese learners, HSK candidates and parents of candidates.

The First French HSK Exhibition of Studying and Working in China attracted many Chinese learners. Two students from Lille in France consulting in front of the Wuhan University exhibition booth

On the morning of the 9th, when the HSK candidates were writing in the amphitheatre, the outside of the classroom was another lively spot. A delegation of 14 top Chinese universities including Peking University, Beijing Normal University, Renmin University of China, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Wuhan University, and Jilin University has begun to provide counseling about studying in China and related courses for the first batch of students. As the exams of candidates came to an end, the exhibition sites became very popular. Every university exhibition stand was crowded with a continuous stream of students, parents and teachers for counseling. It is reported that the number of people who participated in the HSK test and Exhibition of Studying and Working in China reached more than 1,500, registering all-time high in France and Europe. More than 1,300 French students participated in the HSK, which is the largest single HSK test in history.

Principals of foreign student recruitment at Jilin University helping a French student fill out the information sheet

The opening ceremony was presided over by Joel Bellassen, a renowned French sinologist, the first Inspector General of Chinese Language Teaching at the French Ministry of Education and the AFPC Chairman. “Chinese teaching has been promoted for a long time in France and it also assumes an important position in French education.” said Yang Jin, Minister Counselor of the Education Office of the Chinese Embassy in France, in the opening ceremony. As early as 1814, Institut de France had Sinology teachers; in 1840, INALCO opened Chinese courses. The French Ministry of Education also sets up a position called Inspector General of Chinese Language Teaching, and there are also 5 to 6 Inspectors of Chinese Language Teaching in local regions to promote Chinese across France. In Europe, France is the first country to include Chinese into its national educational system, where the teaching level of Chinese is among the top rank.

Yang Jin, Minister Counselor of the Education Office of the Chinese Embassy in France, addressing the opening ceremony

Yang said, in just a couple of years, the promotion of Chinese has made remarkable achievements. There are 16 Confucius Institutes and 110,000 people learning Chinese in France. In the international class of France, Chinese ranks the fifth among the foreign languages following English, German, Spanish, and Italian. Yang expressed his gratitude to the various agencies and personnel for their efforts in promoting Chinese.

INALCO has the largest Department of Sinology in France, with 800 to 900 students, including bachelors, masters, and PhDs. Not only is the language taught in the Department of Sinology, but it also offers various majors in Chinese, such as History, Geography, Literature and Philosophy. In recent years, INALCO has signed protocols for exchanges and studies with 9 universities in China, with many students going to China for internships. Jérôme Samuel, Vice President of INALCO, said that as an excellent teaching base of Chinese, INALCO is much honored to hold the First HSK Exhibition of Studying and Working in China. It’s believed that the event will advance the exchanges between Chinese learners in France and Chinese universities.

Eva (second right), who speaks Chinese fluently, is a volunteer for the booth of Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) and once studied in SISU for one semester. Eva introducing SISU’s foreign student programs for French students

In front of the booth of Nanjing University, a French student asking for information

Besides, the opening ceremony was attended by nearly 200 people, including Catherine Capdeville-Zeng, Director of the Department of Sinology at INALCO, Zhu Ruiping, Executive Dean of College of Chinese Language and Culture at Beijing Normal University, Liu Xiaolong, Representative of Chinese Testing International Co., Ltd. of Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), and representatives of universities participating in the exhibition, relative French universities, and China and French entrepreneurs.

During the exhibition, the reporter came across Jean Bensaid, a teacher at a French university who had talked with foreign student enrollment officers from 14 universities. He hoped that he could accumulate reference materials about studying in China for his students.

“There are so many fields for France and China to cooperate in, such as science & technology, culture and economy. Studying in China can bring the students plenty of opportunities.” As a French language teacher, Bensaid shows lively interest in China, and thus greatly hopes that students can learn Chinese well and know more about China. Jean-Pierre Lorenzati, President of France Chine Asie Education (FCAE), attending the exhibition, shares the same view. Aiming at providing assistance to schools teaching Chinese language in France, FCAE commits itself to promoting Chinese language in France, for example, it holds the Symposium on Chinese Teaching, and helps to establish cooperation relations between schools in France and China. “These universities on the exhibition are very excellent, and they can provide study opportunities for French students in many majors.” Lorenzati told the reporter that information communication is primary. We mainly want to obtain information of the universities on exhibition and offer it to the member schools of FCAE, so that they can know about the opportunities Chinese universities offered to French students, benefiting the cooperation in the future between the two sides.

A local Chinese language teacher consulting at the exhibition stand of Beijing Normal University

Besides offering overseas education consultation, many excellent enterprises including Huawei, China Eastern Airlines, China Mobile, Beijing Capital Group amd China International Intellectech Corporation, as well as programs including Thousand Talents Program for China-France internship were invited to the exhibition, offering an employment and internship platform for Chinese learners in France and making Chinese learning a golden key to foreign students’ career development. Sun Tingguang, principal of MandarinEdu, the organizer of the Thousand Talents Program for China-France internship is implemented, told the reporter that Chinese government offered great convenience in regard of visa. The agency helps more than two hundred French students to come to China for internship, and it hopes to provide opportunities of internship in France for more Chinese students in the future, so as to promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two counties.

It is reported that in 2017 China had become the largest destination country for overseas study in Asia and the third largest one in the world. The number of international students in China continues to rise. There are about 490 thousand foreign students studying in China’s universities and colleges in 2017. For more than a decade, under the promotion of Confucius Institute, there has been an increasingly rising wave of learning Chinese in Europe and the world. With the number of French leaning Chinese continues to rise, Chinese learners in Confucius Institute surges. There are more than 5,000 people taking various Chinese language tests including HSK for three consecutive years. More and more French youth choose to learn Chinese, study in China and work in Chinese enterprises.

(Story and photos by Gong Ming,, Paris, June 9th)

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