Chinese Serves as Bridge for Exchanges and Cooperation(Consultation, Contribution and Shared Benefits: Fifth Anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative)

[Source]    People’s Daily  [Time]    2018-10-12 14:08:09 

The Lao She Exhibition Hall of the Confucius Institute at Suez Canal University is the first of its kind overseas. Its Beijing hall has donated Chinese books to Suez Canal University so that Egyptian students can better learn Chinese language and culture. By Xinhua News Agency

Currently, Cairo University includes Chinese as second foreign language for students in all of its faculties, making it the first Egyptian university to do so. In recent years, with the in-depth development of the Belt and Road Initiative, there has been growing enthusiasm for learning Chinese in Egypt. More and more Egyptians believe that learning Chinese will enhance their understanding of China and bring more opportunities in the future.

“Cultivating a generation of Egyptian children who can speak Chinese and understand Chinese culture”

Hana, a student from the Department of Chinese Language at Cairo University, likes to listen to Chinese pop songs. She said that “The Ordinary Road”, “Listen to the Sea” and “Legend of the Dragon” are her favorite songs. In the classroom, teachers also help students learn Chinese by learning to sing Chinese songs.

“From Chinese songs, I can appreciate the beauty of Chinese and the life attitude of Chinese people. The lyrics of some songs are also paraphrased from verses of ancient Chinese poems, allowing me to learn Chinese traditional culture at the same time. If you understand the meaning of the lyrics, you also grasp culture. It serves two ends,” Hana said.

Hana often participates in drama classes at the Confucius Institute at Cairo University and various Chinese culture lectures organized by the Chinese Cultural Center. “Not long ago, I listened to a lecture on traditional Chinese medicine at the Chinese Cultural Center, which made me have a strong interest in traditional Chinese medicine,” Hana said excitedly, “The lecture also taught the method of acupressure of the ear. Once I had an upset stomach, I tried to do it according to this method. It really works!"

Chinese language education in Egypt is gradually extending from higher education to secondary and basic education. Previously, Chinese became the second foreign language of Egyptian middle schools. The Egypt-China Friendly Demonstration School, which was aided by China, integrates pre-school, primary and secondary education and can accommodate about 1,500 students in 42 classes. Fayza Aboul Naga, former Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Egypt, said the School can cultivate a generation of Egyptian children who can speak Chinese and understand Chinese culture. It is believed that they will make active contributions to the development of Egypt-China relations in the future. Meanwhile, some private schools in Egypt have also begun to offer Chinese courses. At the Norman Ismail School in Cairo, both primary school students in grades one to three and children in kindergarten learn Chinese.

Local Chinese schools and Confucius Institutes in Egypt often organize various cultural events such as Chinese Culture Week, Chinese Poetry Reading Competition, Chinese Song Contest in Egypt and Chinese Short Play Competition for Egyptian College Students to help Chinese learners there understand Chinese culture.

“Working hard to learn Chinese well and strive to be a messenger of Egypt-China friendship”

Elta Beka is an Egyptian student who has just returned from studying at Beijing Language and Culture University, and whose Chinese name is Zhao Wenbin. “I have been learning Chinese at the Confucius Institute at Cairo University for 3 years. I passed the HSK Level 5 and the HSK (Intermediate Level) in 2015, and received a scholarship from the Confucius Institute at Cairo University to study in China, becoming a graduate student at Beijing Language and Culture University.” Beka made many Chinese friends in China and was amazed at China’s development achievements. “With China’s economic rise, Chinese has become ever more important in the world, which has strengthened my determination to learn Chinese well.”

Beka recalls the excitement of taking the high-speed train- “Fabulous! That’s the word that can describe my feeling of taking a high-speed train for the first time—300km per hour without much noise. I was greatly impressed by the speed, punctuality and stability of China’s high-speed rail. It is a source of China’s national pride!”

Beka said: “I hope that more Egyptians can obtain access to China. I also want to introduce Egypt to Chinese friends. Egypt and China will enjoy more exchanges and cooperation on economy, culture and other aspects in the future. Therefore, I have to work hard to learn Chinese well and strive to be a messenger of Egypt-China friendship.”

Quite a few Egyptians like Beka, are eager to get to know more about China. They regard taking HSK and studying in China as a channel to realize their desires.

“China’s development experience and innovative ways are worth learning by Egypt”

The Chinese craze in Egypt is underpinned by China’s rising comprehensive national strength and influence, the increasing attraction of China to Egypt, and the rising Chinese charm. In recent years, more and more Chinese-funded enterprises have come to invest in Egypt as China and Egypt have deepened cooperation on the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. As a result, Egypt and China have constantly intensified business ties.

Chinese-funded enterprises’ demand for local employees provides more employment opportunities for local Chinese learners. Some Egyptians deliberately choose the Confucius Institutes to learn Chinese, in hopes of working at Chinese-funded enterprises. “In recent years, the demand for Chinese talents in such fields as politics, economy, education, tourism, industry and commerce in Egypt has increased,” said Yassin Taher, Governor of Egypt’s Ismailia Province, “People who can speak Chinese are the choice of employers at job fairs.”

Last April, the Confucius Institute at Suez Canal University held the First On-campus Job Fair for Chinese-funded Enterprises in Egypt, attracting hundreds of Egyptian students with 16 Chinese-funded enterprises providing 300 job opportunities involving such majors as Chinese translation, electrical engineering, civil engineering, product design, agriculture and chemistry. “China’s development experience and innovative ways are worth learning from by Egypt,” Ahmed Hassan, an Egyptian student, told journalists. “Learning Chinese culture, understanding China’s development and comprehending Chinese wisdom constitute the strongest drive for me to learn Chinese.”

Egyptians hope to board the express train of China’s development to realize common development, for which Chinese serves as a bridge for promoting exchanges and cooperation. Mohamed Farid Fouad Khamis, Chairman of Board of Trustees of British University in Egypt said that he witnessed the tremendous changes that have taken place in China over the past 40 years of reform and opening up. Chinese is the language that represents the future. If the Egyptian people want to know the secret of China’s rapid development, they must learn Chinese well.

(Story by Jing Yue, Huang Peizhao, People’s Daily, Page 3, October 9th, 2018)

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