First US Confucius Institutes Alumni Trip to China Rounds off

[Source]    Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) [Time]    2018-12-20 14:48:14 

From December 1st to 9th, the delegation of the first US Confucius Institutes Alumni Trip to China organized by the Confucius Institute US Center visited Beijing and Chengdu. In Beijing, the delegates listened to international students in Beijing Language and Culture University share their study experience in China. They also had a get-together with their teachers from the Confucius Institutes in the United States. In Chengdu, they made friends with students from Chengdu Tanghu Foreign Languages School by attending their classes and having interactions. During their stay in local families in Chengdu, they experienced the life of ordinary Chinese people. They also went to some local communities to do hand work as well as sang and danced with the senior citizens there. Besides, they visited Chengdu Research Base of Giant Pandas, Dujiangyan, an ancient irrigation system, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. This visit acquainted them with Chinese culture.

The members for this event were top students selected from the past three annual meetings of the Confucius Institute US Center from 2016 to 2018. They are from different regions with various backgrounds, with the eldest one 76 years old and the youngest only 12 years old.

On December 4th, the delegates participated in the 13th World Confucius Institute Conference in Chengdu, in which Dennis Delehenty, a student from the Confucius Institute at George Mason University, and Kamila Carter, a student from the Confucius Classroom of the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University, delivered speeches at the opening ceremony.

Delehenty said, “I set up a reading club of Chinese literature under the support of the Confucius Institute at George Mason University, in which members can learn Chinese culture through Chinese literary classics. Chinese often say ‘True friends feel close to each other even when they are separated by vast distance’. My daughter used to study in China with the support of the Confucius Institute’s scholarship. My family and I truly value our friendship with Chinese people, and we believe that this friendship will be handed down from generation to generation. For us, the Confucius Institute means opportunity, motivation and wealth, and bridges for communication. I hope that more and more youngsters will attend their local Confucius Institutes to get to know China through learning Chinese language and culture and to work together for a brighter future.”

Kamila Carter said, “Although my parents have problems with their hearing, they strongly support me in my foreign language studies. Teachers of the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University help me a lot. They teach me Chinese and Chinese sign language so that I could communicate with some Chinese friends who have the same hearing problems as my parents. They constantly encourage me to overcome difficulties and embrace every day. I have seen many people with similar difficulties as my parents being offered with generous help from the Confucius Institutes. By learning Chinese, I’ve become more confident. I hope to be an ambassador in China-US cultural exchanges in future. The Confucius Institute is a big family in which everyone can make new friends and acquire new knowledge.”

On December 9th, the delegation visited the Confucius Institute Headquarters and held a symposium at which the members shared their feelings of and gains from the visit. Monika Hoffarth-Zelloe, a German-American who has been working for a long time at the Goethe Institute, said that the Confucius Institute and Goethe Institute are both successful language institutions dedicated to promoting exchanges and friendship between peoples from different countries. Douglas McDonald, the oldest member and a retired federal judge, said, “In my seventies, I determined to challenge myself by learning Chinese at the Confucius Institute. My teachers’ concept of teaching without distinction inspires me to learn Chinese culture further.” Amelia Engstrom, a junior high school student, said, “I am a Chinese-American. The Confucius Institute closely connects me with my root. Without it, I could not possibly find my Chinese traditions as a descendent of Yan Emperor and Huang Emperor. This visit has widened my horizon, and I will work harder on learning Chinese. I hope I will come back soon.” All the members agreed that they gained a lot from the visit and, on the basis of their learning experience at the Confucius Institute, this visit deepened their understanding of China, where they experienced the charm of Chinese culture and the hospitality of the Chinese people. They will share their experiences, feelings and thoughts of the visit with their relatives, friends, teachers and classmates after going back to the US to help more Americans understand and support the work of the Confucius Institute.


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