“Speak Chinese, Double Your World”

[Source]    people.com.cn [Time]    2019-08-22 08:51:51 

On August 11th, the Second Symposium on China-India Exchange and Cooperation in Language Education was held in Beijing, themed as “Innovative Development of China-India Language Education”. Experts from both China and India gathered to discuss new ideas and methods for language education exchanges and cooperation between China and India in the context of economic globalization and cultural diversity. In response, people.com.cn had an exclusive interview with the Registrar of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) Y.S.R Murthy and representatives of outstanding teaching faculty and students from India on the educational and cultural exchanges between China and India.

Mr. Murthy first presented the achievements of China-India educational exchanges in JGU. JGU now has about 4,300 students, 14 China-India research centers and has established partnerships with 23 Chinese universities. In addition, JGU has set up a mechanism for communication of students and teaching faculty, and regularly participates in conferences and seminars. The China-India research centers have held many exchange activities between the two countries which have yielded fruitful results.

Y.S.R. Murthy and outstanding Indian students studying Chinese said that the communication of Chinese culture in India is in full swing, and they look forward to more opportunities in the future to push bilateral language and cultural cooperation and exchanges to a new level and make new contributions to friendly relations between the two countries.

“What’s More Difficult Than Learning Chinese Is Teaching It.”

Meili, an Indian teacher at the Confucius Institute at University of Mumbai

Meili, the Chinese name of this lively and cheerful Indian girl Shikha Pandey

In her third year of college, she got to know Chinese by accident and was deeply fascinated by the charm of Chinese characters. So she came to China to learn Chinese after graduation. In 2003, she came to Tianjin University of Technology for the first time to study Chinese, and then received her Master’s degree in MTCSOL (Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages) in 2017 from Tianjin Normal University.

Although Meili is now fluent and excellent in Chinese, she recalled that when she first came to China, she found that Chinese and foreigners still spoke different languages even she had a certain Chinese foundation. At that time, she felt upset that she was making slow progress in learning Chinese so that she was reluctant to chat with others. Meili smiled and said, “It took me a long time to gather myself up again, thanks to the help from my teachers and friends in terms of education and personality, so that I could better adapt to the life in China.”

She has been teaching Chinese to Indian students at the Confucius Institute at the University of Mumbai for five years after graduation. She said that in 2013, the number of people learning Chinese in India was relatively small, but now the number is increasing. What’s more difficult than learning Chinese, she laughs, is teaching it. She said that Chinese is so extensive and profound that students often have problems learning Chinese characters. For example, little opportunities do they have to chat with native Chinese speakers, practice Chinese and improve their oral Chinese. While students and courses are increasing, they are faced with the problems of insufficient textbooks, teaching materials and classrooms.

But Meili told the journalist that the situation is increasingly getting better. Teaching approach is adjusted for these Indian students who do not understand Chinese customs and culture. For example, they don’t have a clear concept of the Great Wall for they have never been to this place in person. Then they are asked to use Chinese to describe Indian cities. And students don’t have chance to make Chinese friends, so the school has also arranged Chinese summer camps and other activities, all of which come from people from all walks of life in the school and society who are committed to developing friendly cultural exchanges and people-to-people friendship between China and India. After students have learned Chinese, they also want to come to China and continue their study. She sincerely hoped that the Chinese language can spread better in Mumbai and the relations between China and India can grow more vibrant.

“With Rapid Economic Development, It Is Amazing that China Still Keeps Traditional Culture Alive.”

Aide, an India student at Jawaharlal Nehru University

Aide, who has been the host of the Symposium for two times, delivering a punch line using Chinese idioms

Speaking of his understanding of traditional Chinese culture, Aide recalled that he participated in the “Chinese Bridge” Competition organized by Hunan Satellite TV in 2013 and said, “That was the first time that I visited China, to see it for myself. Since then, my impression of China has totally changed.” He also said that he has made great progress in learning Chinese culture and knowledge of all aspects. For example, Chinese people use idioms and sayings in daily life, which can hardly be found in textbooks. He especially noted that he found traditional culture well-preserved by Chinese people after he came to China, which shall be something everyone admires.

Aide has witnessed the rapid development of China. He came to China in 2014 for the second time and experienced a long time of learning Chinese in Beijing Language and Culture University. He said that China had just launched 4G service, and Alipay, WeChat had just come to market at that time. It was very convenient to surf the Internet and make payments using mobile phone. China’s Internet development in recent years impresses the world.

A wave of “Chinese heat” has emerged around the world including India. There is a saying in Chinese: “Learn Chinese, double your world.” “When I first learned Chinese, take a simple example, we only have 23 students in class, and now I occasionally teach Chinese for my tutor in the first grade of Jawaharlal Nehru University and I notice that they have over 60 students in one grade. In the past ten years, the number of students learning Chinese has tripled,” Aide said, “The 21st century is an era for both China and India and for the rise of Asia.”

“China has the largest population in the world and India ranks second. If the people in two countries have more mutual understanding and learn each other’s language, the whole world would become a family,” said Aide passionately. Both China and India are ancient civilizations with a history of about two thousand years of cultural exchanges. In ancient times, it was convenient to communicate without borders. Many monks came to India on foot. For example, Xuanzang came to India during the Tang dynasty, and many Indian monks such as Bodhidharma also came to China. From the perspective of modern history, there are also many people who came to China as representatives and ambassadors of Indian and Chinese culture, such as Rabindranath Tagore and Indian doctor Kwarkanath S.Kotnis. Although modern technology has made great progress, Aide firmly believes that through Chinese education in India, more Indians will know more about China and more students will learn Chinese, speak Chinese, and then have the opportunity to come to China. The exchanges and development of Chinese films, Chinese Kungfu and Tai Chi in India will also attract more Indians to China.

In the interview, Mr. Murthy talked about his expectations towards cultural exchanges between China and India. He told the journalist that he is looking forward to deepen cooperation in the coming years, solve the problems and shortcomings of the current Chinese language communication in India, and further implement the work of the China-India research center. On the one hand, it is hoped that China-India cultural exchanges in Chinese language schools in India and China, can better enhance the understanding and economic cooperation between China and India. On the other hand, we also help students to learn the language and participate in interest groups to prepare them for jobs in the context of globalization.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of China. Mr. Murthy also extended his best wishes in the interview, “The 70th anniversary of the founding of China is a very important milestone. I am the Registrar of JGU and also one of its 450 teaching faculty. On behalf of JGU, I would like to extend our greetings and best wishes to the 70th anniversary. We hope that this celebration will further strengthen the cooperation and understanding between the Chinese and Indian people.”

(Story by intern Ma Lianghui, intern Huang Xiaoman, He Zhuoyan, people.co)

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