Chinese lecturers foster China-Namibia friendship through language

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Chinese lecturers at the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia carry on China-Namibia friendship through language teaching.

Ji Qingfen, a Chinese lecturer at the institute, always aspired to share linguistic skills with the global community.

"It is an unforgettable experience teaching in a country so far away from my homeland. Feeling a quite distinctive culture, meeting with the international students and teaching them our language," she said.

She is not the only one. Yang Yujiao has taught Chinese language at the institute since July 2019.

"Teaching the Chinese language is a great experience, and I enjoy the process very much," Yang said.

The lecturers' efforts are bearing fruits, successively breaking cultural and social barriers. Encounters are reflected in trust and respect for the Chinese lecturers.

"When I walked into the classroom, my students said to me 'Ms Yang, hello' in Chinese and when I walked on campus, my students introduced to others: 'Look, this is my Chinese teacher'. I feel delighted and proud. This is my highlight moment," she said.

Ji's highlights of teaching career in Namibia are also demonstrated in progress and encounters interacting with students.

"I am happy when students make progress daily and strive to be fluent in Chinese in my class. I heard them singing Chinese song. This is evident that they are keen to know more about a true China," Ji added.

Another lecturer, Lu Bo, is most proud when a new student reads dialogues proficiently.

"I also ask them to teach their family or friend to make sure they master what they had leant," Lu said.

Ultimately, more locals take an increasing interest in the Chinese language, offered online since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The institute had registered about 52 students in the first semester of 2021.

According to Ji, despite challenges posed by online learning, lecturers apply strategic learning interventions to retain students, strengthening the friendship between China and Namibia.

Plans are also underway to incorporate Chinese language into the Namibian curriculum.

In the interim, the lecturers hope to deliver exceptional language education to empower locals and expand Chinese language teaching amid growing interest.

"I plan to find ways to increase the communication between my students and me as well as help them pass this year's Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK)," added Yang.

Zhang Fan, who served as director of the Confucius Institute until June this year, said that language is a key to letting more people understand each other.

"I hope the Chinese language teaching in Namibia will develop well to enhance the understanding and friendship between Namibia and China," he said in an interview before his departure. 

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