Overseas youth visit to sate hunger for culture

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Navigating through the timeless beauty of a traditional Chinese garden, a group of overseas Chinese students set out on an exciting cultural journey in the heart of Beijing.

Ranging from 6 to 24 years of age, these students came with an array of passionate interests. Some love calligraphy, some are skilled in Chinese painting, and others enjoy performing traditional Chinese music. However, what's common among most of them is that their journey into the heart of traditional Chinese culture began at an early age.

"This is the first time my daughter has visited Beijing, and she has been looking forward to climbing the Great Wall and savoring some traditional snacks," said Wu Rongjing from Australia, who is the mother of a 6-year-old named Dorothy Wanyue Lin. "We used to point out Beijing's location to her on the map, but now she can see the ancient and modern aspects of Beijing with her own eyes, which deepens her understanding of China."

When it comes to nurturing children's interests and knowledge about traditional Chinese culture, parents have various options.

Chenshen Huang from New Zealand said that her two sons have been interested in music since childhood.

"They tried learning the piano but eventually chose the Chinese traditional instruments erhu and yangqin, and they've dedicated themselves to learning these instruments ever since," she said.

During the learning process, these children have not only honed their musical talents but have also become fully absorbed in the enchanting melodies of traditional Chinese folk music, Huang said.

"This goes beyond just learning music; it's a profound experience that connects them to the roots of Chinese culture," she said.

Apart from the home environment, Chinese schools also serve as crucial means for overseas Chinese youth to understand and perpetuate traditional Chinese culture.

Liu Yan, who teaches at a Chinese-language school in London, said that when designing Chinese-language courses, teachers always uphold the principles of inheriting and promoting the spirit of Chinese culture.

To make the classes more appealing, Liu said she often guides the students through the recitation of classical poems.

Although the children may not fully comprehend classical Chinese poetry and literary works, delving into the study of traditional Chinese culture allows them to gain a clearer understanding of their Chinese roots, Liu said. "Providing opportunities for students to attend summer camps in their home country also helps them develop a connection with Chinese culture," she added.

Ningxinzi Yang, a student at Liu's school, has attended the traditional Chinese painting class since last year. "The experience of learning Chinese painting brings me a sense of ease," the 11-year-old said.

Before traveling to China, Yang created a traditional Chinese painting depicting the grandeur of the Great Wall, the solemnity of the Forbidden City, the elegance of plum blossoms and the contemporary essence of the Bird's Nest stadium.

The fusion of these ancient and modern elements in her artwork reflects her profound admiration for Chinese culture. Fourteen-year-old Weihan Li from Japan said, "In school, we learn about Chinese history and geography, and we also have the opportunity to participate in various extracurricular activities such as tea art, martial arts and Peking opera."

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