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Foreign Students Get Culture at a Discount
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In a special initiative to mark International Museum Day foreign students visiting the National Museum of China in Beijing will enjoy significant savings with the purchase of a new annual pass. 

The pass will allow students to enjoy unlimited admission to all temporary exhibitions in the museum as well as a permanent showing of especially collected treasures, it was explained by the museum at a press conference yesterday.

Discounts will also be offered on students' participation in museum activities such as lectures and organized trips, said Li Wei, secretary-general of the museum's membership club.

"The pass is available exclusively to foreign students in China," she said. "As the national museum we feel obligated to do more to promote Chinese culture and history to foreigners, especially the young."

Costing 60 yuan (US$7.5) the pass will allow students to enjoy about 20 exhibitions this year. "If students buy tickets for each event they'd pay about 600 yuan (US$75) in total," Li said.

The lectures are mainly on Chinese culture, history and archaeology but there are also exhibitions on foreign cultures. Two trips are scheduled to visit ethnic minorities in southwest China and archaeological remains in central China.

"Students with the pass will enjoy discounts on lecture tickets and travel fees but we haven't decided how much the discounts will be," Li said.

Students are advised to contact their university's international office if they want to buy the pass. And Li said they had informed almost every school in Beijing with foreign students of the scheme.  It's also possible to buy a pass from the museum.

To provide a better service to foreign visitors the museum, which is located on the east side of Tian'anmen Square, say they'll welcome foreign volunteers who could work as interpreters in their spare time.

"Volunteers should be able to speak moderate Chinese and a foreign language," Li said. "Though most of our exhibitions have English explanations some visitors still find it difficult to understand."

Foreign students warmly welcomed the museum's scheme. Sam Gor, a US student at Beijing Language and Culture University, said he was very glad that he would have more chances to catch a glimpse of Chinese culture.

"Most international students come to China for its culture and history," he said. "I will definitely visit the museum."

(China Daily May 18, 2006)

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