From hearing her speak, it would be impossible to tell the child reciting the ancient Chinese poem is a foreigner.
Seven-year-old Fatemeh Nozzari Varkani participated in the reading and reciting ancient poetry competition at the No 3 Primary School of Heping District in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province.
The poem she chose was "Overview the Lushan Waterfall'' by Li Bai (701-762).
Fatemeh's parents are both foreigners. Her mother, Suzaane Scruggs is from the United States while her father, Manouchehr Nozzari Varkani is from Iran.
But for them, China is not only the place where they met but also the place where their dreams came true.
They run a language center here that has more than 1,000 students and is one of the most famous in Shenyang.
"I like China. I like teaching here and I want my children to be educated here because China still has a good moral system," said Suzaane. Suzaane and her husband plan to educate all their children in China.
The Varkanis are not the only foreign family in Shenyang. More and more foreigners are moving here and sending their children to local schools.
Statistics from the local education bureau show that the number of international students has doubled to 500-plus this year, most from Japan, South Korea and the United States.
"More and more foreigners come here with the increase of foreign direct investment. Many of them bring their children here after they get to know China," said Zhao Hui from the international communication office of Shenyang Education Bureau.
Most of these children end up studying Chinese language and culture.
International students can apply to Chinese universities after they finish senior high school, said Zhao.
In fact, China has issued a regulation that asks all key universities to allow up to 5 percent of their education system to be made up of international students.
"I think this is good for both sides. My child lives in this open environment that could help him develop an international outlook. On the other hand the outside may get to know China better," said one mother. Her eight-year-old boy is Fatemah's classmate.
"This is where my home and my work are. I am Chinese even though I have not the official certificate. We will stay here as long as I can," said Varkani.
(China Daily October 26, 2004)