Adam Daniel Breuer-Zehevi is always motivated to get to his Chinese literature class on time.
"I have a business plan in Beijing, and Chinese language study is my final preparation before I open my translation company next year," the 28-year-old said.
Wearing a red shirt and jeans, Breuer-Zehevi looks like a typical foreign student at the School of Chinese Language and Literature under Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).
This brilliant language student can conduct simultaneous interpreting in five languages: English, French, Hungarian, Hebrew and Chinese.
As a Hungarian Israeli, he was born in Israel but has lived in Hungary for 14 years and is already running a translation agency there.
Breuer-Zehevi studied Chinese in the Confucius Institute at Eotvos Lorand University from 2009 to 2010, and his passion for modern Chinese literature and history drove him to continue studying Chinese at BFSU.
"I can't wait to see what the real China and its people look like in the 21st century," Breuer-Zehevi said. "Chinese people are more open nowadays, money-oriented and hardworking.
"More and more Chinese have overseas experience; but they are still proud to be Chinese."
Breuer-Zehevi is among 1,500 overseas students at BFSU this year, an increase of 500 on the record number in 2008, according to Chen Yulu, the university president.
This year, South Korea has the most overseas students at the university, followed by Japan, Malaysia and Italy.
"We also enroll a lot of students from less-developed countries who have scholarships funded by the Chinese government," Chen said. "In China, only BFSU has the teaching and research resources of some less commonly taught languages, so students from these countries prefer our university."
Chen said the university plans to attract more students from Western countries for degree studies and foreign officials for short-term programs. "For overseas students who have difficulty speaking Chinese, we might start them off with courses taught in their native languages," he said.
"We also welcome overseas students who have learned some Chinese in our overseas Confucius Institutes and want to further their study in Beijing."
Edo Miyuki, a 22-year-old Japanese woman, the four-year Chinese course at BFSU should enable her to find a lucrative job in tourism management in Tokyo next year. "More Chinese are visiting Tokyo every year, and Japanese who can speak fluent Chinese are popular in the tourism employment market," she said.
"It's not an expensive investment for a Japanese family to support their children to study at Chinese universities, and I don't need a part-time job."
Edo said some of her friends chose to study in Beijing for various reasons, such as being in the city during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
(China Daily September 20, 2011)