It's not all Chinese to res students

23 August 2010

Initiating business networks. Perhaps landing a job in the Asian powerhouse. These were among the draw cards for students attending the first Chinese language course on offer at Kopano residence recently.

The free course is offered by the Confucius Institute, launched earlier this year to teach the Chinese language and culture to UCT students.

Professor Wu Qianlong, the institute's deputy director, taught the inaugural class himself. Wu notes that they had expected around 20 students, but twice as many turned up.

They were eager and interested, Wu noted, and citing the importance of learning Chinese for business reasons (China's economy is the second biggest in the world after the United States), and a desire to teach English in China after graduation.

Clumsy pronunciations of Chinese phonetics drew some giggles, others were awed by the task of writing the characters. But in the end, they enjoyed it, said Wu.

The institute is planning to invite Chinese nationals studying at UCT to tutor and assist students in group studies, and to offer Chinese credit-bearing courses from 2011.

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