CRI on Kabul University’s Chinese Faculty: Great Opportunities

The following is a translation of a China Radio International (CRI) article published online on October 12.

These students who are reading Chinese aloud, along with their teacher, are twenty Afghan students who are currently studying in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, at Taiyuan University of Technology’s international exchange institute. Why are so many Afghan students there in Taiyuan, you may ask. Taiyuan University of Technology international exchange institute deputy Dean of Faculty, Professor Zhao Enyuan, explains: “When Afghan president Karzai visited China in 2008, the two sides signed a cultural assistance agreement which included some important content about China helping Kabul University to establish a Confucius Institute, and to build, on that foundation, Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. The Confucius Institute assigned Taiyuan University to do this work. To this end, we started running school at Kabul University in 2008, and these students enrolled in March 2010, and came [to China] in September 2011. You can say that they are third-formers, now in their sixth semester.”

跟着老师朗读汉语的同学是来自阿富汗的20位留学生,他们现就读于中国山西省太原理工大学国际交流学院。您也许会问,这么多阿富汗留学 生为何集中在太原学习中文呢?太原理工大学国际交流学院副院长赵恩源教授介绍说:“2008年阿富汗卡尔扎伊总统访问中国的时候,双方签署了一个文化援助 协议,其中一项重要内容就是中国帮助喀布尔大学建设孔子学院,并在此基础上建设喀布尔大学汉语系。太原理工大学受孔子学院总部的指派承担了这项工作。为 此,我们08年就在阿富汗喀布尔大学开始办学了,这批学生是2010年3月份入学的,2011年9月份过来的,他们算是三年级了,正在进行第六学期的学 习。”

Currently, as the security situation in Afghanistan remains grim, equipment at the university is backward, funding is sparse, and one can imagine that under these circumstances, setting up the first Chinese faculty in Afghanistan’s history  here is difficult. But all along, the enthusiasm among young Afghans to learn Chinese is high. Young Afghan Hu Shan, explaining his reasons to learn Chinese, says: “I have been here in China for a year now. I really love learning Chinese. When I had passed the university entry exam, I chose learning Chinese. I first learned at Kabul University for a year and a half, and through my efforts, I now have the opportunity to study in China. Because our country and China have always maintained friendly relations, I also like Chinese culture, and I am interested in the lives of the Chinese people.”

目前,由于阿富汗国内安全局势依然严峻,大学教学设备落后、资金短缺,在这种情况下开设阿富汗历史上第一个汉语专业的难度可想而知。不 过阿富汗青年学习汉语的热情却始终很高。阿富汗青年胡山在谈到学习汉语的原因时说:“我来中国已经一年了。我很爱学习汉语。考大学以后选择了学汉语。我在 喀布尔大学先学了一年半,通过努力能有这个机会来中国。因为我们的国家和中国一直都保持友好关系,我也很喜欢中国文化,对中国人的生活我也很感兴趣。”

Deputy Dean of Faculty, Professor Zhao Enyuan, explains that when they started recruiting students in Afghanistan, young Afghans who wanted to enroll or asked for information came in an endless stream, their enthusiasm for learning Chinese was unusually high, and surprised the recruiting teachers. Good employment prospects probably also support the interest to learn Chinese. Zhao Enyuan says: “some of our students were asked to do translation work while having just started learning. There were two fourth-formers who did this kind of work. Locals had come straight to the Chinese faculty, and I recommended two students. In one day, they earned 200 US dollars, and they worked for 15 days. They had lessons in the morning, and after lessons, they just ran (off to their work). Locals, once they have business with China, are in need of their translation work. Working for tens of days, these two students earned 2,000 or 3,000 US dollars. One can say that provided that you learn Chinese well, such opportunities are ample there.

赵恩源副院长介绍说,当初在阿富汗招生的时候,前来报名和咨询的阿富汗青年络绎不绝,他们学习汉语的热情异常高涨,让从事招生工作的老 师都感到很吃惊。良好的就业前景应该也是让学汉语在阿富汗受追捧的重要原因。赵恩源说:“我们有的学生上学的时候就被请去做翻译工作。有两个四年级的学生 做过这样的工作。当地人直接找到汉语系,我就推荐了两个人去。一天就是200美元,干了15天。学生上午上课,一下课就跑了(去当翻译)。当地人跟中国公 司有一单生意,所以需要他们这样的翻译。工作了十几天,这两个学生就挣了2、3千美元啊。可以说只要是把汉语学好,这样的机会在当地是非常多的。”

It is understood that because of limited funding, only the minority of the many Afghans who are studying Chinese can really get to China to take further lessons there. But taking Afghanistan’s particular national situation into account and to give more students the opportunity to come to China, the Confucius Institute headquarter does its best to support Kabul University. Zhao Enyuan says: “From this class of 20 Afghan students, eighteen have applied for (Chinese government-provided) scholarships. On average, every Confucius institute only has a quota of two or three scholarships granted.

据了解,由于经费有限,在众多学习汉语的阿富汗青年中,真正能来华进修学习的留学生还只是少数。但考虑到阿富汗的特殊国情,为了让该校 汉语系学生获得更多来华深造的机会,孔子学院总部尽最大可能给予了喀布尔大学以支持。赵恩源说:“现在这班有20个阿富汗学生,其中18个申请到了(中国 政府提供的)奖学金。如果绝对平均的话,每个孔子学院平均只有2到3个奖学金名额。对阿富汗学生来华学习,孔子学院总部是很支持的,让他们尽可能来中国学 习。”

Afghan students are well aware that this opportunity doesn’t come easily, and are therefore hard-working learners. Their diligence deeply touches the teachers. Chang Lili, in charge of organizing the lessons, says: “All in all, I’m in touch with three classes of students. Compared to overseas students from other countries, they are learning diligently, they know how to learn. Many of them even continue studying in the classroom until midnight. They are really hard-working students.”

阿富汗留学生深知这样的机会来之不易,因此平日里学习特别刻苦,而他们的勤奋好学精神也深深打动了学校的老师。负责阿富汗留学生教学安排的常莉丽老 师说:“我一共接触了三批学生,都挺好的。比别的国家来的留学生都努力,很知道学习。他们很多学生来了以后有的甚至到晚上12点还在教室里学习,很刻 苦。”

For the students to learn at ease, the university has done its best to satisfy their various needs. To respect their faith, the university has opened a special prayer room, and to provide them with food they can eat without reservations, a halal canteen has been set up. Not only that: the university also organized [a] form master[s] to take care of their studies and lives. Class monitor Annu Wali says: “As a class monitor representing everyone, I would like to tell Afghans at home that we are fine, that we learn well, and that life is also very good. I hope that Afghan lives will also get better and better.”

为了让阿富汗留学生能够安心学习,校方还尽可能满足他们的各种需求。为尊重留学生的宗教信仰,学校专门开设了祷告室;为了让他们在异国 他乡吃得顺口还特别设立了清真餐厅。不仅如此,学校还安排了班主任照管他们的学习和生活。班长买买提?安努瓦里说:“我作为班长想代表大家对家里的阿富汗 人说,我们在这里很好,学习很好,生活也很好。希望以后阿富汗人的生活也越来越好。”

A comfortable learning environment puts these students who came from afar in a position to focus on learning Chinese, and under the high-level cultivation from their teachers and by their own diligence, most of them will find ideal jobs. Aomar is from the first semester who graduated at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty, and after that, because of his excellent study results, he became a Chinese teacher at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. He says: “I’m now a teacher at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. My first objective is to teach Afghans at Kabul University Chinese in their own language.”

舒适的学习环境让这些远道而来的留学生可以专注地学习汉语,在中方老师的辛勤培养和他们个人的勤奋努力下,从这里毕业的留学生大多找到 了理想的工作。奥马尔是喀布尔大学汉语系第一期的毕业生,毕业后,他以优异的成绩留校成为了阿富汗喀布尔大学中文系的一名汉语老师。他说:“我现在是喀布 尔大学中文系的一位汉语老师。首先我当老师的第一个目的是因为以前在阿富汗没有人教中文,我是要用我们的语言教阿富汗人学中文。”

Now, the freshmen at Kabul University Chinese faculty in 2012 have enrolled, full of expectations and hoping to learn Chinese well. This is also the wish of professor Zhao Enyuan for these new students. He says: “I hope that the students, no matter if currently in China or in their last semester in Kabul, or those I haven’t met yet, will learn Chinese diligently and skillfully. China is the only neighbor without a war between it and Afghanistan during the past 500 years. Afghans are also extremely friendly towards China. I hope that these students will learn Chinese well, understand Chinese culture, and become bridges and links for Sino-Afghan friendship. I also hope that through their improved dissemination of Chinese language and Chinese culture, more Afghans will understand this friendly, amicable and hard-working Chinese nation.”

目前,喀布尔大学汉语系2012级的新生已经入学,他们对未来充满期待,希望能把汉语学好,这也是赵恩源教授对这些新同学的期望。他 说:“我希望不管是正在中国学习的还是正在喀布尔大学读最后一个学期的,还有我没见过面的学生们,更加勤奋扎实地学习汉语。中国是阿富汗近500年来唯一 没有发生过战争的邻国,阿富汗人对中国也是十分友好的。我希望这些学生把汉语学好,熟悉中国文化,成为中阿友谊的桥梁和纽带。同时我也希望通过他们更好地 传播汉语语言和中国文化,让更多的阿富汗人了解中国这样一个友好、友善、勤劳的民族。”

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Related

» Remaking the Watchdog, WSJ, Oct 18, 2012
» The biggest investor, Xinhua, June 6, 2012
» Deutsche Welle director quotes Karzai, Deutsche Welle TV, June 2011
» A Taste of Chinese Life, China Daily, Dec 2, 2009
» Give us Afghanistan, Sep 22, 2009

2 Comments to “CRI on Kabul University’s Chinese Faculty: Great Opportunities”

  1. Interesting. There’s also a large kriegsacademie/military college in Taiyuan. Near enough Beijing for a quick visit but far enough to be out of the spotlight – until folks like you shine some much needed light on a real softpower investment.

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  2. Thanks for commenting, 盖罗杰! Soft power is an intangible asset, I guess. Lived on a floor with some northern African students who had got a scholarship from the Chinese government. They were fluent in Chinese, and they hated the country. As far as I could see back then, there was some everyday racism they had to deal with, but that and their reactions to it were mutually rei-enforcing. They had Radio France Internationale‘s shortwave program blasting across the corridor on every weekend, all day long. I guess that gave everyone an idea where they would have gone if they had had a choice.

    Times may have changed since. No idea what the Afghan students really think, but I have some reservations about that story about two students (combined, I suppose) earning 2,000 to 3,000 US dollars in a month, in Kabul, by doing translations. Either way, it’s a story that should be read by student recruiters in Europe or North America.

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