This year’s Chinese language summer school at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University attracted approximately 50 international students to study Chinese and Chinese culture.

They came from around 10 countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, Venezuela and Nigeria.

Valeria Gunnella, studying economy and Chinese at Ca’Foscari University of Venice in Italy, said: “In Italy, if you can speak and use Chinese, you’ll have more job opportunities than those who cannot. So I decided to learn Chinese. XJTLU’s campus is very beautiful and I have learnt more about Chinese culture during studying here.”

Enrico Bonati, also from Ca’Foscari University, said: “We have very limited opportunity to learn Chinese and Chinese culture in Europe. However, I’m very interested, so I hoped to learn more through attending the summer school.”

He added that staff who taught them Chinese at XJTLU were very nice, passionate and patient.

Maria Isabel, a Year Two XJTLU student from Venezuela who is studying BA International Business with a language, said that Chinese was becoming very important in many areas, like business, that and she was interested in Chinese even though she finds it very difficult.

“The Chinese teachers are very nice and friendly and are ready to help us during learning. Through the summer school, I learnt how to behave in Chinese society and I understand the culture better,” she said.

The summer school provided students with 15 hours of classroom-based language lessons and four hours of cultural understanding lessons each week. The classroom-based language lessons focused on Chinese language application in life and on listening and speaking skills. For the cultural understanding lessons, students were taught Chinese martial arts, calligraphy, Chinese cooking and about traditional Chinese costumes.

Wei Li, from XJTLU’s Language Centre and course leader of the summer school, said that the summer school teaches students practical Chinese and knowledge that is useful in everyday life.

She said: “We hope to improve students’ Chinese language skills through the summer school and enable them to communicate with Chinese people using the language they’ve learnt here.”

Besides classroom lessons, the students also travelled to places of interest nearby, such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and Wuxi.

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