KIEV, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Singing the Chinese folk song "Jasmine Blossom," doing a traditional Chinese dance and performing an act of a Chinese wedding ceremony, Ukrainian college students shared their understanding of the Chinese culture during a theatrical performance here.
The performance, titled "Golden rooster heralds the arrival of spring," was recently held in the Confucius Institute of the Kiev National Linguistic University (KNLU) to welcome the new spring.
Fluency in Chinese, demonstrated by the young Ukrainian performers, means much to them as Chinese is deemed in Ukraine as "a language of new chances."
"I learn Chinese because it means tremendous opportunities in Kiev," said Pavlo Zvenyhorodskyi, a final-year student in his early twenties at the Confucius Institute.
Zvenyhorodskyi has already received several job offers from Ukrainian and foreign companies because he is proficient in Chinese. This is still a language that few of his fellow Ukrainians can speak.
His love for the Chinese culture and language was fostered in his childhood when he watched Chinese movies on the VHS tapes in his hometown Chernigov in northern Ukraine.
Zvenyhorodskyi has won a prize in the Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition for foreign college students, and his success has drawn wide attention in Ukraine.
He said it would have been impossible for him to achieve this without the support of teachers at the Confucius Institute.
"These people are very committed to their job. They do their work not because it is a duty, not because they are paid the salary, but because it is the call of their hearts and souls," Zvenyhorodskyi commented.
The efforts of the KNLU Confucius Institute teachers were greatly appreciated not only by the students, but also by professionals. In 2015, the KNLU Confucius Institute, which was then less than three years old, was ranked among top 20 Confucius Institutes that year worldwide.
In 2016, Shi Yajun, Chinese president for the KNLU Confucius Institute, was granted an individual honor for the outstanding contribution he made at work.
Shi said he attaches great importance to combining the complementary advantages of teachers from China and Ukraine.
"Chinese teachers are native speakers and they have vast experiences in tutoring, while Ukrainians are well aware of how to teach local students," Shi said.
As China is cementing its strong position in the global arena, the Chinese language is rapidly gaining popularity in Ukraine. The number of students enrolled at the KNLU Confucius Institute increased more than ten folds between 2013 and 2017.
"At the current stage, we teach between 800 and 1,000 students per year. There were only 59 students learning Chinese when the institute opened," Shi said.
Many Ukrainians go to the Confucius Institute to learn more about the Chinese culture and history, while others have more practical reasons -- for more business opportunities and employment.