Students and teachers wearing traditional Chinese women's dress Qipao pose for photos during the Chinese Cultural Day event in Beirut, Lebanon, on May 15, 2019. About 50 students took part in the Chinese Cultural Day event, which was organized by the Center for Languages and Translation at the Lebanese University on Wednesday to celebrate the end of their academic year. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)
by Dana Halawi
BEIRUT, May 15 (Xinhua) -- About 50 students took part in the Chinese Cultural Day organized by the Center for Languages and Translation at the Lebanese University on Wednesday to celebrate the end of their academic year.
Students in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in the Chinese Language and those studying translation with focus on the Chinese language performed songs and poems in Chinese, showing their great skills and talents.
Other students showed their talents by drawing calligraphy to the sound of music played by a Chinese teacher using pipa, a Chinese traditional musical instrument.
Students were also engaged in other activities, including the cooking of Chinese food such as dumplings.
Students expressed to Xinhua their passion for the language and their expectations for learning such an important skill.
Ghadi Yassine, 19, told Xinhua that he chose to learn Chinese because he appreciates the Chinese culture.
Yassine said that his ambitions will not be limited to his bachelor's degree from the Lebanese University.
"I am planning to apply for a master's degree in China. I want to go there to improve my language skills and find work in China," he said.
Meanwhile, Maria Khalil, a 26-year-old student who specializes in Fashion Design, said that she is learning Chinese because China is looking for creative minds in her specialty.
"I aim to work with China in the future. I love the Chinese and their culture," she said, adding that she has applied for a scholarship in China to be able to improve her Chinese language skills.
Lea Samara expressed her excitement for learning about a culture that is totally different from the Lebanese culture.
She also emphasized the importance of holding a Chinese Cultural Day which informs the Lebanese about China's culture and encourage them to visit the country to know more about its traditions.
Nie Haiyan, a Chinese language teacher at the Lebanese University, told Xinhua that the Chinese Cultural Day is an occasion celebrated every year to give students the opportunity to show what they have learned throughout the year.
"Students can show their skills and talents by singing and dancing in addition to engaging in other activities, such as paper cutting, calligraphy and Chinese tea art," she said.
Gisele Al Riachi, director of the Center for Languages and Translation at the Lebanese University, said that it is a yearly occasion organized by the university to celebrate the end of an academic year in a fun way.
"It is important for students to be engaged in activities related to the Chinese culture, not only to be taught the Chinese language," Riachi told Xinhua.
Riachi said that the center has 50 students pursuing a bachelor's degree in the Chinese Language and another 50 students focusing on the Chinese language by studying translation at the university.
"Around 30 percent of people specializing in translation have chosen the Chinese language due to its great importance," Riachi said.
She added that people are more aware of the importance of the Chinese language due to the role that China plays in the world.
Riachi said that the university's role is not only limited to teaching its students the Chinese language, but it also works on sending students to China to improve their language skills.
"We also send students to summer camps in China," she said, adding that the university has good contacts which facilitate the search for training and job opportunities for graduated students.
Riachi said that one of the future goals of the Lebanese University is to start a master's program in Chinese language, which is not available for the time being due to lack of the needed number of skilled teachers to teach the language.
"China sent us three teachers through the Chinese Embassy in Lebanon which is much appreciated. But we need more teachers for us to be able to start with the program," she said.