SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of American students who are enrolled in Chinese language programs spent a wonderful evening here on Monday with Chinese diplomats at a family-like reception to celebrate the upcoming Spring Festival.
The students and their families shared their stories about learning the Chinese language in the United States, and recounted their journeys to China to experience the amazing Chinese culture in person.
Some of the students showcased their Chinese language skills by reciting Chinese poems, while others displayed their musical talent by playing traditional Chinese instruments at the reception hosted by Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Wang Donghua at his residence.
Wang praised the students for exerting great efforts to achieve a high proficiency in the Chinese language, which enabled them to know about the essence of Chinese culture and philosophy.
"China is a country with its people cherishing peace, harmony and amity," he said. "The love for peace is deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of the Chinese people."
Wang called on the students to contribute to promoting the China-U.S. friendship, which is "not only conducive to the two countries but also to the rest of the world."
Wu Yenbo, associate vice president at San Francisco State University, said the school has helped tens of thousands of local Californians learn Chinese and experience Chinese culture over some 16 years of running the Confucius Institute on the campus.
People-to-people exchanges are needed to build a better world, Wu said.
"Understanding and learning another language simply opens up another window and many other opportunities for young people," he said.
He said he hopes American youth will continue to contribute to this cause and support the exchanges and collaboration between the United States and China.
Christine Herbst, a high schooler in Silicon Valley and winner of the 12th Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition (American Continent group) held in China last year, said she began to learn the Chinese language at the tender age of three.
"Learning Chinese has given me great leverage and I have been granted a scholarship from China, which qualifies me for a seat in a Chinese university upon my graduation from my high school in the United States," she said.