Feature: Virtual education connects Argentine language learners, Chinese teachers amid pandemic

Source: Xinhua| 2020-11-29 14:13:43|Editor: huaxia

BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Thanks to virtual education, Martina Jeifetz, a university graduate, has been able to continue her Chinese courses in Argentina amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, learning from teachers in China.

The program "was totally challenging, but it was worth it," Jeifetz, one of the 150 students learning the Chinese language at the recently-opened Confucius Institute at Argentina's National University of Cordoba (UNC), told Xinhua.

For them, online courses have offered a new way of approaching a "totally different culture."

"I did not know anything about the Chinese language or culture. Learning something that you have no idea about and, apart from the virtual context we are experiencing, it was a bit challenging, but it was good," she said.

Jeifetz said that the classes were held via internet platforms featuring teachers mainly from China.

"Classes were given via Zoom, on Tuesdays from 7:00 in the morning to 8:30 in the evening, and our teacher Roxi taught us from China," Jeifetz said.

"We had a virtual classroom and each recorded class and all the course materials were uploaded there as well. If I wanted to review something, I had those materials. That seemed good to me and I think it is one of the advantages of virtuality," she added.

The institute offers a variety of Mandarin courses and also helps students work towards the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK), which certifies written and oral proficiency in the language.

"It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and I believe that China today is positioned as a world leader. Language is important to expand horizons and broaden knowledge," said Jeifetz.

"Additionally, if you are interested in the culture of another country, a fundamental step is through the study of the language. I am very interested in continuing, in carrying out research or continuing my studies in China," she said.

Officially inaugurated on Oct. 10, the Confucius Institute at the UNC is the result of a four-year joint effort by UNC leaders, China's Jinan University and the Chinese embassy in Argentina, expanding a network that includes institutes at the University of Buenos Aires and at the National University of La Plata. Enditem