Kurdish students of Salahaddin University take a Chinese exam in Erbil, Iraq, on May 23, 2021. (Xinhua)
BAGHDAD, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Bahman Mahmmod, a 21-year-old Kurd in Iraq, once thought of giving up learning Chinese, when he realized that he may have to quit school to support his family during the COVID-19 crisis.
For many Kurdish students in Iraq like Mahmmod, the pandemic has placed them in a dilemma over whether to stay at school or take on part-time jobs in support of their families.
However, students in Salahaddin University in Erbil, the capital city of Iraq's Kurdistan region, have demonstrated resilience and perseverance in learning Chinese during the pandemic.
Established in 2019 as Iraq's first Chinese language institute for higher education, the Chinese department of Salahaddin University has adopted online teaching for its students since the outbreak of the pandemic.
"Online study was understandably unable to replace studying face to face with teachers. Learning Chinese online is especially difficult for our students," noted Sanger Othman Ibrahim, dean of the Chinese department.
But Mahmmod chose not to quit school following his teacher's advice. He said Chinese learning resources in Kurdish are limited, aspiring to compile a Kurdish-Chinese dictionary some day to help more Kurdish people learn Chinese language and culture.
Two teachers from China, Hu Zhiwei and Li Hualai, have focused on teaching Kurdish students Chinese, despite the difficult circumstances of the pandemic.
Hu, who teaches Chinese conversation, reading and writing, said the spread of the pandemic in Iraq has negatively affected his teaching.
"Some students do not have the Internet at their homes, while the terrible economic situation has pushed them to squeeze time to work," Hu said.
"Many people lost their jobs during the COVID-19. I have to work in a computer store after class to help my family," said Hewa Saadi Ali, another student in the Chinese department.
"China has good relations with many other countries worldwide, and numerous foreigners cooperated with Chinese in trade or study in the country. Therefore, I chose to learn Chinese," Ali said, adding he would like to be a link between Iraqis and Chinese.
The Kurdish student revealed his intention to go to China to get a master's degree in the Chinese language and become a Chinese language teacher in the department, believing that bilateral relations between the two countries will thrive in the future. Enditem