Teaching Chinese language, Kung Fu in the UAE

Updated: December 13, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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Mao Jiafeng, 34, from northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, is now teaching Chinese language and culture at a junior high school in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

YINCHUAN, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Mao Jiafeng, 34, from northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, is now teaching Chinese language and culture at a junior high school in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"Before I came to UAE, what worried me most was not whether I could adapt to the climate and food here, but whether I could not teach the children well," Mao said.

Mao graduated from the School of Arabic Studies of Ningxia University in 2015. Although he worked in Egypt's communications industry for three years and graduated from a university in Egypt with a master's degree in 2017, he gradually realized that international Chinese education was his ideal job.

In August 2019, Mao became a teacher of Chinese in the UAE.

"This is not only because I majored in Arabic, but also because I have many friends in Arab countries and can spread the splendid Chinese culture on the basis of respecting their culture."

During a year of hard work, Mao gradually adapted to the local educational environment and now teaches Chinese to two grades. In class, he plays videos of Chinese food to students, and offers some extracurricular activities for students based on traditional Chinese festivals, so that they can enhance their understanding of China and improve their Chinese proficiency.

Mao found that some students hope to work in China in the future. "They know that China has an important and large manufacturing industry, and hope to come to China to do business, while some are very interested in Chinese technology and media, and are hoping to study and engage in related work," he said.

In order to inspire students' interests, Mao explains various genres of Chinese Kung Fu to them and plays some related movie clips during classes. To his surprise, UAE children are full of enthusiasm for learning Chinese Kung Fu, and they often follow videos to practice Kung Fu in class.

Liu Jianan, who also works as a Chinese teacher at a high school in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi and teaches martial art in his spare time, said, "when many local people in UAE see Chinese people, they may say that they have seen Jackie Chan's movies and ask how to learn Chinese Kung Fu. Some children even bought wooden stakes to practice a traditional Chinese form of boxing, called Yongchun Boxing."

Liu, 30, who comes from Jinzhou City of northeast China's Liaoning Province, said he understands that students are eager to "become as powerful as Jackie Chan," but he encourages them to start with basic skills and practice steadily -- with physical fitness as the primary goal. In his spare time, he also engages in public welfare activities with other Chinese friends who are proficient in martial arts. He offers free courses in martial arts, Tai Chi and Baduanjin to local people in the UAE.

"My ideal is to spread the excellent Chinese culture and do my part for the development of the world," Liu said.

Mao shares this same ideal with Liu, and he plans to continue teaching in the UAE for the next five years. He found that the UAE and China have many things in common, such as their commitment to peace and development.

"In addition to spreading Chinese culture, it is also my mission to help more children who want to come to China to improve their Chinese language levels. I hope that our work will deepen the friendship between China and Arab countries," he said.  

Editor: Yu Huichen