Feature: Chinese Proficiency Test held first time in Iraq to boost Chinese language learning
BAGHDAD, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), or the Chinese Proficiency Test, was held in Baghdad on Saturday for the first time, allowing Iraqi Chinese language learners to take the exam in the country without traveling outside.
The test was held at the Iraqi-Chinese Friendship Association in cooperation with the Chinese Testing International Co., Ltd, with the participation of 12 students, including three women.
The participants included merchants, engineers, doctors, and students who intend to obtain a master's degree from China, and who wish to improve their work or living in China and learn more about Chinese culture.
"Today, we have finished the Chinese language test in the Iraqi-Chinese Friendship Association. The move will open the door (to taking HSK exams) for all students who study Chinese or who intend to study the Chinese language, whether inside Iraq or students from neighboring countries where there is no (Chinese) examination center," Haider al-Rubaie, head of the Iraqi-Chinese Friendship Association, told Xinhua.
Holding the HSK test in Iraq will save the money and effort of those who study the Chinese language, and will help increase the number of students who want to learn Chinese, he said.
Conducting the HSK test in Iraq will also increase cultural exchanges and enable people to learn more about Chinese culture and China's ancient civilization, he added.
Dr. Sajjad al-Qazzaz, a teacher of the Chinese language and director of public relations at the Iraqi-Chinese Friendship Association, was filled with happiness, pride, and joy about the arrival of the Chinese language to Iraq and holding the HSK test in his country.
"In the past, we did not have a Chinese test center, which is (used for holding) the official HSK test, and now Iraqis can take the test in the Iraqi-Chinese Friendship Association, and by passing this test, Iraqis can apply for the opportunity to study in Chinese universities," he said.
"In the beginning, a few students came to the association to learn Chinese, but now more and more, learning Chinese is becoming more and more popular among Iraqis," al-Qazzaz said.
He hoped that Iraqis can better understand Chinese culture by learning the Chinese language and they can apply to study in China by taking the HSK test.
One of the students, Alaa Mohammed, an engineer and owner of an advertising company, told Xinhua that the Chinese language is very important in his field as "we import machines from China."
Learning the Chinese language has greatly facilitated his work, enabling him to communicate his thoughts and ideas with his Chinese partners directly instead of using another foreign language, said Mohammed, who has spent more than one year on Chinese learning.
He said he received a lot of help from his Chinese friends in learning Chinese. When he writes to them via Wechat, they help him correct his mistakes and encourage him to make more efforts.
Zahraa Hadi, a female student, travelled some 100 km from the city of Karbala to Baghdad to learn the Chinese language.
"I learned Chinese because I love it. I love China, and I love Chinese culture," she said, adding that she is planning to get a master's degree in China "because I like to live there to know many Chinese people and meet more people and acquire new cultures, customs, and other traditions."
Shams Haider, another female student who has been studying Chinese for about a year, said she wants to improve her Chinese skills and help enhance relations between China and Iraq.
"As I am a political science student specializing in international relations, I am very interested in working in the future on relations between China and Iraq, developing cultural relations," she said.
"These relationships are important to me and I study them. The Chinese language will do me a lot of good and make this thing (interrelations) easier in the future," she added.