Interest in learning Chinese language grows in Türkiye

Updated: April 21, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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A photo taken on April 19, 2023 shows a Chinese teacher teaching Chinese language lessons at a classroom in Istanbul,Türkiye.(Photo by Omer Kuscu/Xinhua)

ISTANBUL, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Since the turn of the century, a growing number of Turks have been pouring into Chinese language classes in Türkiye's financial and cultural hub Istanbul, and the capital city of Ankara.

Established in 1999, the Turkish-Chinese Cultural Association started with humble beginnings, offering Türkiye's first official Chinese lessons to only three students. Now it boasts over 300 students in two cities and many more online.

"Demand is growing because the value of the Chinese language and trade has been skyrocketing in Türkiye," Mustafa Karsli, vice president of the association, told Xinhua, "we don't even have to advertise for a while now."

In his final year of high school, 19-year-old Yusa Nisar has been attending courses since December last year. He hopes to attend university in China and eventually settle there, as he reckons China as an increasingly attractive trade center.

The language is excellent but challenging, he noted, adding "the characters and pronunciations are a little hard, but once you memorize them, everything falls into place."

A photo taken on April 19, 2023 shows Turkish students attending Chinese language lessons at a classroom in Istanbul, Türkiye. (Photo by Omer Kuscu/Xinhua)

Instructor Yuan Ren is a graduate of Chinese literature who has been teaching at the center for many years. Public officials, tour guides, and university students have been attending her classes. "Turkish students are very eager, inquisitive, and they are very excited to participate," she said.

"Chinese culture and Chinese language is not very easy for foreigners, but Turkish students are very patient," added fellow instructor Qin Jian. Qin hopes to help improve the relationship between Turkish and Chinese peoples. "I share my Chinese culture and knowledge with my Turkish friends. I enjoy this very much," he said.

Cultural exchange is an important part of the center's language education. "We do not separate the Chinese language from Chinese culture," stated Karsli. "We not only include cultural topics in the instruction, but also organize other cultural activities."

Such activities include festival celebrations, cinema programs, exhibitions, online competitions, talent shows related to Chinese culture, singing competitions, and even Kung Fu and Jianzi performances.

"Chinese is not as hard as you think," instructor Yuan Ren offers her prospective. "Come, and I'll make it easy for you to learn," she told her Turkish students.

A photo taken on April 19, 2023 shows a Chinese teacher teaching Chinese language lessons at a classroom in Istanbul,Türkiye. (Photo by Omer Kuscu/Xinhua)

Editor: Li Shimeng