The Confucius Institute at the University of Botswana (CIUB) has opened a Chinese language teaching point in Francistown, Botswana's second largest city.
The teaching point is the second of its kind established in the country of about 2.1 million people, after the first one was set up early last year at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in the central town of Palapye.
On Tuesday, the Francistown teaching point was initiated with close to 50 students at the University of Botswana (UB)'s Centre for Continuing Education in Francistown.
"Embracing Chinese language is important, especially in the 21st century," Olekantse Kuswane, UB's Francistown centre manager, told Xinhua after attending the first lesson of the 12-week session.
Kuswane said it had never crossed her mind that she would enroll for the course.
However, when a lot of people, including senior government officials registered for the program, she was compelled to register.
Eatlametse Olopeng, Senior Superintendent of the Botswana Police Service (BPS), said he enrolled for the course because "China is the future in trade, security, international relations and the growth of industrialization."
"Everyone is looking to the East these days," said Olopeng. "It is imperative to study the Chinese language."
Another student, Sharon Moloi, a waitress at one of the leading hotels in Francistown, said her dream is to become a Chinese interpreter during international meetings since they sometimes host Chinese nationals at the hotel she works for.
"I am really thankful to the Chinese government for coming up with Confucius Institute and allowing its language to be an universal language that can be taught in interested countries across the globe. My dream has finally come true," she said.
CIUB provides local students with an opportunity to attend two-week summer or winter camps and four-week summer school in China and also helps locals to win scholarships to study in China for four weeks, one term, a year or for a degree.
In addition, CIUB organizes special cultural activities, such as the "Chinese Bridge," a Chinese language proficiency competition for foreign college and secondary school students, Chinese culture tour around Botswana, Confucius Institute Week and Chinese Talent Show.