Chinese Volunteers Help Thousands Learn Mandarin at Namibian University

June 10, 2018
Editor: Xie Wen

Wang Ling, who was deployed to teach the Chinese language in Namibia in 2015, is one of the 10 Chinese volunteer lecturers at the University of Namibia's Confucius Institute.

First time setting foot in her class was nerve-wrecking yet exciting, said Wang to Xinhua.

"It was a new environment. I was yet to study the Namibian culture. Also, some things had to be repeated many times, which delayed the class," said Wang.

About 2,796 students have studied Mandarin at the Confucius Institute in the last five years.

Zhang Fan, Director of Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia, said that teaching and learning is supplemented by a library.

"The library not only has language books, but also books entailing Chinese culture, sight-seeing, traditions and history. Through that, students can have a deeper understanding about China," said Zhang.

Meanwhile, according to Wang, her biggest motivation and reward is seeing students progress academically.

"My higher level students are still learning Chinese language, and are in their third year. I'm proud of them because they're able to understand more complicated Chinese," she said.

Keith Mushonga, a student at the Confucius Institute, said that he has travelled to China on more than two occasions following his mastery of the Chinese language.

In recent years, learning Chinese has also become a rewarding experience in terms of landing jobs and winning scholorships, according to Zhang.

"Lots of Chinese companies want to hire local people who can speak Mandarin. If one can speak the Chinese language, it will increase chances to find a job. In addition, Chinese scholarships have been offered to students who are learning Mandarin. Once you get the scholarship, you can study in China," said Zhang.

"Life is full of changes. Therefore, while I'm doing my best to teach my students, I also help them to get scholarships and encourage them to go to China to study," she said.

In addition to meeting new people, Wang said that she personally also gained abundant soft skills from her job.

"It has been a valuable experience for me. I love my students. I also learned some life experiences including communication and presentation skills. In fact, I am now stage fear-free," she said.

In the interim, her wish is for more people in Namibia to learn Chinese and visit China.

"People from Namibia are always welcome to go to China. It's a good connection between our two countries. Our friendship is everlasting. It's a good way to exchange our cultures," she said.

Currently, there are about 500 students enrolled at the Confucius Institute.

(Source: Xinhua)

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