A Bei­jing sum­mer camp turns into a melt­ing pot of dif­fer­ent cul­tures

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - YOUTH - By CHINA DAILY

“Do not use much wa­ter, or else the panda you draw will be­come very fat,” a Chi­nese paint­ing teacher says in Chi­nese.

Im­me­di­ately, the same words in English, Pol­ish and Hun­gar­ian are de­liv­ered to stu­dents in the class­room.

Filled with the sounds and rhythms of dif­fer­ent lan­guages, the Chi­nese paint­ing class­room is a melt­ing pot of dif­fer­ent cul­tures.

This class­room of­fers a glimpse of the ex­pe­ri­ence at the “You and Me, In Bei­jing” sum­mer camp or­ga­nized by Bei­jing For­eign Stud­ies Univer­sity’s Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute from July 15 to 25.

Stu­dents from Bel­gium, Bul­garia, Poland, Hun­gary, Italy, the United King­dom and South Korea gather to learn Chi­nese and ex­pe­ri­ence Chi­nese cul­ture.

“China is devel­op­ing greatly, and it is im­por­tant in­ter­na­tion­ally,” Hun­gar­ian stu­dent Fekete Mar­cell Zoltan says in flu­ent Chi­nese.

When the paint­ing teacher gives in­struc­tions, he helps trans­late the words into Hun­gar­ian for his class­mates.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing the panda paint­ing, Fekete writes his Chi­nese name, Ma Hongbo, on tra­di­tional rice paper.

Fekete is from Bu­dapest and has learned Chi­nese for eight years at the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute at Eotvos Lo­rand Univer­sity.

“Now a lot of peo­ple are learn­ing Chi­nese,” says the 15-year-old, who wants to be a diplo­mat in China.

Dur­ing the course of the sum­mer camp, stu­dents at­tend per­for­mances of Pek­ing Opera and the dragon dance, visit the Great Wall, Tian’an­men Square and the For­bid­den City, and spend time with Chi­nese fam­i­lies.

They also have lessons on lan­guage, Chi­nese paint­ing, paper-cut­ting and kung fu.

Yet for stu­dents like Fekete, the sum­mer camp is more than just ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Chi­nese cul­ture. It is also about meet­ing peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures and learn­ing how cul­tural back­grounds shape their views of China.

Zhu Q i, the di­rec­tor of Bei­jing For­eign Stud­ies

Zhou Yi­fan contributed to the story.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Hun­gar­ian stu­dent Fekete Mar­cell Zoltan shows his ink paint­ing at the sum­mer camp.

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