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Tongji Pakistanialumnist:From learning to teaching Chinese

Peoples Daily Overseas Edition Page11
July 26, 2020

I am Pakistani, and my Chinese name is HA Xibu.

When I was very young, I saw the movie,Enter the Dragon, which had a great influence on me. I admired that movie very much. The Chinese martial arts in the movie attracted me a lot.Since then, I started paying attention to and showed a great interest in everything related to China. It is my curiosity that brings me to the world of Chinese culture.

As time passed, I grew and gradually knew Chinese characters. Those wonderful characters are completely different from the characters of our country. Each character has rich, cultural information. From then on, I made up my mind to learn Chinese. Although Chinese characters are difficult to write, they are really meaningful!As time went on, I learned even more about China, and products made in China are also common in our country.All of these impressions of China have strengthened my determination to learn the Chinese language.

As China's influence on the world increases, I think it is necessary to learn the Chinese language because only by learning Chinese can we understand China better.After finishing myjunior high school education, I chose Chinese as my major for my undergraduate study. With my enthusiasm for China and the Chinese culture, my Chinese language fluency and knowledge of Chinese characters is getting stronger every day. When I graduated from the Chinese Intermediate Class of the Chinese Department, the National University of Modern Languages, my new Chinese teacher encouraged us to communicate more with Chinese people. After listening to the teacher, I will not give up any opportunity to communicate with Chinese people to improve my oral Chinese. When I meet Chinese people, I want to talk to them.

As I think of the time when I was first learning Chinese, it was really interesting and I'm glad that I can stick with it. Of course, in the process of learning, I found the more I learn the more I feel that I still have many shortcomings which also made me more clear about myfuture.At that time, I was thinking my biggest dream in life is to see China with my own eyes. Fortunately, it came true; in 2003, I applied for a Chinese government scholarship and gained the opportunity to study Chinese at Tongji University.

In April 2005, the Confucius Institute in Islamabad was formally established. With the joint efforts of relevant institutions, it has developed rapidly and has become Pakistan’s Chinese language and cultural exchange center, Chinese Proficiency Test Center, Chinese Teacher Training Center, and a platform for China-Pakistan non-governmental communication.In 2007, after returning from my studies in China, I became a teacher at the Confucius Institute for more than 10 years. Everyone says that I am a veritable "veteran".

While teaching Chinese at the Confucius Institute in Islamabad, our goal is to deepen Pakistani students’ understanding of Chinese culture and language, and to enhance the friendship. Specifically, the main working content includes Chinese language teaching, cultural exchanges, Chinese teacher training, and the organization of Chinese proficiency tests.

The regular work I am responsible for includes the organization of regular teacher training for Chinese teachers of the Confucius Institute in Islamabad, HSK registration and testing, the recruitment of local Chinese language teachers, and the preparation, organization and review of the Confucius Institute in Islamabad,the organization of meetingsto exchange Chinese teaching experience atthe Chinese Department of the National University of Modern Languages,and the organization of the Chinese Bridge competition in Pakistan.I am very grateful for the growth that every job brings to me. It is through the unremitting efforts of every one that I became a better teacher.

The situation of Chinese education in Pakistan has undergone tremendous changes in the past 20 years. When I was learning Chinese, there was no “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” nor the “The Belt and Road Initiative,” and there were not many young people learning Chinese. However, as the cooperation between the two countries continues to advance, more projects have arrived to Pakistan providing a large number of local employment opportunities, and the enthusiasmof learning Chinese has continued to heat up in Pakistan.

Now, I have changed from being a young man in my 20s to being a "middle-aged uncle" in my 40s, but I hope I can continue to work hard to spread learning the Chinese language and culture and contribute to the friendship between China and Pakistan—a strength!

(The author is a Chinese teacher at the Confucius Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan)