CHINA> Talk with Hungarian Ambassador
Diplomat recalls quake-zone students' trip
By Zuo Likun and Hanlei (
Updated: 2009-05-13 18:50

Beijing -- The Hungarian Ambassador to China Sándor Kusai recalled Friday a "recupation trip" that 50 Chinese quake zone students took to Budapest last year, and discussed upcoming plans to form sister schools between the two countries.

Fifty students from Dujiangyan and Pengzhou cities, in close vicinity to the epicenter of the last year's 8-magnitude quake, were invited to Hungary whose government intended to help them recover from the deadly May 12 earthquake.

"There was, I would say, a kind of emotional motivation for us to do that," Sándor told China Daily website during an exclusive interview.


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The Hungarian people wanted to find a unique way to "express their sympathy and solidarity" with the suffering Chinese people after the quake, especially the traumatized pupils, according to the ambassador.

"They never visited any foreign countries before. Most of them have not travelled before by plane even," the diplomat said.

"It's a big excitement for them," he said.

However, the students knew very little about the exotic east European country before the trip, Sándor said.

With help from the Chinese Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the pupils received some basic Hungarian knowledge before their flight.

The students' crash course was assisted by Chinese celebrity Chen Peisi's visit to the Hungarian embassy in Beijing, where he delighted the students with personal family anecdotes about Hungary. Chen and his older brother were named after the capital Budapest after their film-actor father fell in love with the romance and beauty of the Danube River during a visit to Hungary.

The quake zone students outperformed organizers' expectations while visiting Hungary. The Hungarian tutors were impressed at the student's fast and easy networking with Hungarian youth. Within a few days, the students used less and less interpreters.

During their three-week recuperation stay, the students went horseback riding on the Buda hillsides, learnt Hungarian folk songs at Lake Balaton youth camps, and watched knights' show in ancient king's castles near Budapest.

"They have preserved [a] very good memory of their trip to Hungary," the ambassador said with great satisfaction.