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Exchanges are the remedy for promoting TCM

By JIN ZHU | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-17 01:21

Both Chinese and overseas TCM educators agree that closer cooperation and more exchanges are needed to promote the treatment and make it more acceptable to the world.

Fu Yanling, dean of the International School at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, said he has considered setting up an association or alliance to gather TCM workers across the country to teach overseas students in English.

Fu invited TCM doctors who speak English fluently from hospitals in Beijing, such as Guang'anmen Hospital under the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, to his classes with overseas students.

The school recruits about 130 overseas students every year — more than 60 percent from Southeast Asia — with the rest from the United States and Europe.

"For foreign students, it will take them time to study Chinese before they start to learn TCM," Fu said. "But Chinese is only a temporary language tool as most of them will be back in their countries to finish their studies."

Jia Dexian, deputy dean of the International School at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, said she paid a lot of money to qualify to teach TCM in English.

She now has two classes in English a week.

"Although I'm not a native English speaker, years of teaching experience made me better understand the possible main difficulties for foreigners to study TCM," Jia said.

She said for overseas learners, her courses focus more on practical skills. "For many key words, such as the names of herbs and clinical symptoms, I always repeat them many times," she said.

Jia said TCM faces an uphill battle to gain more global popularity.

Ruzanna Beghanora, 23, from Turkmenistan, started a five-year TCM course at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine this year. She said her grandmother is a neurologist who gives acupuncture treatment. "Her needles are old and thick but the treatments really work."

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