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Beijing celebrates foreign language festival

Updated: 2013-10-22 21:32
By Zhao Xinying (

The Beijing Foreign Language Festival 2013, which lasted for two days in Beijing Chaoyang Park, came to a conclusion on Sunday.

With the theme of "explore language, discover Beijing" this year, the festival offered diverse activities to get people involved in learning foreign languages, including English-language word games, fashion shows, a dubbing show and lectures from language experts.

According to the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality, this year's festival included a wider range of languages than in previous years.

Multilingual cultural performances were given by people from a mix of countries, including France, Japan, Ireland and South Korea. Foreign language teachers from universities in Beijing were also invited to teach the audience to sing songs in various languages.

A "multilingual corner" was also set up for people to communicate with each other in eight languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Arabic and Russian.

The language corner gathered not only young students of these foreign languages, but also a number of older people who learned the languages many years ago.

Wu Cuiying, 68, a retired teacher who studied Russian for only three years when she was in high school, came to the corner to look for a language partner.

Wu said she was planning to visit Russia with her daughter in the coming year, but she could speak very little Russian. "So I came here, hoping to acquire some everyday conversation practice," she said.

She paired up with a student from Beijing Foreign Studies University, and they discussed her upcoming trip to Russia and the task of learning and practicing the language.

"Now I can't wait to see what Moscow and St Petersburg look like," she said.

Organized by the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program and the foreign affairs office of the Beijing municipal government, the event has been held 14 times since 2002, attracting over 1 million participants in total.

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