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Students get taste of China in consulate visit

By Hong Xiao in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-05-08 09:50

Tahmidul displayed a paper-cutting he had just completed - the Chinese characters shuang xi, or "double happiness."

"I like the hands-on part, I cut this out, and it's really nice," he said delightedly.

Tahmidul (whose teacher preferred not to disclose his last name) is a student from Pace Academy MS 118 in Bronx, New York.

On Friday afternoon, Tahmidul, along with other American students, took part in the 2017 Open Day: Experience China at the Chinese Consulate General in New York.

More than 200 K-12 students and principals, teachers and parents from Bayside High School, Medgar Evers College Preparatory School, PS119, MS118, BASIS Independent Brooklyn, Maspeth High School in New York city and Glen Ridge High School, Montville Township High School in New Jersey were invited.

The event was held by the consulate to help achieve the goal of having one million American students studying Chinese by 2020 as set by former president Barack Obama in 2015 and stimulating US students' interest in Chinese language and culture.

During the half day event, students got a chance to take part in several cultural immersion activities, such as paper cutting, using chopsticks, playing a guzheng (Chinese zither), tying Chinese knots, matching Chinese words and calligraphy.

Students from Bayside High School performed on diabolos and students from Montville Township High School performed a group talk show called "Shared Values of China and the US."

Mandarin teacher Li Zhaohong from McDonogh School in Massachusetts demonstrated the fun of learning Chinese for the guests.

"I think it's very interactive and very fun, I've learned a lot of culture and people here," said Tahmidul, who has never been to China but hopes to visit one day.

"I learned a lot of Chinese culture in my Chinese Mandarin class at school, I think there are a lot of different attractions and that would be fun," he said.

"The activities are wonderful and interesting," said Sharon Jiang, a teacher arts and world language of Pace Academy. "I think it has a positive significance in promoting cultural heritage and cultural exchanges between China and the United States. It also enhances the results of Chinese language teaching."

"This event aims not only to stimulate students' interest in learning Chinese language and to broaden students' understanding of Chinese culture, but also to enhance the student and school's relations with China to promote Chinese language teaching and education cooperation between China and the US, which will lay the solid foundation for good bilateral relations between the two countries," said Cheng Lei, acting consul general.

The open day event was supported by the Confucius Institute (CI) Headquarters (Hanban) in Beijing, and the directors and teachers in CI in New York area, including CIs at China Institute, Pace University, Alfred University, University of Massachusetts-Boston, New Jersey City University and SUNY.

xiaohong@chinadailyusa.com

Students get taste of China in consulate visit

Zhongbei (Daisy) Wu, a guzheng (or Chinese zither, a traditional Chinese instrument) artist and the associate director of Confucius Institute at Alfred University, teaches American students to play guzheng during the 2017 "Open Day - Experience China" event at the Chinese Consulate General in New York on May 5. Hong Xiao / China Daily

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