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Argentina's Spanish-for-Chinese language program marks anniversary

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-23 16:58

BUENOS AIRES - An Argentine Spanish language learning program for Chinese speakers marked its 10th anniversary here on Tuesday.

As an initiative of the University Language Center (CUI) in the capital Buenos Aires, the program was established to promote closer cultural ties between the Argentine and Chinese people.

At a commemorative event at the CUI's headquarters, the director general of the language center, Roberto Villarruel, said: "We are celebrating the program's 10th anniversary (and) we are very pleased, because when we started it, it was quite a challenge."

"I saw the potential it had, the potential for growth the Spanish language was going to have in China," said Villarruel, who made a trip to China a decade ago.

Since then, the program has drawn Chinese students who "have completed their university degrees here and have stayed on to work. Others returned to China or went to other countries with their degrees, and are working in culture or arts," said Villarruel.

"We have learned about the new needs and demands of students in China... because we are interested in seeing the expansion of ties between our countries, of bilateral exchange," he added.

Today, "Argentina is in China's sightline, and China is in Argentina's sightline, and it is an honor to accompany this development" in bilateral ties, he said.

The CUI also helps to teach personnel of Chinese companies with operations in Argentina, such as ICBC, Huawei and Sinopec, said Villarruel, adding "diversification is very important."

Zhai Peng, 20, has studied at the CUI for eight months to improve his job prospects. During this time, he has also discovered he likes many things about Argentina.

"I like Argentina a lot: the landscapes, the food -- like pizza, barbecues and choripan (a popular sausage sandwich) -- and the discos," said Zhai, smiling.

"In addition, the teachers are really nice," he added. "I want to stay in Argentina and look for work at one of the Chinese companies."

Currently, 50 Chinese students are enrolled in the program, whose annual average is 70 to 80 students. The program has taught more than 1,000 students so far.

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