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Foreign students sample culture through history

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-10 06:16
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On the first day of their trip to Weinan, Shaanxi province, the group — a diverse mixture of students from home and abroad — arrived at the ancient city of Hancheng, with its traditional buildings illuminated by vibrant modern lighting.

The historical site, located in Hancheng, a county-level city of Weinan, is known for its millennium-old history and ancient buildings that span different dynasties, many of which are still being used today, as shops, temples, or performing arts venues.

This group of students are the participants of Generation Z 2023: The Future of the Silk Road, a program hosted by the China Public Relations Association that invites students from different cultural backgrounds to experience and learn about traditional and modern Chinese culture.

Two Egyptian students learn to sing Qinqiang Opera in Hancheng, Shaanxi province. [Photo by Peng Yipeng/For China Daily]

Having attended a performance of traditional Chinese Qinqiang Opera and a short play about Wang Jie, a loyal and honest official from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Fazle Mahmud from Bangladesh, now a postgraduate student in education at Shanghai International Studies University, took the stage and gave a performance of ventriloquism.

Holding a hand puppet, he performed excerpts of classic Chinese songs, including Sweet on You by Teresa Teng, Wishing You Well by Sun Yue and Loving You by rock band Beyond in Cantonese.

Better known as Archie, he has studied in China for more than four years. He first learned about this program three years ago when his university posted about it on its public WeChat account looking for talented participants.

Reflecting on his own skills, he decided to make a video of his ventriloquism with a dog hand puppet, applied to the university and succeeded in being admitted to the program.

"When I made the video, I told myself that someday that puppy will take me to a place which I have never seen before and I have never thought of. And then, when they said that I was selected and I would go and see the Yellow River, I was emotional and almost crying," he recalls.

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