President's visit a boost for China-Hungary ties

Budapest has seen growing interest in learning Mandarin as nations deepen bilateral relations

By CHEN WEIHUA in Budapest, Hungary | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-05-09 09:38
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Students at the Hungarian-Chinese Bilingual School attend the Youth Chinese Test in Budapest. Hungarians are developing a greater interest in learning the Chinese language as the two countries deepen their ties. CHINA DAILY

Erdelyi Zsuzsanna, principal of the Hungarian-Chinese Bilingual School in Budapest, said she was so excited to learn about Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Hungary.

Xi visited the school in October 2009 when he was Chinese vice-president. In early 2023, Xi replied to a letter from students of the school.

"The timing (of this visit) is so important because this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of China-Hungary diplomatic relations, as well as the 20th anniversary of our school," said Erdelyi, who joined the school in 2004 when the school was founded. She became its principal in 2009.

She said the whole country is excited about Xi's visit and she believes the state visit will elevate the friendly relations between the two countries.

"The relations between Hungary and China have become better every day and the Hungarian media have news relating to China almost every day," she said, citing news about new Chinese investment and exhibitions.

"Hungarians can be immersed in Chinese culture without even leaving home."

Erdelyi received Xi at the school during his 2009 visit. She said the visit left a deep impression on her.

"At that time Xi had encouraged our students to become friendship envoys between China and Hungary," she said, adding that Xi's words had been a great encouragement for the school's faculty.

Before the Spring Festival of 2023, two 12th-grade students from the bilingual school, Varga Bonita (Chinese name Hu Lingyue) and Imre Tamara (Chinese name Song Zhixiao), in a letter to Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan, sent their Chinese New Year greetings on behalf of all students of the school.

In the letter, the two girls recounted their experience of studying Chinese in the school for 12 years and expressed their desire to study in Chinese universities and contribute to the friendship between Hungary and China.

Both of them are freshmen at the Capital Normal University in Beijing, studying how to teach Chinese to international students under a full scholarship.

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