Chinese language becoming increasingly popular in Lebanon
Published: Jul 21, 2021 05:23 PM
The Chinese language has become increasingly popular among Lebanese students over the past five years, said Antoine Hokayem, the local director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ), in a recent exclusive interview with the Xinhua News Agency.

"In the past, Lebanese students used to register for the Chinese language as an elective course. Today, we receive students from the USJ and other universities who aim to learn the Chinese language to either work in China or continue their education in the East Asian country," Hokayem said on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the institute.

Hokayem told Xinhua that engineering and telecommunication students are the main people interested in the language as they aim to continue their higher education in China, which is advanced in the two fields.

"Some of our students have shown great interest in continuing their education in Chinese universities to develop their skills in specific majors," he said.

Other students attend the institute's courses with a view to assisting parents who are engaged in trade activities with Chinese partners, Hokayem added.

"We have small children who learn the language and speak fluently with their Chinese teachers... More than half of our students now come from outside of our university," he noted.

The number of students who have registered with the Confucius Institute since its establishment 15 years ago in Lebanon stands at 3,982, according to the Lebanese professor. 

Founded in 2006 through a partnership between China's Shenyang Normal University and USJ, the Confucius Institute at USJ was selected as one of the best Confucius institutes the world over for its unique cultural and social activities.

Over the past years, the institute has held lectures covering topics including China's economy and cultural values as well as Peking Opera and the Belt and Road Initiative.

In addition to spreading  Chinese culture among Lebanese students, the Confucius Institute at USJ has also  established strong ties with Chinese universities such as the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which offers great expertise in physiotherapy and acupuncture.

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