I have signed up for the Chinese Language class which is given by the Chinese Confucius Center at our university. I am so excited to learn Chinese (Mandarin), and increase the number of foreign languages I speak to two. I started the class yesterday, and it was not so bad. I have always thought that the Chinese is the most difficult language to learn on earth, but our Chinese teacher has told us that Chinese is even easier to learn than Russian and English. Actually, we will find out very soon if that is truly the case.
In my first class I learnt one interesting Chinese expression- Ni hao! Which means Hello! For the coming three months, I will learn the basics of Chinese, and then move to the advanced level. Next time you see me, please speak to me in Chinese! I promise, I will not laugh at your Chinese. If you make mistakes, rely on me, I will help you to correct it.
By the way, the Confucius Institution started Chinese language classes at Hawassa University three years ago, and so far they have graduated hundreds of students with certificates and diploma in Chinese Language. They have also awarded scholarships for three students who had high scores in the Chinese Language to study China and experience Chinese Culture. As of next year, they are going to launch Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Language as per the agreement reached between Hawassa University and the Chinese Confucius Institution based in Addis Ababa. Moreover, the Chinese government has revealed that it would offer 100 scholarships for Ethiopian students to study in China in the coming three years.
With the influence of China growing worldwide particularly in Africa, I believe it won’t be bad for boys and girls in the universities to learn Chinese as it will enable them get job opportunities in Chinese companies which are mushrooming everywhere in Africa. Particularly, in Ethiopia, the Chinese population is increasing from time to time. The Chinese are the largest foreign investors in Ethiopia. In this country, they are engaged in road and rail way construction, telecommunication and electricity expansion, education, manufacturing, oil search and so on. They are also known for the huge amount of aid and loan money they provide to the Ethiopian government. In the other parts of Africa, they are doing the same as well.
To make their influence worldwide more apparent, the Chinese are working to make Chinese language to be used outside the Chinese territory. Chinese Language is No 1 by the number of people who speak the language, yet it is confined to the mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Now, China is the second largest economy in the world and they want their influences to be felt worldwide.
Thus, they have recognized that it is high time for them to teach their language and culture to the other parts of the world in order to assume more influential role in the international arena. They are aggressively teaching Chinese Language in many countries of Africa for free, and it appears that after a decade or so many Africans will speak Chinese in addition to the well established foreign languages such as English and French.