SZE’s free Chinese language course for children a success

In spring, Széchenyi István University launched a Chinese language course for primary school children, which, thanks to the support of the institution, is free of charge. Interest in the course has exceeded expectations, so the language classes will continue from September. Széchenyi István University has extensive international connections, and as a result, the Chinese Visiting Professor who lectures on the English-taught Civil Engineering programme, also contributed to the course.

Réka Orosz-Barczi, Head of the Centre for International Programmes at Széchenyi István University, said at the launch of the programme that the University is opening up to the people of the region with this initiative and providing them with an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge.

At the end of the semester, evaluating the first semester of the course, she said that the interest in the opportunity was much higher than previously expected. About 50 people registered for the programme and 30-40 participants were present throughout the training.

"The children remained extremely enthusiastic and persistent, and even several parents stayed with us throughout and joined in the lessons. This gave the students the opportunity to practise with their parents at home," said the Centre manager, who, having previously worked as a Chinese language teacher, was no stranger to teaching young students.

Kép1 (Chinese lessons).jpgChildren and parents had the opportunity to learn together at the language course at Széchenyi István University (Photo: Csaba József Májer)

She added that the young people showed how much they enjoyed learning the language, even practising writing Chinese characters diligently week after week, and the assistance of the Chinese guest professor was a great help in improving their pronunciation. In addition to language teaching, the programme also incorporated cultural knowledge. Réka Orosz-Barczi pointed out that the course will continue in September.

Nanett Illangó Szapáry has been a participant in the course since the beginning and, as she said, she has no regrets about having signed up.

"We came across the opportunity on the Internet and, as I was very curious about Chinese, we took the online trial class and since then I have been coming to the university regularly to study," she said. She added that although the language is harder than she expected, especially the punctuation is difficult, she really enjoys the classes, is doing well and is confident she will have the opportunity to continue.

kép2 Chinese language course.jpgMónika Dudás and Nanett Szapáry Illangó (Photo: Csaba József Májer)

Her mother, Mónika Dudás, said that she herself stayed in the classes, so she could see for herself what a well-structured, fun atmosphere the young people can participate in thanks to Széchenyi István University. "I believe that the more languages you speak, the more opportunities you have in life. My daughter is learning English and now she has also started Chinese, and I see that the children are very receptive to learning new things." - said the mother, who is supporting her daughter to continue learning the language from next term.

Széchenyi István University has increasingly extensive Chinese connections, with three per cent of the international students enrolled in its 36 English-taught programmes being Chinese, and with the aim of building a Chinese student community. To this end, the institution is cooperating with Chinese companies, including Huawei, and is continuously expanding its Chinese educational links (it currently has agreements with 16 universities in China). A total of 57 applicants from 16 countries applied for the visiting professorship scheme announced last year.

Professor Lin Guangping has been involved in lecturing on the English-taught Bachelors and Masters programmes in Civil Engineering, but has also been a regular participant in Chinese language classes. He said it was his first time in Europe, but he was immediately attracted to Győr and the Széchenyi University campus.

"The institution is a modern, dynamic, international university, with an international level of education and a vitality that permeates the day-to-day running of the faculties. The campus offers excellent educational and housing facilities and the natural wonders of the riverside. It is an ideal place to study and to live," said the visiting professor.

Kép3 Chinese lessons.jpgRéka Orosz-Barczi, Head of SZE’s Centre for International Programmes and Professor Lin Guangping

(Photo: Csaba József Májer)

In relation to the city, he stressed, "Győr is extremely liveable, clean, peaceful, friendly and welcoming. For me, the most impressive thing is the architecture, as it is very different from Chinese architecture. Every building is a work of art. Small streets intersect each other, where it's really pleasant to walk, but wandering along the riverside is the most amazing experience!"

He added that his time here has been full of events and experiences, and he has developed a lot both professionally and personally, and has built up excellent contacts. He said that the Chinese language course for children was a surprise, but that he found the opportunity very useful because China's role in the economy and the increasing economic globalisation are making language skills more important. The first semester of the course ended with a playful naming ceremony, during which the students were given Chinese names.

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