If not for one thing but the opinion that the Chinese language is extremely difficult. Olga Mustafayeva, Director of the Chinese Centre, Chinese language teacher, tells us how students of the Additional Education Institute of the Samara National Research University master hieroglyphs.
- Tell us, what is the main difficulty of learning Chinese?
- The first difficulty is its writing. Hieroglyphic writing is so different from what we are used to that it takes time to adapt and master it. One must use different types of memory, show patience and diligence.
Another difficulty is its phonetics. There are four tones in Chinese, the meaning of a word depends on how it is pronounced. Many students complain: about having no ear for music, and are afraid of never learning the language. In fact, here everything also depends on diligence. In China, one and a half billion people live, and it is hard to believe that everybody of them has a musical ear. If there is a goal and the power of intention, any task can be completed.
We invite everyone who wants to learn the language to the Chinese Centre of Samara University! We are engaged in translations, popularization of Chinese culture, and help students who go for an internship in China. But the main activities for the Centre to implement are educational. Come to our language club, chat with volunteers, including native speakers, listen to the sounds of Chinese speech. This is free of charge, and can help make a decision and choose a training program.
- Who can be interested in your programs?
- We have four main categories of attendees. Firstly, these are senior-school pupils and students to be going to get higher education or to continue their studies abroad, with enrolling in Chinese universities.
Another category is elementary-school and middle-school pupils. The earlier a person starts learning a foreign language, the easier it is for them to do it. And nowadays you can also take the Unified State Exam in Chinese, it is included in the All-Russian Schoolchildren Olympiad.
The third category of attendees are entrepreneurs working with Chinese companies. They want to communicate in a business format in their partners’ language. Moreover, knowledge of the language makes it possible for us to better understand mental attitudes of the Chinese, which, as you know, are very different from our view of the world.
And one more audience are foreign language teachers who intend to expand their language competencies, realizing how great relevance and demand for knowledge of the Chinese language is today.
- What programs do you offer and what is their duration?
- It depends on the goal that the attendee wants to achieve. The Additional Education Institute of Samara University has the program “Practice of spoken and written Chinese.” In its framework, students move from the starter to the advanced level. You can attest your level at the standardized Chinese language qualification exam HSK. Duration of the training depends on the attendees’ desire and capabilities.
If you decide to take up language-learning seriously, it will take at least two to three years. So, the professional retraining program “Teaching Chinese in the field of preschool, secondary (school) education” is 772 academic hours of classes. You can enroll the program if you’ve got higher education or are in the process of getting it. This is a very promising area: as significance of the Chinese language in the world increases; the demand for Chinese teachers and Chinese-speaking specialists in various fields and industries will grow.
- What will the attendee following the results of each of the three years of study?
- The first year guarantees the initial level in mastering the language. You will be able to discuss everyday topics, read short texts, watch and understand Chinese cartoons. But it is still far from translating and teaching Chinese.
At the end of the second year, attendees take the international language exam in Kazan or Moscow. We are engaged in supporting this process, assisting in passing the exam and getting the appropriate certificate. After two years of study, you know Chinese enough to enroll in a master’s degree program at Chinese universities, do translations, read serious literature.
After three years of study, you will be able to fluently communicate in Chinese, conduct business correspondence, and teach Chinese. You will be able to enroll in Chinese universities for linguistic specialties, work at Russian enterprises that closely cooperate with China, in Chinese companies.
- What format are the classes held in?
- Two or three classes are held weekly. We combine training formats. We mostly meet offline. The online option is also possible, which we were forced to switch to during the pandemic. But our students are primarily interested in face-to-face classes.
- When and how can I apply for participation in the Chinese language learning program?
- Long-term programs will start in late September — early October of this year. Groups for short-termed programs are formed as they are completed. To apply, you need to contact the Additional Education Institute of Samara University or the University Chinese Centre.