BEIJING—Armenian language courses are now being offered to Chinese university students in another example of the strengthening links between Armenia and China. The courses in Armenian language and culture will be offered for a second consecutive year at the prestigious Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) after a very successful launch year, with many of the enrolled Chinese students expressing the desire to continue their Armenian studies in Armenia.
Teaching Armenian in China is now the responsibility of Mary Knyazyan, a BFSU PhD student originally from Armenia who has been living in China for the past 2 years.
“BFSU is one of the most prestigious universities in China and Armenian is currently being taught to more than a dozen Chinese students as their 3rd foreign language. The Armenian language courses are completely optional and the fact that it was the students’ own choice inspires me significantly,” said Knzyazyan.
Henri Arslanian, President of the Armenian Community of China, affirmed the group’s commitment to support such intercultural educational initiatives.
“It is an honor and great pleasure to share with our Chinese friends our Armenian language, culture and history,” he said. “We are touched to see that they enjoy learning Armenian and about Armenian culture as much as we enjoy learning Mandarin and about Chinese culture.”
“When I heard that I can study Armenian at our university, I was very happy and enrolled immediately. Now I have a chance to get more acquainted with the culture of this wonderful country and I am sure I will travel to Armenia in the nearest future” said Huan Jianyu, a 21 year old student originally from Guanxi province.
The Chinese students have been very successful in their Armenian studies so far. “To my surprise, Armenian is not so difficult for Chinese students. They often find that Armenian letters look like Chinese characters and are able to pronounce the difficult Armenian pronunciations sounds like ձ [dz] ծ [tʼs], ց [ts] surprisingly smoothly” said Knyazyan. Besides language courses, the students also get acquainted with Armenian culture, Armenian history, watch Armenian movies and listen to Armenian music.
Shi Xingyu, a 21 year old student from Taiyuan, says that she chose Armenian as it is completely different from the other languages she had studied before, and believes it to be uniquely positioned as very few Chinese people can speak Armenian. “My major is international trade, and knowledge of the Armenian language can give me the opportunity to develop economic relations between Armenia and China.” she said.
The Armenian community of China and Hong Kong continues to strengthen Sino-Armenian friendship with the help of public diplomacy.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Armenian Community in China can do so by visiting the community’s website at www.chinahay.com