Teaching Chinese Language in Pakistan - Part-II

    Written by: Aiza Azam
    Posted on: August 07, 2012 | Post your comment here Comments | 中文

    Teaching Chinese Language in Pakistan - Chinese Language Classes in Islamabad, Pakistan

    Teaching Chinese Language in Pakistan

    We talk more about how things were for them when they first moved here. Was it very difficult to adjust? They reveal that other than some initial culture shock it was not a difficult transition; both of them being Muslims (they belong to the Kazakh ethnic group), life in Pakistan was a rather smooth adjustment. And why was it that they chose to come here? What impelled them to leave their hometowns and go abroad? For Ayijiang, it was a long-held dream to go abroad to teach the Chinese language to foreigners, although, she admits, she did not know that she would do it so soon and specifically in Pakistan. When they were presented with the opportunity to come here and teach, both were excited about the prospect of going to a neighboring Muslim country.

    But was it hard for them to adjust to life away from home, friends and family? They explain that both had lived away from home for years, since they were teenagers; they had left to study and then work in other Chinese cities, therefore the new change was not difficult for them or their families. In fact, they laughingly add, being in Pakistan, they are actually closer to their families; from here to Urumqi it is only a two hour flight, whereas while living in other cities of China, they were often thousands of miles away from their hometown. What they do miss about China though, apart from friends and family, is the excellent public transportation system, which is missing here.

    And have they visited many places in and around Islamabad, or other cities? They relate their experience of having visited Murree, and especially praise the PC Bhurban, where they spent two days in luxurious comfort as they explored the beautiful countryside. Much of the rest of their spare time is taken up with participating in, and often organizing, cultural activities at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad.

    We discuss the concept of Pak-China friendship. I explain how in Pakistan, students from a very young age are taught about the strong bond between the two countries. I ask whether it is the same in China. They say that for a majority of the Chinese people, awareness of this all-weather friendship with their neighbor is not comparable to that which is found in Pakistan, with the exception of government employees or university students. They believe that the reason for this is that the focus of concern of the average Chinese citizen lies mostly in their studies and their work and not in politics. There is little reason to focus on this, or on international relations in general, unless it has a direct bearing on their education or professional careers.

    We discuss their opinion on the best ways to foster greater people to people contact and to enhance cultural understanding between the peoples of the two countries. They believe that both the Chinese and the Pakistani people must visit each other’s countries with the purpose of inculcating better understanding; it is not enough to merely go for tourism; Pakistanis ought to live in China, to work and study there, so they are able to observe things first hand and form an informed opinion and a deeper understanding; the same goes for Chinese citizens visiting Pakistan. Yeersen explains that one of their biggest motivations for teaching Chinese here is to encourage Pakistani students to go to China for further studies, and enroll in Chinese universities.

    Ayijiang says she feels the governments of both countries ought to promote greater cultural understanding. She argues that teachers of different subjects are required. There needs to be a formal and well organized structure which ensures that a number of teachers are sent to Pakistan on a regular basis to teach Chinese on a broader level.

    Before we wind up, I ask them about their future plans, and they express their interest in pursuing higher studies. For the moment, however, they would like to continue teaching here, and contribute to laying a solid foundation for the teaching of the Chinese language in Pakistan at the school level.

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