Zhejiang International Studies University

Enjoyable Exchange between China and Mexico

The successful conclusion of the March Break Camp, the 2014 annual Chinese Bridge Project

A mission of 20 consisting of students and teachers from the Confucius Institute, Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Mexico, arrived in ZISU for a March Break Camp on April 15. This camp was intended to provide the mission with an opportunity to learn Chinese and experience Chinese culture for ten days, in the spirit of the arrangement of the National Office of the Directing Group of the International Dissemination of Chinese.

Cao Renqing, vice president of ZISU, attended the opening ceremony held on April 16 and delivered an opening speech. He said that ZISU has been making great efforts to promote the internationalization of education for the purpose of the cultivation of application-oriented talents with an international vision and the provision of better service for the development of the local economy, and that the reception of the delegation was a significant measure ZISU has taken to serve teachers and students and participate in foreign cultural exchanges. “He that reads extensively knows more.” Cao Renqing encouraged the Mexico students to cherish this opportunity to study, to exchange, and to make Chinese friends, reflecting on the cultural similarities and differences and serving as folk envoys.

Gabriel Terrés, Consul General, and Emmanuel Chávez, Cultural Consul, of Mexican Consulate General in Shanghai, at the invitation of ZISU, came to Hangzhou to visit the March Break Camp mission and attend the opening ceremony of “2nd Sino-Mexican Cultural Week”, accompanied by Shu Peidong, director of the Foreign Affairs Office, Provincial Department of Education, and Hong Gang, president of ZISU. During the interview, GabrielTerrés said that the folk exchanges between China and Mexico could date back to as early as 500 years ago, and that this year marked the 42nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the second year of the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, which could be regarded as an indicator of the mutual expectation and the promising prospects of the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in economy, trade, culture, art and education. Furthermore, he stressed that the Mexican Consulate General in Shanghai has been committing itself to the promotion of the exchanges between the youth of the two countries. In conclusion, he expressed his hope that the Mexican students could derive both knowledge and enlightenment from this camp and take concrete actions to enhance the development of the friendly relationship between the two countries.

Mr. Salvador Suarez, PAS, and Ms. Patricia, special assistant to the ambassador, of Mexican Embassy in China, came all the way from Beijing to Hangzhou to take part in the weekend one-day tour arranged for Chinese and Mexican students, with an aim to address the Mexican students’ questions or confusion concerning the Sino-Mexican relationship and the folk exchanges between the two countries. During the tour, they, together with the students, experienced the Chinese tea culture and savored the famous tea at Meijiawu Teahouse, appreciated the charm of Buddhism and were baptized in a different religion in Lingyin Temple, and enjoyed the exquisite and delicious Hangzhou Cuisine at the “Grandmother’s”. Seeing the delegation blended happily with their Chinese partners and speaking highly of their experience in China, the two officials felt greatly relieved.

Learning Chinese and experiencing Chinese culture are the highlight of this Mexican March Break Camp. ZISU divided the delegation into three groups based on the results of a proficiency test in order to teach them according to their Chinese competence. 5 classroom learning experiences featured different themes and various highlights, involving the overseas students in entertaining learning activities ranging from such classes as listening and speaking, learning Chinese through songs, and learning to write Chinese characters, to such games as “who is the killer”, “counting 24 points” and others. On April 20, this Spring Camp mission also came to the Gem Mountain at the bank of West Lake to have a Chinese class in the “Book Bar of Innocent Age”, a natural classroom known as “the cultural landmark of Hangzhou”, getting a keen sense of the elegant bearing of this city in terms of its opening up, its tolerance, and its harmony. In addition, the Mexican students also attended such classes as martial arts, Chinese calligraphy, and music appreciation in ZISU.

Having already been studying in ZISU for more than six months, Alan, Brenda from Mexico joined delightedly in the working group responsible for all the details regarding receiving his compatriots through bidding them farewell at the airport the instant she got to know their arrival. She helped to provided the chefs in the hotel with a menu favored by Mexicans and shop for some snacks for the mission, and co-hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the camp. As a medicine major, Alan also served as a physician and a photographer for the mission, and planned and hosted a meeting designed to share experiences in the cultural similarities and differences between China and Mexico. April 21 witnesses the birthday of Mara,an Italian student living in the apartment for overseas students. On this special day, the March Break Camp mission presented her a cake and greeting cards thanks to the considerate preparation of the teachers, exhibiting the genuine Mediterranean friendship on this campus. The responsibility of taking photos throughout the camp was taken by a Spanish student, whose native language, age, and literacy enabled him to have blended harmoniously with the mission without any barriers, thus rendering the video reviewing this experience brilliant, colorful and humorous.

On the closing ceremony of the camp on the morning of April 24, 2014,  the Mexican students involved in the March Break camp, the “Chinese Bridge” Project, recalled the happy time of 9 days spent together with the Chinese teachers and students by way of watching the videos, sharing the campers’ unforgettable moments, and collecting certificates. The laughters, the applauses, and the farewell hugs throughout the ceremony means much more than cultural exchanges between China and Mexico.