Students complete Chinese language community course

A total of 14 students who signed up for the Confucius Institute community courses at the National University of Samoa have successfully completed the program and were awarded certificates on Thursday.

The certificate awarding ceremony was held at the Confucius Institute at the N.U.S on Thursday evening with 12 of the students completing the beginners course and two enrolling in business communication. 

The Chinese language course is currently being taught by Hether Vaai and Brandon Chou Lee.

The Ambassador of China to Samoa, Chao Xiaoliang congratulated the graduating students in his address to mark the occassion.

“I learned that today, 14 students are about to be the first graduates from the course and receive the certificates ratifying their excellent study. I want to extend my warmest congratulations to you all on your fruitful achievements in learning Chinese language,” Ambassador Xiaoliang said.

“China and Samoa share long-standing tradition in people-to-people exchanges. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, our interactions and cooperation in cultural sector is still thriving with vigor.

“Teachers and volunteers of the Confucius Institute stay at their post and provide various language courses.”

He added that the Chinese community language course together with Chinese classes in local primary schools, National Disability Training Center and the N.U.S. generate increasing interest in Samoa to learn Chinese language and bring benefits to the Samoan people from many walks of life.

“As an old saying in Chinese goes, ‘the key to sound relations between states lies in the affinity between their peoples, which largely stems from mutual understanding’," he said. 

"Language is the bridge to promote culture exchange and deepen the understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

“Learning Chinese language brings Samoan students chances of appreciating the charm of the Chinese culture. Chinese Language is also the key to communicate with over 1.4 billion people, unlocking numerous job opportunities and competitive advantages in business.

“You may not only acquire the access to the variety of Chinese manufactured goods, but also tap into the potential of tremendous Chinese market."

The Ambassador he believes that with the momentum of exchanges and ongoing cooperation, the understanding and friendship between China and Samoa will be strengthened further.

“I would like to commend the great work of the Confucius Institute at NUS and wish the students present today to get more remarkable accomplishments in the future," he said. 

"I look forward to your contributions to promote China-Samoa exchanges and strengthen the bond between our two countries."

A Confucius Institute teachers, Heather Vaai expressed her appreciation to the N.U.S and the Confucius Institute for reviving the teaching of Chinese as part of it’s community program in Samoa using local expertise.

“This has been an interesting learning experience for the two of us,” she added. 

She also acknowledged the guidance and support of the N.U.S Vice Chancellor Aiono Alec Ekeroma, Acting Vice Chancellor Peseta Desmond Lee Hang and Dean of the Faculty of Arts Saui’a Dr. Louise Matai’a-Milo as well as the Head of the English and Foreign languages Department Lafaitele Fualuga Taupi.

“Lastly, Thank you students for your active participation and patience in trying to learn a foreign language," she said.

“Our ability to make the best of the global opportunities relies on our understanding and proficiency in the main international languages. Therefore I hope we are contributing in some way to creating an increasing pool of Samoans who can speak in Chinese.”

One of the students who had completed the beginners course, Agnes Wong Soon told the Samoa Observer that she is grateful for the learning opportunity.

For Mrs. Wong Soon she had taken a Chinese Language course ten years ago so for her it was a reminder of what she learned.

Asked about how confident she is to speak Chinese in Samoa, she said she feels very comfortable saying it is just like talking to another Samoan.

She said that it is just a normal greeting and goodbye but will only need assistance if they start a conversation about something else.

Ms. Wong Soon will continue to study the Chinese Language as they have completed the first part of the course and will now move on to the second part with her aim being to live and work in China.

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