Chinese students see future in learning Sinhala

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Chinese students see future in learning Sinhala

By Isuri Kaviratne

They are from China but have been given Sinhala names by the Department of Chinese Language which they use enthusiastically. “Ajith” Shang Jian finds life at the University of Kelaniya exciting since there are students studying a variety of subjects.

Chinese-Sri Lankan cultural show held be the students

Shang Jian is one of 20 students from China now at Kelaniya University. “Since we too study Sinhala, it’s easy to communicate with the other students and learn more about Sri Lankan culture,” he said.
But thoughts of home are also present and to mark the 59th Chinese Independence Day, which fell on October 1, the students from China along with the Students’ Union of the Kelaniya University held a Chinese-Sri Lankan Cultural Show later in the month depicting various aspects of the two cultures.

The students are enrolled in a six-month course at the University to study Sinhala, which they said, would be beneficial when they return to China to continue their studies at the Beijing Foreign Students’ University where there is a Sinhala Language Department offering a degree course.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, they were enthusiastic about their experiences in Sri Lanka so far. “Lakmini” Yinyu Lu said that Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and the University too was beautiful. “We don’t have many trees in our universities in China. But here it’s different and the greenery adds more colour to the University and to the country as well.”

But, she admits, the climate is somewhat difficult to bear. “Suyama” Jun Gao too said that he is glad he enrolled in this course to study in Sri Lanka, despite the security constraints that have limited their movements somewhat.

Studying Sinhala has many advantages in China in business, diplomacy and teaching fields. “China needs more Chinese people speaking Sinhala,” he said.

Shang Jian added that with the strong diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and China now in its 50th year, there would be many opportunities for them when they return to China.

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