Monday, March 6, 2017

Palestinian college students rush to take Chinese language course

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Birzeit University is now the first Palestinian college to teach the Chinese language, and officials there think a lone course could expand into a bachelor's program. 

Ahmad Melhem is a Palestinian journalist and photographer based in Ramallah for Al-Watan News. He writes for a number of Arabic outlets.


The university launched the course Feb. 11, at the beginning of the academic year's second term, and student interest has been high, Magdi Abu Zahra, director of the school's Department of Languages and Translation, told Al-Monitor.
"The call for registration in Chinese courses surprised the students because Chinese is among the toughest languages to learn in the world and differs from other foreign languages taught at the university," Abu Zahra said. "Still, there was a high turnout, and the required number of students to open the class, which is 25, was met. Due to the high number of students insisting on learning Chinese, 30 students were accepted instead of only 25, and other registration applications await approval."
In fact, although the course currently is open to students only, Abu Zahra said businesspeople and traders applied to take it, believing it could help them in their work, as they have economic and trade ties with China.