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A few years ago, when I was studying in China, I took part in a social group called “Mandarin House / Chinese Corner” once. It is a group of people, both Chinese and foreign, who have schedules for learning Chinese. It was a fun group. Plus, it was free.
When I joined, the Chinese corner was already quite large. We were about thirty people from different parts of the world. The majority of people have native roots in Vietnam. There were few Americans, English, and Germans. The Chinese people who have been a part of this Chinese corner migrated back to China for two or three years, and only half a year.
Consequently, they don’t speak with native fluency; thus, unable to communicate with us. Most of them come here as international students, Some of those who come to learn Chinese are under the guidance of university tutors or sent by a company to do some correlation research. As for Chinese participants, because of China’s vast territory and vast resources, people who come to the Chinese corner almost span half of China, and because of Mandarin Chinese, they also link the channels of communication.
In the beginning, the host briefly introduced several common Chinese classroom games for everyone, and then shared with foreign students the small games they had played in the Chinese classroom. Some foreign students also actively shared the fun games in their own country. The atmosphere of the on-site discussion was welcoming and assuaging.
The game session brings this Chinese corner to a climax. In the game of “You draw my guess”, five groups of students brought us wonderful and vivid performances, showing our rich association and imagination. The “Radish Squat” game was also greatly welcomed by the international students. At the end of the last game “Three-minute Dating”, foreign students and classmates all said they wanted to play again. It was a fun and excellent learning session.
The purpose of this activity is to introduce Chinese classroom games so that foreign students can enjoy learning and improve their interest in learning Chinese. During the activity, the host carefully prepared delicious snacks, lovely bookmarks, pen holders, notebooks, and other rich small gifts. The international heartily received the presents. In a happy atmosphere, this Chinese Corner activity ended successfully. For two hours, everyone has been happily talking to one another. We exchange careers, experiences, and interests with each other.
On the whole, Chinese Corner is the folk version of Confucius Institute. At present, there are hundreds of Confucius Institutes around the world. Confucius Institute mainly focuses on Chinese language teaching in the classroom and on campus. It also tackles the dissemination and proliferation of Chinese culture. The “Chinese Corner” is another form of Confucius Institute, which advocates for a relaxed and free communication-learning environment. While both learning groups maintain single advocacy, there are differences between them.
The Confucius Institute is formal and authoritative, and the Chinese corner is free and lively. Confucius Institute has a strong official color, and the Chinese corner has a folk color. The construction of the Confucius Institute needs to include various investments in the economy, and Chinese Corner can carry out colorful activities as long as the enthusiasm and perseverance of overseas Chinese.
The most famous “Chinese Corner” belongs to “Tokyo Chinese Corner”, which is a real folk communication group. Since its establishment, the “Sunday Chinese Corner” in Tokyo has become an important platform for Japanese people who care about China and Japanese people who share the same interest. The Tokyo Chinese Corner allowed Japanese people to communicate with each other and has gradually become an important window for spreading true Chinese information to overseas people. Rain or shine, has carried out hundreds of Chinese learning activities, becoming a brand-new platform and well-known brand for non-governmental exchanges between China and Japan.
When it comes to Chinese Corner, all Chinese learners, regardless of race and level, can actively participate. It is a culture that is of great help to learners. It became a medium of Chinese improvement and socialization that can expand one’s social circle.
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