- September 19, 2023 9:56 AM
- July 2, 2022 4:26 PM
- July 3, 2023 4:11 PM
The close ties between China and Cambodia have driven a "Chinese fever" among Cambodians, inspiring more students to learn the language and explore the culture behind it.
PHNOM PENH-- The passion to learn Chinese is on the rise among Cambodians as the two countries have enjoyed close ties in diverse spheres even during the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You Rong, a senior majoring in Chinese literature at the Asia Euro University (AEU) in Phnom Penh, said the huge influx of Chinese investors and tourists in recent years had motivated him to learn Chinese.
"In Cambodia, the number of Chinese people and investors have increased from year to year, and more importantly they always need Chinese-speaking persons to be their assistants or interpreters," he told Xinhua, saying the language had enabled him to get a decent job.
The 23-year-old student, who currently works as a storekeeper for the Chinese delivery app E-GetS, said Chinese proficiency is essential for him to communicate with Chinese colleagues. "With Chinese, it will be easy to communicate with them or to do business with them," he said.
"I think there is a vast job market for Chinese translators and it will be possible for them to earn a good income to support their families," he said.
Nem Sreang, a sophomore student in the major of Chinese literature, said a lot of Chinese people are coming to Cambodia for investments and holidays, offering the opportunities for lucrative jobs.
"Chinese language is widely used. No matter it's in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam or other countries, there are always Chinese people there for investments," she told Xinhua.
The 21-year-old student said her Chinese proficiency has well improved since all lecturers at the Department of Chinese Language at the AEU are native speakers.
"When I graduate, my goal is to run a private school offering Chinese and English languages as well as computer courses," Sreang said.
Junior student Lim Meavleng, who has learned Chinese since her childhood, said she wants to work as an interpreter after graduation so that she can introduce the tourist attractions and history of Cambodia to Chinese people.
"What motivated me to study Chinese is that I want to understand the history of China and the daily lives of Chinese people," 20-year-old Meavleng said. "If I have a chance to visit China, I want to go to Wanli Changcheng (the Great Wall of China) because when Chinese people come (to Cambodia), they always say the site is magnificent."
"Chinese language not only gives me the platform to communicate with Chinese people but also opens a door to a plethora of opportunities," said 24-year-old Kong Tifong, who dreams of pursuing his Master's degree in east China's Shanghai.
"After graduation, I want to be an international relations specialist because this kind of job will give me an opportunity to communicate internationally and to improve my public relations skills," he said.
He said close relations between China and Cambodia in politics, economics, trade, investment, tourism and culture have prompted Cambodians to learn Chinese.
Gan Min, Chinese director of the Confucius Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), said learning Chinese is very popular in the Southeast Asian nation when nearly 100,000 students had registered to study at the institute in the past 12 years during the pre-pandemic era.
She said the teaching sites of the Confucius Institute of the RAC are available in six Cambodian provinces and cities, with two Confucius classrooms, 19 Chinese language centers, and two university Chinese departments.
She said the AEU is one of a few universities in Cambodia providing Chinese language programs at degree levels with support from the Confucius Institute of the RAC and the Chinese Embassy to Cambodia.
Gan added that the university has been well equipped with digital equipment, so during the pandemic, students still can learn online with Chinese native lecturers.
"We hope that the pandemic will be over soon, so we can return to in-person classes again," she said.