Rwandan students pose for a group photo with their Chinese teacher. [Photo/Chinesecio.com]
Chinese nationals who teach Chinese language and martial arts to Rwandans are enjoying their stay in the small Central African country, say teachers.
The teachers, who teach Chinese and Kungfu to Rwandan citizens, especially students, are working under a Confucius Institute program run by the Chinese government.
The core mission of the program aims to help people outside China understand the Chinese culture, language and art with the purpose of fostering social and economic development between Rwanda and China.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda was opened in June 2009, after friendly negotiations between the Chongqing Normal University (CQNU) from China, and the then Kigali Institute of Education, now University of Rwanda (UR).
"I am very happy to be in Rwanda and Africa. It was my first time to be in this great continent with such a good weather. I am enjoying my stay," says Su Wen, one of the volunteer teachers.
Wen, who was nicknamed "Mucyo," a Rwandan name that means light, by his students, has been in Rwanda since 2013. He teaches Chinese language and Chinese martial arts.
The 27-year-old, a graduate of masters of art and literature from Chongqing Normal University explains that he was inspired by his mother to come to Africa because his mother loved Africa.
"I came to Rwanda because I wanted to see Africa. When I was still young, my mother told me that Africa is a beautiful place so I wanted to come to Africa and experience African culture, food, language and environment," he says.
"I came to teach Chinese language and martial arts. I first taught students in the University of Rwanda, Huye campus where I taught Chinese language and Kungfu. Then I started teaching Kungfu in the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda (College of Education) and Chinese Language at the University of Rwanda (College of Science and Technology)."
Rwanda students learn Chinese martial arts. [Photo/Chinesecio.com]
When he reached in Rwanda, everything looked new to him-- the food, language and culture. "It was my first time to be in Africa. When I come to Rwanda I was challenged by food, language and culture but later on I enjoyed."
"I overcame the challenge through interactions with Rwandans. I have started learning Kinyarwanda and my friends in Rwanda called me "Mucyo". I love the name; I have started communicating with my students in Kinyarwanda. Challenges inspire me to work harder and achieve my goals," he says.
Wen is proud to teach Chinese language and Kungfu to Rwandans and he is inspired by the student's passion to learn.
"So many people in Rwanda love Kungfu and Chinese language. I teach more than 300 students Kungfu and Chinese language. I am so proud of students who have managed to learn Chinese Language and Kungfu," he noted.
Another Chinese language instructor, Tian Minna, a 25-year-old and a graduate of foreign language from Chongqing Normal University is thrilled by her stay in Rwanda and she calls Rwanda her second home.
"I have been here for one year but I am enjoying my stay in this beautiful country. Rwanda is clean and green. I love the atmosphere and the people here in this country. They are very friendly and welcoming," she says.
The gentle soft-spoken young woman says that she had an anxious feel of having a language barrier throughout the whole tenure in Rwanda, but now she has started learning Kinyarwanda within a short period of time.
"It was my first time to be in Africa and the weather is amazing. Africa is a great continent with green environment. I have enjoyed staying in Rwanda and I consider the country as my second home town," she explains.
"I have been teaching Chinese language in the University of Rwanda-Butare but then I started teaching at the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda (College of Education)," says Tian.
"I had challenges with regards to food and language but now through socializing with Rwandans I have overcome the challenges. The relationship between China and Rwanda is nice and I consider Rwanda one of the most peaceful countries in Africa," she added.