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Arabic learning gains popularity in western China

Updated: 2015-11-13 14:45:01

( Xinhua )

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The calligraphy piece of Arabic version of The Analects of Confucius .[Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Young Chinese people are becoming more interested in learning Arabic as the Belt and Road initiative begins to generate jobs and business opportunities.

In mainly muslim Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture, Gansu province, there are hundreds more students learning Arabic now than last year.

Linxia Vocational and Technical School offers three years of study similar to high school education. Xiang Jianping, vice principal of the school said, "Young people here have noticed new economic opportunities and more chances to travel to the Middle East."

Xiang has recruited 200 students this year to learn Arabic, almost four times the number recruited two years ago. This summer, 50 students have graduated. In Linxia, more than 2,000 students are learning Arabic, across four vocational schools.

Twenty of those graduates are pursuing further studies in Pakistan and Egypt. Others work as interpreters for companies with operations in UAE and Saudi Arabia, said Xiang, and most of the positions are well-paid.

The job prospects are even attracting students from other provinces.

"The language-learning atmosphere is much better than other places, with better teachers," said Tian Jianhui, 20, from southern China's Guangdong province.

"Students have to work very hard, but basic grammar can be grasped in a few months. They like learning the language," said Egyptian Hassan Mustafa, 30, who is a teacher at one of the vocational schools.

Last year, Chinese companies had businesses in Arab countries worth $255 billion, and Ma Yongming,deputy education chief in Linxia, said that bilingual Chinese/Arabic speakers are in great demand.


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