Learning Chinese at China Cultural Center in Berlin

Updated: 2019-09-30 14:48

Maike Kessler and Keno Budde, mother and son, sit down for an interview at the China Cultural Center in Berlin, Sept 24, 2019. [Photo by Feng Minghui/chinadaily.com.cn]

Maike Kessler, a German doctor; Keno Budde, an undergraduate student at the Free University of Berlin

Maike Kessler and Keno Budde are mother and son, and both are learning Chinese at the China Cultural Center in Berlin.

Asked why he's learning Chinese, Budde, who previously studied English and French, replied, "I made the decision after I saw clearly what will happen in the future, and with which country I will most likely interact the most."

He's fascinated with some of the latest technologies coming from China. "Technologies such as mobile payment originated in China in the form we know today. A lot of things I would like to be implemented in Europe are already in China," the young man added.

Having traveled to China twice, Budde was impressed with China's convenient and fast internet connectivity, the high-speed trains, mobile payment, and Huawei's leading position in the 5G race.

"Paying in cash is annoying as we often queue up for a long time. But mobile payment has worked in China just flawlessly and it's been a real cool experience for me," Budde said to China Daily Website.

A fan of Chinese technologies, Keno uses the first-generation OnePlus mobile phone and really likes its "user-friendly attitudes, good updates and great customer services".

"Both my brother and my girlfriend are using Huawei P20. I'm considering switching to Huawei, too," the young man said, laughing.

Budde noted that many of his friends are learning Chinese. "Learning a language gives you the insight into a country's culture. And from the economic perspective, learning Chinese can give us more opportunities in the future as China is Germany's major trade partner, " Budde explained.

Budde's enthusiasm for Chinese and China's modern technologies is inherited from his mother, Kessler, who learned Chinese for a semester some 30 years ago and since then has been fond of the culture beneath the language.

As a doctor, Kessler said she enjoyed learning Chinese by watching two Chinese medical drama TV series – Surgeons and Distance of Love.

She visited Hong Kong and Kunming 30 years ago, and in the last five years, made an annual business trip to Shanghai. "China's social progress is rapid and very impressive," Kessler said.

"In Berlin, I don't like using public transport, but in Shanghai, I really like taking the metro, which is much cleaner than that in Berlin," Kessler added.

Kessler and her son will travel to Nanjing and Suzhou in October. They have booked high-speed train tickets in advance to experience this iconic Chinese innovation on the trip.

Yang Xiaoyu contributed to the story.