South Africa launches student exchange program with China
A student exchange program was launched at South Africa's prestigious Stellenbosch University outside Cape Town on Friday as a fresh bid to boost cultural exchange between China and South Africa.
Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian and Koos Bekker, Chairman of South Africa's major media group Naspers, attended the launch ceremony.
Under the program sponsored by Naspers, two additional Mandarin lecturers from China will teach at Stellenbosch University for five years and a South African student will go to China to study Chinese.
In addition, a number of students from Wuhan College in China will visit South Africa for two weeks annually to attend cultural exchange programs covering a wide variety of topics.
Lin told reporters that the program will not only provide students in both countries with an opportunity to improve language skills but also help them understand each other's culture.
This will boost mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, he said.
Bekker told Xinhua that learning each other's language is vital to understanding each other's culture.
"We want to do our bid to develop cultural exchange between China and South Africa," Bekker said.
Stellenbosch University introduced Mandarin in 2000, becoming the first South African university to begin an undergraduate program in Mandarin. In 2012, the university began to issue a postgraduate degree in Mandarin.
Students who study Mandarin at Stellenbosch University have distinguished themselves at the annual Chinese Bridge Competition and regularly receive merit scholarships from the Chinese government for further study in China.