Cambodian students find Chinese helps career plan

Updated: 2022-03-02 08:49
( China Daily )

Chinese illustrated books are shown to schoolchildren in Phnom Penh on Nov 1, as part of cultural exchanges between China and Cambodia. OUYANG KAIYU/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

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 student majoring in Chinese literature at the Asia Euro University in Phnom Penh, says the huge influx of Chinese investors and tourists in recent years has 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 people to be their assistants or interpreters," he says.

The 23-year-old student, who currently works as a storekeeper for the Chinese delivery app E-GetS, says Chinese proficiency is essential for him to communicate with Chinese colleagues.

"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 says.

Nem Sreang, a student majoring in Chinese literature, says a lot of Chinese people are coming to Cambodia for investments and holidays, offering the opportunities for lucrative jobs.

The 21-year-old says her Chinese proficiency has improved since all lecturers at the department of Chinese language at the Asia Euro University 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 says.

Junior student Lim Meavleng, who has learned Chinese since childhood, says 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 wanted to understand the history of China and the daily lives of Chinese people,"20-year-old Meavleng says.

"If I have a chance to visit China, I want to go to the Great Wall because when Chinese people come (to Cambodia), they always say the site is magnificent."

Kong Tifong, a 24-year-old student, says he hopes to pursue his master's degree in Shanghai.

"Chinese language not only gives me the platform to communicate with Chinese people but also opens a door to a plethora of opportunities," he says.

"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 says 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 at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, says learning Chinese is popular in the Southeast Asian nation.

Nearly 100,000 students have registered to study at the institute in the past 12 years.

She says the classrooms of the Confucius Institute are available in six Cambodian provinces and cities, with two Confucius classrooms, 19 Chinese-language centers and two university Chinese departments.

The Asia Euro University, she adds, is one of a few universities in Cambodia providing Chinese-language programs at the degree level, with support from the Confucius Institute and the Chinese embassy in Cambodia.

She says the university is well-equipped with digital equipment, so during the pandemic, students can learn online with Chinese lecturers.

"We hope that the pandemic will be over soon, so we can return to in-person classes again," Gan says.