Chinese director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Montenegro, Luo Chunxia, in an interview for the Montenegro magazine, revealed her admiration of Montenegro, the intention to strengthen ties between the two countries and stressed that all who want to know her country and language are welcome.
Luo Chunxia was born in Anhui Province, China. She is an associate professor at the Faculty of Foreign Languages at Changsha University of Science and Technology. She is the chief supervisor, and the field of her research is literature and Shakespeare, she teaches English language at college.
What do you like most about Montenegro and our culture?
– There are many charming aspects in Montenegro. First, people here are very kind and friendly towards us. They are positive, tall and wonderful. Men are handsome, women are beautiful. Secondly, nature is wonderful. You have mountains, the sea, rivers, lakes and forests that are incredibly beautiful, fresh air and healthy food. Third, ,,the culture of coffee” in Montenegro is very interesting to me. And deutsch coffee is my favourite type, because it shows how Montenegrin treat their life. I can see it in everyone around me – they are trying to make life easier and more comfortable. ,,With coffee through life” is a fun attitude.
Which customs from your country do you practice here?
– Apart from teaching the language, we present some customs to our students and friends. For example, we present them Chinese festivals such as Spring festival, Festival of dragon ships and Autumn festival and we always celebrate these festivals with them. At the same time, we present our Chinese cooking to them, teach them how to cook Chinese food and then we enjoy eating it together. Some of our professors teach them Chinese music, drawing, dancing and calligraphy. At Niksic, for example, one of the things professor Mrs. Wuling is teaching her students is „Guzheng“. It is a traditional Chinese instrument more than 2.000 years old. Sometimes we talk to our students about the traditional Chinese clothes such as „Qipao“ and „Han“… This way the students are getting to know Chinese philosophy: harmony and self-control. We have students in the special school that always love listening to Chinese music which calms them down when they are worried or anxious.
What did you adopt from our culture?
– As I said, leisurely way of life first. You know better how to enjoy life, relax and enjoy coffee, wine and beer and how to stay positive. Also, we are trying to learn how to prepare Montenegrin meals, some of know how to make ćevapi. People whose mind and thoughts are free can only be creative. That is what people should learn from Montenegrin culture.
What was the initial capsule for the establishment of the Confucius institute in Montenegro?
– China and Montenegro have excellent historical connections that are getting better and better. We need each other and we can help each other. Confucius institute is a cultural educational institution and our obligation is to provide language courses, cultural events and various scholarships. Everyone who is interested in China and Chinese culture are welcome, because more and more people from both cultures can better get to know each other and then we can enjoy development and benefits of communion together.
How interested are Montenegrin citizens to learn about Chinese culture?
– We have more than 500 registered students and that number is increasing. Pupils come from kindergartens, elementary and high schools, universities and colleges. More and more students are applying for Chinese scholarships. Many of them wish to participate in the Chinese Bridge contest and the Summer camp. All pupils who visited China on their student trips, organized by us, were excited and impressed with that country. They also changed the original picture they had about China.
What is important to you that Montenegrin citizens learn and know about Chinese culture?
– Montenegro is a tourist country which means it meets multiple cultures and needs to attract more tourists. The Chinese are one of the largest groups in the world and will be an important tourist source. Also, the Chinese language has six levels, and students of the Confucius institute who have completed Level 4 have high paid jobs in relation to that language. So, if you are interested in Chinese culture and want a good job, come to us.
China is the oldest country with the oldest language in the world. Is it not interesting to speak a language 5.000 years old? Chinese and Montenegrin cultures are quite different. Students who learn Chinese feel that two cultures can stand side by side and learn from each other. Montenegro and China need help from one another, why should we not help them and become more powerful together? And learning Chinese is the first step to make these two nations closer.
What do you show to students of your Institute during study visits that you organize?
– We do our best to show them all aspects of China. We take them to Beijing to show them the Forbidden City and fast trains that can go more than 300 km an hour … They visit historic sites and can feel Chinese culture, such as drawing, calligraphy, music … During these visits, they live in hotels, homes or even with local families and thus getting the feel of the country in every sense.
Do you expect General Conference of all Confucius institutes to be held at the end of this year and where?
– Definitely. I believe everyone who works at Confucius institute is looking forward to it. I also hope that the conference will be held in Montenegro as soon as possible so that people can see what beautiful country this is.
What are your plans for the future strengthening of the Institute's relations with the institutions in Montenegro?
– Cooperation between the Confucius institute and Montenegrin institutions is always open. We are in contact with the University, faculties and schools. We offer language courses and cultural activities to the institutions that need us. We will continue to provide different levels of tuition to students. We will offer the Chinese Bridge contest and the Summer Camp for students. These are all good opportunities for them. We very much hope that the Chinese language can coexist with other languages in Montenegro, and be available to anyone who wants to learn it. We are always there.
Photo: Private archive