KIGALI, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Sights that epitomize Chinese culture filled a students' hall at the recent Chinese Culture Exhibition at the University of Rwanda's College of Education Rukara campus, in eastern Rwanda.
The first to be organized outside the capital city Kigali, since the outbreak of coronavirus, the theme of this year's event was to experience Chinese culture as part of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Rwanda.
The event organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda featured several parts, where winners walked away with prizes. Singing Chinese poetry, speaking Chinese, writing Chinese characters, tasting Chinese tea, wearing Chinese clothes, singing Chinese songs, dancing Chinese and drawing Chinese arts were the highlights.
The event attracted students of all academic levels practicing to speak Chinese or writing Chinese characters, or who wanted to learn more about Chinese culture.
Selected students introduced their fellow students to Chinese culture on display.
Students were first charmed by Kungu-fu performances by young people from Chow Mantis Club from Nyamirambo in Kigali, and encouraged to take part in cultural challenges guided by other Chinese language students.
In the exhibition hall, Chinese costumes were one of the most eye-catching pieces at the cultural exhibition, where students took turns to try them out and pose for pictures.
"Yes, I'm excited to put on this Chinese attire," Concessa Mushimiyimana, a level-one Mathematics, Biology and Education student told Xinhua, proudly showing off the outfit.
"Singing Chinese songs, dancing, Kungu-fu, it was all exciting," she said, adding that at any opportunity she would start to take Chinese language lessons.
Alexis Kamukama, another student, said the exhibition shone light on various aspects of Chinese culture.
Speaking at the event, Florien Nsanganwimana, the Acting Principal of the University of Rwanda-College of Education, thanked the Chinese government for the good collaboration with the Rwandan government, without which he said the establishment of the Confucius Institute couldn't have been possible.
"Culture is something broad, entailing the whole life of the population. Each culture has something unique worth learning from. This exhibition event is therefore an opportunity to open our minds, give us an exposure to Chinese culture. You can learn from their culture," he said.
The college's wish is to hold the exhibitions more regularly so that students can learn from it.
Nsanganwimana encouraged more students to enroll for free Chinese language lessons at the institute.
"The world is full of opportunities, you may need to travel to China for further studies or business. And language being a tool of communication, you will need it," he said.
Zhang Xiaohong, with the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda, observed that the exhibition event is such a chance to have a glimpse of Chinese language and culture.
"The friendship between countries lies in the affinity between the people. Our people-to-people exchanges have enormously expanded, and mutual learning of the two cultures has been greatly promoted," he said.
Language and culture, according to him, are the bridges of communication and catalyst of the people to people exchanges.
Over the past half-century, Rwanda and China have fostered a multidimensional and full-fledged relationship.
Zhang underlined that through the Chinese language and culture, you can only better connect with one fifth of the world's population living on another continent, but also grasp the latest news of the biggest developing country, and read into the country's 5000-thousand years of history.
"We have also seen many examples of Rwandan young people, who learned Chinese and studied in China, and made great contributions to the society of Rwanda," he said.
The relations in areas ranging from politics, trade, investment, infrastructure, to education, have yielded remarkable results, according to the official, and the two countries are building a relationship of brotherhood.
Over the years, people-to-people exchanges have enormously expanded, with over 5,000 students enrolled at the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda, and more than 2,000 registered with the Rwanda Kung-Fu Wushu Federation.
Noting that hundreds of Rwandan students have received scholarships to study in China every year, Zhang said more and more Chinese begin to learn about Rwanda and visit the country for sightseeing and business.
Zeng Guangyu, co-director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda explained that the event focused on displaying Chinese culture.
The purpose of the activity is to get to know, understand and experience Chinese culture through different ways, said Zeng.
Students usually do not have the opportunity to focus on Chinese culture, so they are able to experience the real and dimensional Chinese culture by participating in the event, he added.
Many of the challengers have not learned Chinese; they were starting from scratch, according to Zeng. Enditem