Chinese Language Education in the South Pacific

Joanne Cilia Vosalevu, a 23-year-old Fijian woman, recently embarked on a year-long Chinese language study journey in Beijing. She had been studying Chinese for three years prior to coming to China, and her love for Chinese culture was influenced by her mother and her exposure to Chinese reality shows and dramas.

Joanne’s talent in various forms of Chinese art was recognized at the Confucius Institute in Fiji, where she won the Chinese Bridge Chinese Preliminary Competition and received an International Chinese Language Teachers Scholarship (CLEC). The CLEC is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education and aims to provide quality services for people worldwide to learn Chinese and understand China.

The Confucius Institute at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji has been instrumental in providing opportunities for individuals in the South Pacific island countries to learn Chinese. The institute offers Chinese courses to students at USP and other universities, as well as middle and elementary schools, local government officials, and interested residents.

In addition to language courses, the institute also provides cultural courses in areas such as paper cutting, tea art, and Chinese painting. These courses allow local students to experience the uniqueness of Chinese culture and promote cross-cultural communication.

The USP Confucius Institute has established Confucius classrooms in Fiji’s Lautoka, Vanuatu, and the Cook Islands. It has also expanded its reach through online Chinese credit courses, reaching a total of 12 countries in the South Pacific region. Over the past decade, the institute has offered numerous Chinese language courses and trained thousands of students.

The government of Fiji has recognized the contributions of the Confucius Institute in cultivating Chinese language talents and improving the education system. Fiji’s Minister for Education hopes that the institute will continue to provide quality language courses and use language and culture as a bridge for long-term cooperation between Fiji and China.

Chinese language education in the South Pacific is not limited to Fiji. In the Solomon Islands, the Chung Wah School, founded by the Chinese community, teaches Chinese as part of its tradition. The school, despite having mostly non-Chinese students, aims to expose its students to diverse cultures.

The promotion of Chinese language education in the South Pacific is fostering friendship and understanding between China and the island nations in the region. This cultural exchange is not only enriching individuals but also strengthening the relationship between countries.