Chinese for Europeans
The Project „Chinese for Europeans” addresses the needs resulting from bilateral relationships between EU and China. According to the Eurostat, each year the volume of import and export between the two partners is increasing. The number of European students and tourists visiting China is also growing systematically. The project will directly respond to the growing demand for educational materials concerning Chinese, in the form of profiled courses for entrepreneurs, tourists, students and children.
The Project results will comprise five modules containing materials at A1 level (according to the Common European Framework for Languages) and translated into 23 official EU languages.
The project "Chinese for Europeans" aims at: bringing the Chinese language and culture closer to the representatives of various age groups from all EU Member States; promoting the idea of Lifelong Learning; promoting the intercultural dialogue; implementing innovative methodologies and ICT tools in the field of Lifelong Learning; improving the linguistic and intercultural competences of the project end users.
Specific objectives of the project are: providing free and easily accessible educational materials for Europeans traveling to China for personal, professional, educational or tourist reasons; facilitating contacts between the citizens of EU Member States and Chinese immigrants; enhancing the motivation and learning capacity of Europeans to enable them to face the challenge of learning Chinese.
Currently China is the second biggest business partner of the EU. The statistics provided by Eurostat show, that the volume of trade exchange between the two parties is growing every year. According to the official European document “China. Strategy Paper 2007 – 2013” the bilateral relationships in the coming years will develop and cover new areas of activity. Apart from business contacts, the number of common projects in the fields of education and culture will increase. Therefore it is very important to familiarize EU citizens with Chinese language, culture and way of thinking.
Various sources, including Chinese authorities, estimate that about 25-40 million people all over the world are learning Chinese as a foreign language and this number is growing rapidly. However, these statistics include people of Chinese origin living abroad and even representatives of minorities living in China. Most Europeans still think of Chinese as an extremely difficult language and do not even begin to learn. Within the European Commission funded EU-China Managers Exchange and Training Programme (METP), only one third of the total possible number of European students were sent to China.
Chinese may be seen as difficult to learn for EU citizens because it differs significantly from their mother tongues. Europeans considering learning Chinese are often discouraged by the complex system of signs, tonality, difficult pronunciation, etc. Another important factor is the accessibility of courses. The lack of funds or free time often prevents potential learners from participating in traditional courses. Finally, the methodologies of teaching must be adjusted to the age and specific needs of different groups of learners.