Zhang Jing, teacher from China, works at KIU Department of Foreign Languages and Translation Studies. She joined our team in September after winning the grant of Confucius Institute. Tn such a short period of time she succeeded in gaining the affection of students and colleagues.
Many Chinese people have the special feelings for Russia. In our fathers’ generation there is a kind of “red passion”. I come from Chinese city Harbin that is renowned for its name “Eastern Moscow”: urban architecture, food culture – everything reminds of Russia. Harbin’s main street copies Moscow’s Old Arbat. That’s why when I first came to Russia I already had some ideas of this country. Talking about the Republic of Tatarstan, I’d like to say that this is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. A perfect mixture of different nations, cultures and religions makes Kazan a very special place, “the most harmonious city of the world”, as many people think.
For me it’s a great honor to work in Kazan as a teacher on behalf of Confucius Institute. Its mission is to distribute Chinese language and culture and to contribute to friendly relations between China and Russia. I hope that under the guidance of the Institute many sought-after specialists of Chinese language will be taught in Kazan. This will strengthen our relations and cooperation in political and economic areas.
Vast natural resource stocks, beautiful landscapes, neat and tidy streets, hospitable people – that is how I imagined Russia before coming here and all my expectations were met. For example, my colleague Anastasiya Suleymanova, senior teacher of the department of foreign languages and translation studies and director of KIU Chinese language center is not just an excellent teacher of Chinese language but also a sinologist who goes deeply into Chinese culture and civilization. I can see with my own eyes how she hangs on to hard work, makes everything careful and conscientiously, actively supports different events on expansion of Chinese culture in Russia and takes part in such events.
- How do you like the university and our students?
I’d like to point out the high professionalism and responsibility level among my Russian colleagues. As a foreign employee, I constantly feel their care and warm attitude; they support and assist me in every way.
All my Russian students are well-mannered and study with interest and concern. We have good and friendly relationship. I often discover something new from them.
- How do you get on the right side of students, turn them onto your subject?
I value friendly relationship with my students and try, on the one hand, to be a teacher and a mentor, but on the other hand to remain a friend. In KIU I teach Chinese language in use that improves language skills of students, their pronunciation, language structure. Students’ interest in learning plays one of the important roles in it. Classes should be comprehensive. Every class should be like speech gymnastics, that’s why I use tongue-twisters, sayings, proverbs, classical literature works, poetry, Chinese songs, etc.
- Are you a strict teacher?
I wouldn’t say I’m too strict, I think my students are grown-up and self-sufficient people who have their own opinions. Most of all they need friendly understanding and stand upon dignity. As a friend I need to accept and understand them, as well as to understand the reasons of difficulties they have while studying. If I put pressure on them I will be able to achieve fast results but I won’t be able to earn their confidence.
- Which difficulties do our students have while learning Chinese? What is the hardest part?
Everybody knows that Chinese is one of the toughest languages. It is known for its hieroglyphics, tone distribution and extremely hard grammar. Grammar is hard because it has more exceptions than rules. Sometimes even native Chinese can’t set up a grammar rule. We use linguistic feeling, but Russians don’t have it in the early stage, so they face many problems.
- Russia actively develops relations with China today. In your opinion, what unites us, our mentalities, cultures, attitudes toward life?
Being great friendly countries, Russia and China actively develop different areas of cooperation. I hope for further strengthening of our relations because it will surely influence cultural thinking and lifestyles of our countries’ population.