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Belgium to launch new program for youth with China

(Xinhua)

09:08, July 02, 2012

BRUSSELS, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The West Flanders government of Belgium will send at least 16 young people to China's Zhejiang province for study and internship annually starting from 2013, a local official told Xinhua.

The government will provide the participants of the program 1,000 euros (1,250 U.S. dollars) as financial support for their study or internship in universities and companies in Zhejiang, a province in southeast China, said Pertry Gunter, vice governor of the Belgian province in charge of education.

In the recent interview with Xinhua, Gunter explained that the program aimed to promote strategic cooperation with Zhejiang in the field of youth exchanges.

China has undergone considerable changes since its economic reform, said Gunter, noting that China's boom has brought plenty of opportunities, not only for companies, but also for educational institutions in Belgium.

"The youth is the future," Gunter stressed, saying that it is the reason why West Flanders decided to establish the framework for a sustainable and structural educational cooperation with Zhejiang.

He said West Flanders has maintained close economic relations with China. Bekaert, the biggest Belgian investor in China, which is a leading company of metal transformation and coatings, is based in West Flanders, while the port of Bruges, the capital of West Flanders, saw remarkable Chinese investment in its development, Gunter added.

At a meeting dedicated to promoting the new program, Dries Van de Poel, a psychology student, said his internship in Zhejiang has allowed him to experience different business cultures in an age of globalization. Pieter Uvu, an MBA student, for his part, recalled the internship in a totally different environment in terms of language, culture and tradition as an exciting challenge.

Last year, West Flanders sent 10 students or young teachers in Zhejiang for several months for study or internship.

Pertry said that West Flanders was also ready to welcome Chinese students or trainees.

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