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International students show off their cultures

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

09:18, October 30, 2012

Students from 69 countries and regions set up colorful booths at Peking University on Sunday, introducing their cultures to China.

“Peking University continues to recruit more international students. This festival is a great opportunity to involve diverse unique cultures into Chinese university campus,” Zhou Qifeng, president of Peking University, said during the opening ceremony of 2012 Peking University International Cultural Festival.

While China has the largest population of students studying overseas, the country also receives more than 300,000 international students. That number is expected to climb to 500,000 by 2020, said Chen Yinghui, deputy director of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges under the Ministry of Education.

“It is a global trend for students studying overseas, and the international cultural festival offers cultural immersions,” she said.

Polly Ashmore of London is studying history at Peking University. But on Sunday she played a different role: “A bunny that can draw.”

As a staff member at the British booth, Ashmore dressed in a bunny costume and drew British national flags on visitors’ faces.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” the 23-year-old said, adding that she visited the international cultural festival last year and decided to join the staff this year.

William Vega of Peru dressed in traditional Peruvian clothing, attracting attention from passers-by. Vega studies Chinese at Renmin University of China. “I am coming to offer help to my friends,” he said.

Chinese student Wang Xiao arrived at the festival with friends around 9 am and planned to sample some Korean food at the international food plaza.

“It is a mini-World Expo,” the 24-year-old said.

After visiting several booths, Luke Jerviss, an exchange student from the United States, decided to volunteer at the Columbia booth, pouring and hand out coffee to visitors.

“My friend just asked me to help because they were giving a performance,” the 24-year-old said.

Jerviss, who entered Peking University two months ago, said he has already fallen in love with life in Beijing.

The goal of the festival is to promote philanthropy.

The cultural festival has also hosted events including an African Sculpture exhibition and Denmark Day.

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