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"Study in China" a big deal for Argentine students

(Xinhua)    10:41, February 20, 2019

BUENOS AIRES, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Study in China is a big deal for Chinese language learners, and it proved "an incredible experience" for Julieta Marina Herrera.

Herrera, an employee at the Secretariat of Academic Affairs at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), made the remarks when speaking of "Study in China," a Chinese government scholarship program.

Thanks to such a scholarship, the then-UBA philosophy student studied for a year in China in 2016. It is now application time again, and many Argentine young people were drawn to the service provided at the UBA.

"I went to Beijing to study at a university known for teaching Chinese to foreigners and it was an incredible experience," Herrera told Xinhua.

Studying in China has many advantages, she noted.

"You learn the language at a different pace. In addition, you learn how to speak, how to have a conversation -- which is the toughest part -- in the country itself. Plus, you get to know the culture and society in situ," Herrera said.

As the relations between China and Argentina intensify, this kind of first-hand knowledge of the Asian giant becomes a valuable asset, she said.

"That's super important, because there are increasingly richer exchanges between the two countries, and it's the perfect time to be able to take part in this change," Herrera said.

During their stay, the students can pursue their own academic or professional interests, she said, adding "in my case -- Chinese philosophy."

The scholarships are "unique opportunities," Herrera said.

The "Study in China" program is multi-organized by the Argentina-China Association of Former Scholarship Recipients (ADEBAC), the Chinese embassy and the UBA, with the support of the China Scholarship Council (CSC).

According to ADEBAC, of the 50 scholarship positions every year, about 35 are determined by the Chinese embassy, and the rest jointly by Argentina's Education Ministry.

In 2016, a total of 426 Argentine students were studying in China. The number rose to 522 in 2017, the year ADEBAC was set up.

Among the ADEBAC members on hand for consultations about the Chinese scholarship program, Santiago Bustelo obtained a doctorate in international policy at Fudan University based in Shanghai.

"I graduated in political science and had been studying in China for a year and a half ... to get to know this great country better," he said.

Bustelo has long been interested in China. "I thought to myself that to specialize, I have to go there and experience it," he said.

"I also had to find out which university I wanted to go to," Bustelo said. "A Chinese government program helped me out. They invited me to Shanghai for two months, (as part of) a program for young sinologists" -- so the students of Chinese culture, language, literature or civilization are called.

He spoke with professors, did some research and found a study program at Fudan.

"It's a great experience. It's worth it to go, to try to understand and see for yourself the development process and all the transformations that are taking place," Bustelo said.

"It's important for us then to return to our country and be able to use that knowledge, to help think strategically about how to get closer to a country that is so important today," he added.

To facilitate the scholarship application, last year ADEBAC, the UBA and the Chinese embassy worked together and organized the First Chinese University Fair in Argentina. This year, promotions are planned to cover other areas such as Cordoba, Misiones and Santa Fe, to benefit more people.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Liang Jun)

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