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Sports bridge cultural gaps between Chinese and international students on campus

(People's Daily Overseas New Media)    15:18, April 02, 2019

Opponents on the field, but friends when the final whistle blows. Such is the extracurricular life of many international students in China, as soccer helps bridge the culture gap between the young souls from abroad and the ancient country they study in.

Studying at the International Education School of Shandong Normal University, the favorite sport for Italian student who goes by the Chinese name Li Xian is soccer. At the very beginning, he couldn’t talk to his Chinese teammates very well, but gradually, as more international students played with them and chatted in Chinese, Li also broke the language barrier. Now, he can discuss soccer games and tactics with his teammates in Chinese.

Like Li Xian, a Guinean student who goes by the Chinese name Li Yang joined the soccer team at the university in 2016. According to Li Yang, through the sport, he now speaks fluent Chinese, which brings him closer to classmates and the nation as a whole. He also makes more friends with his Chinese skills.

Beyond soccer, many more international students are connected to their campuses and to their friends through sports, from tennis to orienteering.

Over 500,000 international students studied in China in 2018, according to China’s Ministry of Education, and that number is expected to go up in the coming years.

“Foreign students in China are not only learning language, but also want to understand China and the Chinese people. Therefore, it is significant to help international students create opportunities for knowing each other. Through sports, students can accomplish the same mission and fight for the same goal. It’s only natural to have more intense communication,” said Liu Xiangjun, a Chinese teacher who is teaching Chinese in South Korea.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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