Ural federal university: A Bridge to Chinese Culture, Confucius Institute at UrFU Is One of the Best In the World

For 13 years, the Confucius Institute has been operating at the Ural Federal University. Here, students are taught the Chinese language and culture. In 2019, the Confucius Institute at UrFU became the best among 535 similar institutions in more than 100 countries. The director of the Confucius Institute of UrFU from the Russian side and Director of Dept. of Internaitonal Relations of UrFU, Ms. Maria Guzikova, and the head of the Language center at the Institute, Ms. Ksenia Lozovskaya, gave an in detail interview to the major Sverdlovsk Oblast’ newspaper Oblastnaia Gazeta about the Institute’s more than a dozen-year long success story.

“Every year, China sends us about 10 volunteer graduate teachers who have studied Chinese as a foreign language at home. Their work is supervised by the director of the Confucius Institute of UrFU from the Chinese side, Doctor of Sciences He Jianning. In addition, we have one professional Chinese teacher from the PRC,” explained Maria Guzikova.

Visiting teachers work together with teachers from UrFU, most of whom graduated from the Department of Oriental Studies and Linguistics. The total number of teachers is 18. Training is conducted on an ongoing basis in 5-7 basic groups and 10-15 advanced training groups. Classes are held several times a week. Students study not only the Chinese language, but also at will the culture of the PRC, its history and current state. For 13 years the institute has given professional education to about 9 thousand listeners and students.

“People we educate see themselves getting involved in a joint Russian-Chinese business or look for opportunities to study in top Chinese universities. Some of our students study Chinese language for five to eight years. It could be very difficult, no doubt it is nearly impossible to learn Chinese in a year. For a deeper immersion in the language environment, we try to create a special cultural atmosphere that enriches the inner world of each of our listeners,” Maria Guzikova emphasized.

Before the pandemic, the institute held several major events that made it the best in 2019. In particular, the regional stage of the international competition “The Bridge of the Chinese Language”. Children from Novosibirsk, Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk, Chelyabinsk and other cities came to Yekaterinburg. Participation in the UN-Habitat World Cities Day was no less ambitious.

“In autumn we have a day of the Confucius Institute of UrFU, which usually lasts a week. From time to time, we host workshops in calligraphy, paper cutting and Chinese Taijiquan (Tai Chi) Wellness Gymnastics. In the summer we go to the Summer School in Guangzhou,” said Ksenia Lozovskaya.

The number of permanent partners of the institute has already exceeded 100. Among the partners there are museums, art galleries, libraries, schools, Chinese martial arts centers. The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Yekaterinburg, notably the Consul for Education Affairs Ms. Zhao Yang, provides enormous support to the activities of the Institute.

About Confucius Institute at UrFU

The Confucius Institute in Yekaterinburg was established in October 2008 on the basis of the Ural State University (now Ural Federal University). The partner institution from the Chinese side is the Guangdong University of Foreign Languages and Foreign Trade in Guangzhou.

Ural Federal University is one of the leading universities in Russia that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020. UrFU is located in Yekaterinburg, the capital of the World Summer Student Games 2023. The University has initiated the establishment of the Ural Interregional Research and Education Center — ‘Advanced Industrial Technologies and Materials’ and is its project office designed for solving tasks of “Science” National Project.

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