Foreign students celebrate Spring Festival

City university's international students enjoy Chinese New Year in advance by taking part in a number of traditional activities.
Dong Jun / SHINE

Foreign students at East China Normal University celebrated the Spring Festival in advance on Friday.

Around 250 students from 23 countries at East China Normal University, who are staying in Shanghai during the winter vacation, celebrated the Spring Festival in advance on its campuses in Putuo and Minhang districts.

Many wore traditional Chinese clothes, tried writing Chinese calligraphy and spring couplets, a pair of poetry lines pasted on both sides of a front door and a four-character horizontal scroll affixed above, to express delight at the festival and wishes for a better life in the coming year.

Some learned to make Chinese dumplings, a traditional Spring Festival delicacy.

Nilab Oppal from Uzbekistan said she loved Chinese calligraphy as a way of learning Chinese and relaxing. She had learned calligraphy for a semester, but had little time to practice due to her busy study schedule.

“I’m glad to have the opportunity to write calligraphy here today,” she said.

Zain ul Abdin from Pakistan spent almost the whole afternoon writing calligraphy and finished his first spring couplets. He said he would like to paste them at the door of his dorm room to add some Spring Festival atmosphere.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Foreign students at East China Normal University write the Chinese character fu, meaning good fortune.

In the evening teachers had dinner with them and gave them hongbao, the red envelopes containing money that families give to children and old people on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

“It’s my first time to get a hongbao,” said Nurriia Sulaiman Kyzy, a Kyrgyzstan student majoring in teaching Chinese as a second language. “It’s only 10 yuan, but I’m very glad to experience the Chinese culture. It will be helpful for me to teach Chinese language and culture to my students in the future.”

She said it was the fourth year she had spent the winter vacation in Shanghai and celebrated the festival at the university.

“The Chinese New Year is very interesting, everything is in red and people all go back home for family reunions. I’m looking forward to an opportunity to spend some days in a Chinese family to see how do they celebrate the festival,” she said.

More than 6,000 international students from 130 countries study at the university.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Foreign students show off the hongbao they received at their "Chinese New Year's Eve" dinner.

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