July 12, 2018
By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The Confucius Institute at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, through its parent university in China has awarded a year’s scholarship to seven students to study Chinese Language and Culture in various universities in China.
Li Fangjian, lecturer in charge of scholarship, who has lived in Sierra Leone for three years, said the scholarship programme was quite complicated and tough as it entails a rigorous process before applicants are approved by headquarters in China.
He said the application for the scheme is made through the official website in Chinese language, adding that the task is pretty much challenging for students especially in Sierra Leone with little knowledge of Chinese, coupled with lack of internet access to contact the host institution in China.
“The scholarship application is sent through the official website in Chinese language and that is a big challenge to students in Sierra Leone. Some are not good enough in Chinese and can’t understand the procedures. Some don’t know how to use computer or have never touch it,” he said.
Fangjian, who is also a lecturer at Gannan Normal University – the host Confucius Institute – said teaching has helped him to deeply understood that knowledge is strength and education is key to people’s life.
“I hope my small personal effort could spark a big concern and care to those students who are eager to acquire knowledge, longing for better future. When they return to Sierra Leone, they could work as a local Chinese lecturers, translators or even staff in Chinese companies,” he said.
Dalanda Jalloh, a year II student at the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), said she was proud to be the only female among the seven that won the scholarship.
She noted that although the course was challenging, she managed to complete and was fortunate to go through the HSK exams, which required them to be knowledgeable in over 1000 Chinese vocabulary.
“Many people think that Chinese language is difficult but I can say that if you focus and study hard you will succeed. Nothing is impossible in life. I am proud to be among this delegation,” she said.
Another student, Abu Bakarr Kamara, who graduated last year at the Language Studies Department, Fourah Bay College, said Chinese language is exciting and interesting.
“I will say this with no iota of doubt that China gave me exposure in life. I have got a degree but it’s meaningless. I have applied for job on several occasions, but to no avail. This is my third time of being to China. Whenever I’m in China they would teach me and pay me. So, I appreciate the Chinese government a lot,” he said
He said he was hoping to return to Sierra Leone and lecture Chinese at the University of Sierra Leone.
The other students include Alpha Bangura, Hindolo Metzger, Lansana Jawah Bockarie, Elijah Turay and Gibrilla Timbo.