Chinese New Year: the St Petersburg style
St Petersburg University has given a start to Chinese New Year celebrations in Russia's northern capital
Evgeny Grigoryev, Chairman of the Committee for External Relations of St Petersburg, and Zhuang Jianping, Consul for Culture of the Chinese Consulate General, held a meeting with the university students and schoolchildren dedicated to the event.
In 2019, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on 5 February. Festive events are held under the slogan "To say goodbye to the old and meet the new". That is why in late January the people of China begin preparations for the New Year.
“For the first time in the University's history, the main hall of the historic Twelve Colleges Building is decorated with Chinese lanterns,” noted Alexey Rodionov, Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies. “The city administration has had the Palace Bridge decorated with Chinese New Year symbols for several years in a row though.” Evgeny Grigoryev, Chairman of the Committee for External Relations of St Petersburg, added that the tradition had existed for five years already. He also said that St Petersburg had entered the list of top ten non-Chinese cities celebrating Chinese New Year abroad.
Zhuang Jianping recalled that 2019 would mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the USSR and the PRC. He also noted that further progress in partnership between our countries would largely depend on young people. “Fluent Chinese is an incredible chance and opportunity for a breathtaking future and promising life,” he added.
Aleksandr Babich, Deputy Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods, highlighted that interest in the language, culture and history of China at St Petersburg University had been initiated long before, in the middle of the 19th century. The St Petersburg University sinological tradition recognised throughout the world and close relations with the University's Chinese partners make it possible to actively develop joint educational and research projects. Launching specialised academic programmes with the Chinese component is one of the University's priorities, Aleksandr Babich emphasised.
“In 2018, we enrolled over 400 citizens of the People's Republic of China, and today the number of Chinese students at St Petersburg University makes up 1,500 people. We have also witnessed an increase in the number of Russian applicants willing to study the language, history, culture, politics, economics, and the law of China.”
Aleksandr Babich, Deputy Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods at St Petersburg University
St Petersburg University was the first higher education institution in Russia (and still the only one as of today) to organise a Chinese language Olympiad for schoolchildren. Following the results of an expert evaluation procedure, the Olympiad was immediately granted the second level of eligibility and was included into the list of the Russian School Olympiad Council. This means that its winners and awardees will receive admission benefits not only when applying for admission to St Petersburg University, but also to other Russian universities.
See the correspondence of the main fields of study, to which SPbU admits students in 2019, to the profile of the Olympiad and the procedure of granting particular rights to the winners and awardees on our website.
At the end of the meeting there were questions from the audience. The participants demonstrated particular interest in the following issues: development of relations with the Chinese Ministry of Education; organisation of internships at Chinese companies operating in St Petersburg; and regional cooperation between our states. In addition, Farid Mirzoev, head of the student research team on Chinese law, invited Zhuang Jianping, Consul for Culture of the Chinese Consulate General, to take part in the meetings of this student association.
St Petersburg University students organised several creative performances for the event: they sang a song in Chinese and presented a piece of Chinese traditional opera.
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