Looking back, GDUFS has made outstanding achievements in terms of education in 2019, which is strongly correlated with great efforts made by foreign teachers.They actively participate in teaching, scientific research, cultural activities and other fields. This is where the story starts.
Vivek Mani Tripathi: the “Chinese dream” and his affection for GDUFS
Vivek Mani Tripathi
Vivek Mani Tripathi came from India and started teaching in GDUFS in September 2015. Currently, he teaches Hindi in the Faculty of Japanese Language and Culture and Faculty of Asian and African Studies (under preparation). During four years in GDUFS, he has witnessed the graduation of four classes of Hindi students in GDUFS, the changes in GDUFS, and the development and popularization of Indian culture and language in China. He grew up with GDUFS and has a deep affection for this university.
He began to study Chinese at Banaras Hindu University in 2003. Twelve years later, he got the opportunity to teach in GUDFS and realized his “Chinese Dream”.
Between 2015 and 2019, Vivek Mani Tripathi,on behalf of GDUFS, participated in China-India academic exchange activities at Peking University, Shenzhen University and other Chinese colleges and universities as a number of projects that witnessed extensive cultural exchange and cooperation between the two countries. In 2016, as a Hindi teacher at GDUFS, he was given the opportunity to participate in the China-India government-to-government translation project, translating the famous Chinese novel Bailu Plain. Later, he went to Beijing to teach Hindi and Sanskrit to famous Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming during the shooting of the China-India film “XUAN ZANG”. In 2018, he was recommended to participate in the First Media Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, where he shared his story with China.
As a teacher at GDUFS, Vivek Mani Tripathi realized his value and kept going. As he said, GDUFS offered him a good career development platform and made him feel the warmth of a big family. GDUFS takes the lead of professional title evaluation of foreign teachers. In 2016, he obtained lecturer title and was promoted to assistant professor next year. In 2018, he was awarded with the title of “model teacher”. In his view, GDUFS gave him a sense of honor and belonging. For example, GDUFS is concerned about the life and development of the foreign teachers, and introduced work plans and school reports to them and helped them solve various problems in their lives. There would be regular seminars each semester for better communication among students and teachers from different countries. In addition, GDUFS actively invites foreign teachers to take part in various activities. Once in 2018, he also participated in the Spring Festival worship activities and performed with colleagues and students at GDUFS.
Emotional excitement sprang up in Vivek Mani Tripathi’s eyes when he was asked about the benefits of his time at GDUFS. He emphasized that his students were the biggest gift to him. To his delight, he witnessed the change of some students who did not understand Indian culture at first and developed a strong interest in it gradually. Some of them after graduation even joined a multinational company related to India, and applied what they had learned in GDUFS to actual work. Some students continued to do academic research, while others chose to work in India. In a word, the value of his coming to China was best reflected in these students.
Once upon a time, Bodhidharma started his trip to China in Guangzhou. And now, as Vivek said, “there are students majoring in Hindi at GDUFS, who will make their own contributions to the friendly development of China-India relations in the future.”
Matteo Brandi: Growing Together when Teaching and Learning
Matteo Brandiand his students
Matteo Brandi is a foreign teacher who has taught Italian for seven years at GDUFS since 2013. He humorously calls himself one of the most senior and experienced foreign teachers at GDUFS.
When Matteo initially came to GDUFS seven years ago, he didn’t get the concept of teaching a European language in a Chinese university. Although he had rich teaching experience in Europe, he still thought it was a tough challenge teaching in China. However, having noticed the students’ diligence, all of his concerns disappeared. He noticed that the freshman got up early to read books for at least an hour, and after taking scheduled classes they would go ahead to the library to study. Some students even previewed lessons in the empty classroom until late at night. He said their passions to study were admirable and touched him a lot.
“Frankly speaking, the great progress I made during these seven years should be owed to my students, who helped me explore new teaching strategies and teach more flexibly,” Matteo said, “and I frequently reflect on what ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ are.” In order to better understand the system of teaching foreign language and culture, he devoted himself to academic research and released papers. He said, no one can do without the help of other people. He was thankful to his Chinese colleagues who have given him a hand since he came to China and help and instruct him at any time. Especially he expressed his gratitude to the International Cooperation and Communication office staff, because it is the effort made by these colleagues that created a lot of convenience to live in China and integrate into a larger group.
Matteo believes the most interesting thing is being able to communicate with different people from all over the world with diverse backgrounds. Only by keeping a trial-and-error mindset and constantly sharing can we grow up. The working experience at GDUFS showed him that teaching requires an extremely dedicated spirit. And these perceptions are impossible to gain without connecting with the outside world or just sticking to theories. Therefore, we are supposed to study together, share frequently and help each other to improve their teaching skills together.
2019 is a significant year for Matteo Brandi to make preparations and grow. Next year the Faculty of European Languages and Culture will organize its first Master of Arts in the Italian Language and make full preparations, dedicating to providing students with high quality teaching. Here he will witness a series of positive achievements of new courses which aim to make students gain further understanding of Italian culture from various perspectives, such as art, geography and society. For instance, the course of Simple Italian History is intended to show clear connections between new ideas, helping students get a better general concept of Italian culture. He noted the world changes quickly and becomes more interconnected but also more complex. So in such a situation, teachers are expected to meet higher cultural requirements to teach every new batch of students. The current situation demands that teaching needs to be more flexible and each course should be fit for students, taking the needs and obstacles of learning into consideration.
Recalling his seven years at GDUFS, Matteo gave his suggestions to new foreign teachers:
“Try to become a sponge to absorb all the nutrition you can, including languages, cultural traditions, and ways of thinking. Every challenge is an excellent opportunity to improve your abilities.
“Living in China and teaching at GDUFS are wonderful experiences. If you’re really eager to become an outstanding teacher, even an excellent person, you should have an open mind and keep learning.”