The leaders of tomorrow on summer camp in China

92 enthusiastic young students ready for CBCI’s summer camp in China.

With blessings from the Danish ambassador in China, Friis Arne Petersen and his Chinese counterpart in Denmark, Lu Ruiyus, the Confucius Institute sent almost 100 students on summer camp in China to show the real China and increase interest in Chinese area studies.

Copenhagen Business Confucius Institute (CBCI), associated with CBS, followed the German example for the first time this year and sent 92 school and upper secondary school students to China for a 15 day long summer camp in July.

The purpose of the trip that started in the in the old emperor’s city Beijing is to increase the Danish youngsters’ understanding of Chinese language and culture and at the same time increase their interest in the world’s second largest economy.

It’s another China than what we’re used to hearing about. You’ll only see that if you go there and meet the Chinese people, says director of CBCI and organizer Tianshu Liu before departure.

Vice Dean of Education: CBS has a global perspective
Vice Dean of Education Sven Bislev followed that line of reasoning when he kicked off the departure ceremony at Solbjerg Plads after noting with a smile that he rarely speaks in such a filled auditorium. He took the opportunity to draw attention to CBS’ global perspective and the Asian Studies Programme for the potential future students.

- We have 16 exchange agreements with the best Chinese universities and half of all teaching is done in English, some even in Chinese and Japanese, Sven Bislev informed and continued:

- CBS has one program that deals with Chinese business and economics as well as Chinese language and culture. If you were to decide to try your luck at learning Chinese, know that you’re facing a big challenge. However, there’s jobs for the two thirds who make it through our program, said the Vice Dean of Education and encouraged the attendees to come back for the information day.

Sven Bislev speaks from experience; after four weeks in China, he’s only managed to learn six Chinese characters.

Students want to work with China
Two upper secondary school students, 17 year old Anne Løngsø and 16 year old Louise Binder, both in 2nd grade (out of three, red.) in Herning Gymnasium might follow that encouragement. At least they aren’t ready to dismiss it entirely.

I’d like to work with China and maybe study in China as well as travel around the country. Perhaps as a backpacker, says Anne Løngsø.

She applied for the summer camp to find out whether China was her cup of tea in the first place.

- I’d love to learn more about China and get to know regular Chinese people, said Anne Løngsø.

- It’s the Chinese society and the Chinese approach to life that’s exciting. But I’m certainly also looking forward to shopping lots of cheap stuff, Louise Binder added.

Danish ambassador: Going to China is a big decision
Denmark’s ambassador in China since 2010, Friis Arne Petersen emphasized that no matter what your reasons might be, going to China at an early age is a big decision.

- You’re our future leaders and will add a new chapter to our history of good relations between China and Denmark. Of course I get paid to say we have good relations but I actually feel I’m telling you the truth, says Friis Arne Petersen to the crowd.

He’s backed up by China’s ambassador in Denmark, Li Ruiyu, who told the eager crowd about the future perspectives of Danish-Chinese collaborations:

- Chinas growth has reached a point where we have to focus on green and sustainable development, and that’s a major area of competence for the Danes.

- You’re probably familiar with ‘9.z mod Kina’ (Danish TV-program that pitted a Danish school class against a Chinese school class, literally ‘9.z versus China’ red.) that has raised a good deal of questions. To that I say that seeing is believing and you’ll find a lot of the answers when you go to China, Li Ruiyu added with a quick reference to Chinas 45 spots on the World Heritage List.

Center head: We can learn a lot from the Chinese
The students didn’t have time to see everything during the course of the summer camp that in large part is paid by Hanban, a department associated with the Chinese Ministry of Education. The trip went from Beijing to Chinas financial center Shanghai and Dalian located only a few hundred kilometers from the North Korean border.

Verner Worm, center head at the CBCI is convinced: There are many aspects of the country that western people over a number of years have referred to as the world’s factory.

- It’s striking how Danish journalists only report negative incidents in China while the Chinese journalists in Denmark tell positive stories, stated Verner Worm, who’s also a professor and PhD at CBS. That’s why he sent the students off with a crystal clear message:

- People can be different but that doesn’t mean one way of life is better than others. Luckily, because if that was the case, the world would be a boring place. So be curious and take it all in. We can learn a lot from the Chinese.