Students of the Confucius Institute in different countries get a flavor of China through summer camps in Beijing, Xing Wen reports.
On Thursday night, laughter reverberates in a classroom at the North China University of Technology, where dozens of foreign teenagers sit in rows, learning to play the hulusi, a traditional musical instrument of the Dai ethnic group in China.
The music class is a part of this year's summer camp, You and Me, in Beijing which is organized by the Beijing Foreign Studies University for students of Chinese from the Confucius Institute in Hungary, Belgium, the United States, South Korea, Austria and Bulgaria.
The teacher, Sun Yanan, teaches the foreign students how to play Auld Lang Syne on the flute-like instrument.
"With the folk instrument they get a basic knowledge about China's ethnic groups and some idea of Asian music," says Sun.
She adds that everyone is also given an instrument to take back home so they can spread Chinese culture after the camp ends.
Gergana Slavcheva, a Bulgarian student who is in China for the first time, says: "I really like it. And though it is confusing for me because I'm bad at music, I will practice at home and maybe get the hang of it."
The 16-year-old registered as a student at the Confucius Institute in Sofia two years ago because she wanted to get exposure to Chinese, an ancient language that may be the base of some other languages in Asia.
"That's why I decided to join this summer camp to get to know China better and establish contact with people who share an interest in the country," says Slavcheva.