Foreigners given opportunities to shine
Updated: 2013-08-30 00:19
By Jin Zhu (China Daily)
Developing the full range of talent among foreign students, especially in the arts and entertainment, is a task that many educators are taking on.
Li Yong, director in charge of student affairs at the School of International Education at Beijing's University of International Business and Economics, said his school is striving to discover talented overseas students and give them more opportunities to develop.
Clemence le Borgne (second left) from France poses in 2012 with members of her Beijing band, which has a growing fan base in China. She said performing at a talent show at Beijing's University of International Business and Economics gave her the chance to realize her dreams.[Provided to China Daily]
"Many potential stars were on display when the university organized a series of talent shows," he said.
"The events provided a platform for cross-culture communication between overseas and Chinese students at the university. Some foreign students became incredibly popular," he said.
Clemence le Borgne, 21, got a degree in business administration at the university this year and won an award at its 2012 Laowai Idol for singing.
The event has been held annually at the university since 2009.
"I learned to sing when I was 4 and singing is my favorite hobby," the French student said.
The Laowai Idol was an opportunity to realize her dream of singing in China. Since then she has sung for a Beijing-based band with four girls from Canada, Uganda and China.
They have appeared on TV and have a growing fan base throughout the country.
Lisa Hoffman, 24, the band's former violinist, was the first to discover Clemence's voice.
"I noticed her during the Laowai Idol program last year. Before that, I did not know her even though we studied in the same grade at university," said Hoffman.
The Canadian, who graduated this year, works for Guinness World Records Ltd in Beijing.
Hoffman traveled around China in 2009. "I became interested in China and wanted to study here. Before that, I never thought of working and living in China," she said.
Hoffman has traveled extensively in China because of the band.
"I once covered 14 cities in one month," she said.
"The university gave me support. For instance, my exam time was flexible if it conflicted with performances," she said.
Hoffman can speak Mandarin fluently.
A total of 3,018 overseas students, from 126 countries, attended the university in 2012. There were 2,394 in 2007.
In 2010, the university set up a volunteer center for international students, which organized activities twice a month and allowed students to experience China.
"Overseas students worked as volunteer teachers in Gansu province," Li said.
The move aims to help international students better understand the real China, instead of just staying in big cities, he said.
At present, about 50 overseas students, or 10 percent of the graduates, get jobs in China, said Li.
But more want to work in China and the university will continue to let foreign students shine in whatever endeavors they undertake.
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