Professor Tarek Hussein Faramawy receives interview of Qianlong.com in Beijing, June 7, 2018. [Photo by Sun Chi/Qianlong]
By Ai Ting
“How to say this Chinese phrase ‘万事开头难’ in Arabic? When we begin learning Chinese, we may say this phrase and it encourages us to work harder. For our study, we should not be afraid of difficulties and we should keep working hard and insist on learning…”
This was a special Chinese class at Beijing Information Technology College. In the classroom, a dozen of Egyptian students listened attentively and the teacher who was speaking in fluent Chinese in front of the platform was Professor Tarek Hussein Faramawy.
Tarek, 54, is a professor of Chinese at Language School of Ain Shams University in Egypt. In 2014, he was invited to do long-term academic research at Beijing Information Technology College and take charge of Egyptian students’ study and life at the college on behalf of Misr Elkhair (MEK).
A mentor and friend to students
“Have you taken the HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test)? Did you pass it? How about your study and life recently? What are your plans for the future?” Tarek asked students one by one in the classroom.
As an old Chinese saying goes, “a teacher is the one who could propagate the doctrine, impart professional knowledge, and resolve doubts.” Tarek is such a teacher. Since 2014, he has not only been a qualified teacher, who works diligently and uncomplainingly in student teaching and management, translation and research at the college, but been a life guide to students, who sincerely helps every Egyptian student grow up and make achievements in Beijing.
In the second year at the college, Tarek found that students needed a Chinese-Arabic dictionary on technical vocabulary to assist their learning. So he and his colleagues spent two years coediting “Chinese-Arabic dictionary on mechatronics” and “Chinese-Arabic-English dictionary on electronic information engineering technology”. With the help of these dictionaries, students have made rapid progress in their learning, and some of them have brought dictionaries back to Egypt and used them when reading materials.
Inside and outside the classroom, Tarek is students’ mentor and friend, who helps students and answers their questions in life. On their first arrival to China, Tarek taught them Chinese culture and lifestyle in order to help them adapt to the life in China as soon as possible.
During the daytime, Tarek sits in on classes with students, and in the evening, he is on call to help students whenever they encounter problems as they live in the same building. Tarek recalled that one night, a student had a sudden headache and he immediately took her to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. When he heard that the emergency doctor suspected it was a serious illness, Tarek couldn’t sleep through the night. The next day, he accompanied the student to a professional hospital. He was finally relieved only after the student was diagnosed with minor illness.
“Now the student will graduate soon. Yesterday we took graduation photos together. They are like my children. Four years ago, they were ignorant. Now they have grown up and achieved a lot. I feel so happy for them,” Tarek said with great satisfaction.
A cultural bridge between Egypt and China
There is a proverb in Arabic countries that seek knowledge, even it’s as far away as in China. Tarek, who is studious and knowledgeable, interprets this saying by his practical actions.
Tarek has studied Chinese for 36 years, and he came to China to study Chinese society and Chinese literature in 1990, 1995 and 2001. Out of his love for history and culture, Tarek has a simple reason for leaning Chinese that he was eager to know about distant China. “China is one of the world’s four major ancient civilizations, and learning Chinese enables me to read its first-hand information.”
He has long dedicated himself to literature research and translation. He translated and edited the books of China’s traditional literature collection and Chinese contemporary civilization, bringing Chinese literary works like China’s four greatest masterpieces and the works of famous Chinese writers such as Lu Xun, Lao She, Liu Xinwu and Mo Yan to Arabic countries.
“Live and learn,” Tarek said when introducing the reason why he came to work in Beijing in 2014. “I had been working on literature and translation and I hadn’t had much knowledge in science. So this was a very good opportunity for me to improve it.”
Moreover, Tarek expressed that it is a pleasure and an honor to use his knowledge to help Egyptian students who are now studying in China and he hopes to serve as a cultural bridge between Egypt and China to help more Egyptian youth to study in China in the future.
More than 2,000 years ago, China and Egypt was connected by the ancient Silk Roads. Today, Tarek believes that with the in-depth advancing of “the Belt and Road” initiative, Egyptian and Chinese youths will have more and more exchange opportunities and the friendship between two countries will achieve new development.
“Both Egypt and China have thousands of years of history, the friendship between two peoples goes back to ancient times, and cultural and educational exchanges play an important role in the friendship. The Egyptian students at Beijing Information Technology College bring back to Egypt with the knowledge and culture learned in China, which will has a good impact on Egypt’s social, educational, and economic development. Meanwhile, I have seen many Chinese students studying in Egypt. After returning to China, they will also help more Chinese people know about the culture and life in Egypt and Arab countries.”
A witness to great changes in Beijing
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. The biggest change I have seen lies in people’s lives. Their income and living standards have been significantly improved and their happiness index is getting higher and higher,” Tarek said while talking about China’s development. He felt pleasant to witness the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and firmly believed that China will create a better tomorrow.
Seen from his four study and work experiences in China, Tarek was deeply impressed with the rapid development of China in the past four decades. “In 1978, China proposed reform and opening up. In 1990, I came to China for the first time; now, I have been working in Beijing for four years. I have witnessed the changes in the lives of Chinese people and experienced the rapid development of China. China’s economic power, comprehensive strength and international influence have become stronger and people’s living standards have been continuously improved.”
In 1995, Tarek arrived at Peking University to study and write his doctoral thesis on Beijingers’ lifestyle. This time, he works in Beijing and finds that the lifestyle has undergone tremendous changes. “Now living in Beijing is more and more comfortable and convenient and people here pursue fashion and individuation. For example, in the past, people’s clothing style and color were single, while now they are very stylish; in the past, people went to shops and markets, while now they can shop online at home; in the past, people generally ride bicycles and take buses, while now there are shared bicycles, Internet is available on buses, utility bills can be paid on mobile phones, and bus cards can be recharged via WeChat....”
Tarek finally said that China’s development and achievements can be attributed to the practice of the Chinese government in governing the country, guarantee of a stable Chinese social environment, support of China’s scientific and technological development as well as hard work of Chinese people. “China attaches great importance to knowledge, education development and talent cultivation, which is worth learning for our country.”
Professor Tarek Hussein Faramawy (fifth from right, 2nd row) takes a graduation photo with Egyptian students at Beijing Information Technology College. [Photo/Qianlong]
Professor Tarek Hussein Faramawy (middle in green) sits in on a class with students. [Photo/Qianlong]
Professor Tarek Hussein Faramawy (middle) takes a photo with students. [Photo/Qianlong]
Professor Tarek Hussein Faramawy (left) takes a photo with a student. [Photo/Qianlong]
Teachers and students take a group photo during 2015 New Year’s party at Beijing Information Technology College. [Photo/Qianlong]
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