More Danish University Students Learn Chinese
Danish university students are increasingly opting to learn Chinese, according to a latest survey conducted by Denmark''s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
The survey shows a 30 percent rise in the number of students enrolling for Chinese language courses at Danish universities between 2008 and 2010.
Today, there are 540 students enrolled to learn Chinese at the five Danish universities which do offer the courses, compared to just 131 enrolled at the start of 2010.
"There is a boom in Danish students wanting to learn Chinese," said Professor Stig Thoegersen, a China expert at the Department for Asia Studies, Aarhus University.
"We see this development both in high schools and universities. At Aarhus university we can only accept less than half of the applicants, because the demand to learn Chinese is so big," he added, citing a statement released by Denmark''s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday.
In the statement, the Danish Embassy in Beijing remarked that the Sino-Danish University Center in Beijing, a bilateral collaborative project scheduled to open in 2013, would "further strengthen the academic interest in Denmark for China."
The trend, reflective of China''s rising global economic and political power, is likely to grow, as a fascination for the country''s language and culture is also taking root in the minds of Danish school children.
In November 2010, Denmark''s Ministry of Education approved the teaching of Chinese at the high-school or gymnasium level, giving it equal importance as popular languages like French and German.
All Danish school children now compulsorily learn Danish and English, while having the option of studying Chinese as a foreign language from primary school onwards.
As recently as 2005, no high schools in Denmark offered Chinese courses. Today, 16 high schools teach Chinese as a foreign language and another 18 offer China studies with a language component.