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The Workshops at Window of Shanghai


What can you do after learning the Chinese language for just three months? Let me tell you ...

The above pictures come from the two workshops at Window of Shanghai on Dec 12 and Dec 19 respectively. Several months ago, Shanghai government donated to Window of Shanghai another batch of books, about one third of which are written all in Chinese. While we are engaging with the Scientific Library, we leaned about this and agreed that we’ll help them by translating the titles, the authors, and the publishing houses into English andrunning down the keywords of the books so that the books can be put on shelves at an earlier time. And we decided to make the best out of it and turn it into a workshop by involving in our students of Chinese learners.

We had intended for the students to visit Window of Shanghai, to flip through the books about China and learn a bit about the Chinese culture. As for the translation, just give it a try - as long as the students put a little effort into their attempts, that would be all right. After all, what could you expect from the very beginners? 

On the workshop day, Mr Udzen, the librarian, shared the story between the Slovak Architect L. E. Hudec and the Chinese city of Shanghai with the students, which inspired the students to their great interests. After that, the students were assigned some books to be translated.

What we were worrying about didn’t happen. The students were not bandaged to their limited Chinese. Instead, they felt the excitement in recognition of the Chinese characters they’d learned, and they were attracted by the books - Chinese music, architecture, calligraphy, beautiful sceneries, delicious cuisines, arts, and even some Chinese philosophy. They put greater efforts into their tasks with some amazing translations, such as, “Superb Sichuan《绝色四川》”, “Ever Changing《万变》”, “ColorfulDunhuang, Magic Silk《梦幻丝路,五彩敦煌》”. Here are some more of the students’ works.

Moral: What’s the purpose of learning? Learn for the (potential) needs, orLearn out of the (practical) needs? We are proud of the achievements of our students, which is very amazing, but we are not arguing that they could speak fluent Chinese or do good translation after such a short time of learning Chinese, or, after some small miracle workshops. What we are saying is that we might be capable of some reflections and explorations about learning and putting learning into practice. This is especially true with our future students from businesscompanies, and this is true for me as well since I’m preparing to learn a new language now.

Note: The Science Library of Banska Bystrica has a Chinese-style room, The Window of Shanghai, which foundation had been sponsored by the Shanghai Government. The relationship between Shanghai and BanskaBystrica has a history, which can be dated back to about one century ago, when the BB-born Slovak artichect L. E. Hudec lived in Shanghai for about 50 years. Mr. Hudec had designed more than 50 buildings for Shanghai, including Grand Theatre, Park Hotel, Residence of WU Tongwen, WukangApartment Building (originally, I.S.S Normandie Apartment), which have all become historic relics of Shanghai.