A Rwandan university student has won a scholarship to study the Chinese language in Beijing after winning the national Chinese language speaking competition.
Nsanzimana Sylvestre, 22, beat fellow students to emerge overall winner of the tight race in an event held on Friday afternoon, at the Confucius Institute at the University Of Rwanda College Of Education （Remera Campus） in the outskirts of the country's Capital, Kigali.
Sylvestre, who is a second year building and construction technology student at University of Rwanda （Nyagatare campus）, plans to teach Chinese language and culture after mastering them.
Sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda and organized by Confucius Institute, the competition involved outstanding nine contestants from several universities in Rwanda learning the Chinese language.
The contest involved presenting speeches in Chinese; question and answer session on Chinese culture and also talent shows on Chinese cultures including dancing, and singing in Chinese and Kung fu （Chinese martial arts）.
Speaking to Xinhua after winning, Sylvestre said that he was excited to win the contest because he had taken a considerable time to learn the language.
"It took me one year to study Chinese language. At the start I thought it was very difficult, but I realised it very easy to learn it due to good and friendly Chinese teachers. I am so proud of my achievement and I look forward to go to China to learn more of the language and culture," he explained.
Sylvestre said that he will use the language to strengthen bilateral cultural and language exchanges between Rwandans and Chinese.
"I would like to become a teacher of Chinese language and culture so other Rwandan students can be able to speak Chinese when got an opportunity to study in China. I love Chinese language. It is an interesting language that I would encourage everyone to learn."
Sylvestre said that with the knowledge he has gained from studying building and construction technology, he is confident of securing employment in one of the Chinese construction companies in Rwanda and abroad.
According to Theoneste Bigirimana, another Chinese language student who wants to become a teacher of Chinese culture and language at Confucius Institute, the competition, creates opportunity to learn more about China while demonstrating one's competence in foreign languages.
"It is a very good opportunity for me to have studied Chinese language and culture; I am going to teach Chinese language to Rwandans so that it helps them know more about the Chinese language and culture which pose a serious challenge to those Rwandans seeking employment opportunities in the Chinese companies," he stated.
Bigirimana who has a Chinese name "Lei Ou" said that he has learnt a lot about the Chinese language, tradition, culture and history.
Mark Zhang, director of Confucius Institute said that Rwandan students pay a lot of attention while learning Chinese language which has enabled them to excel.
"They can master the language in a short period of time, within a half year they have mastered it. They are good students and eager to learn. They are determined to go to China to find something new different from Rwanda," he said.
Zhang noted that it makes them proud to see many students speak fluently in Chinese language.
He said that the winner of the competition will this year go to China for the 15th "Chinese Bridge" competition with other students from all over the world.
"We have sent about to 70 students China to master Chinese language and culture and our aim to see many Rwandans learning Chinese language and culture," Zhang noted.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda was opened in June 2009, after friendly negotiations between the Chongqing Normal University （CQNU） from China, and the then Kigali Institute of Education, now University of Rwanda （UR）.
The core mission of the program aims to help people outside China to understand the Chinese culture, language and art with the purpose of fostering social and economic development between Rwanda and China.
Su Wen, one of the Chinese volunteer teachers at the Institute said that Rwandan students are amazing and eager to learn more about China.
"I am proud of Sylvestre's success, which is testimony to the students' enjoyment of the subject, their hard work and the high quality of teaching they are receiving," he said.