Shanghai International Studies University (China) SISU student volunteers win an award for promoting Mandarin in rural areas

A voluntary team from Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) recently won a national award for their practical project which intends to improve the rural population’s Mandarin level and literacy skills.

The “Language and Future” team, with 14 student members, has worked on Mandarin promotion for many years. However, for many villagers, it is the first time they saw students from foreign language universities conducting social practices on languages.

To prepare for the project this time, the team has taken dozens of investigations and volunteer activities in 10 months. Their efforts have been widely recognized by students, teachers, and local villagers.

Grandpa Yu, a resident from a village where the volunteer team held presentations, said, “I used to think that literacy was just being able to read newspapers, but after listening to what the volunteers have shared with us, I realized that language and writing can play an important role in bringing new knowledge into rural villages.”

“In China, many villages are becoming increasingly focused on their language and cultural development,” said Zhao Yao, leader of the volunteer team.

“The team’s performance reflects the importance that SISU places on volunteering programs about languages,” said Yu Hua, a researcher at the Institute of Linguistics at SISU.

Zhu Rongchi, a lecturer of the volunteer team, said, “We came here with the attitude of learning. The village has formed a civilized and fashionable local custom, and there is much to learn from.”

The volunteer team has created eight original stories of China’s rural development and language culture and has now completed several rounds of touring lectures on and off campus. The team also produced videos about their activities and released an original bilingual version of the documentary film on rural modernization.