Foreign language festival from the view of a Lăowài


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Last Sunday I visited the 16th foreign language festival in the Chaoyang Park. The festival is intended to improve Chinese people's language skills and sponsored by the Beijing's Foreign Affairs Office Publicity and the Department of Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and other institutions and organizations. This year's theme was "learn foreign languages, promote exchanges, prepare for the Olympic Winter Games".

I read that the first festival was held in 2002, it is the only large-scale foreign language festival and the only festival with "communication in and study of foreign languages" as its theme held in Beijing.


Despite the poor weather condition, there were many people watching the shows and getting active with many traditional Chinese arts and craft. An interesting way to spent the Sunday afternoon.

Already at the entrance, visitors got a textbook called 'Citizen English' which I found good because it is a series of small books, easy to carry, to learn English. There is a series of books with many different topics, like food, sport, etc.
On the way to the main area there had been poems along the way to get you in the mood of learning a language. Well done.


I came to an area with different activities, e.g. multicultural show and TMC "A gift to the world". I saw some performances which highlighted the Chinese culture.

At the middle of the festival there had been a huge area for kid's area. It appeared to me that each table had a different activity for the children. This space was "adult free". Looks a lot of fun.

Besides the many activities and shows, one highlight had been a wall with all the sister cities of Beijing. From the first sister city in Tokyo to the last of Prague. Quite impressive how many sister cities Beijing has. I counted 49.

I passed by at the Poland Culture Experience Zone where visitors learned about Poland and Polish culture and finished my round at an area with many smaller stands.

Although it was targeted to Chinese Audience, I enjoyed the festival, especially the shows and the information how Beijing is linked with some many cities. A good opportunity for Chinese to get in touch with foreign languages and foreign culture.