Matthew Frigon, U.S.: “I was so glad to study at Nankai University despite my limited Chinese skills, otherwise I couldn’t start my work in China. Here, I not only learn the language but also know more about the country and the people who help with my work in China”.
Matthew Frigon, U.S.
Dear Mr. Cui, I finally start to write you this email that I had wanted to write long ago. I want to express my gratitude because my Chinese study here is coming to an end.
My thanks first go to the Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland which opened the door of Chinese language to me. Without the help of the Confucius Institute, I would not be what I am now. I still remember that December in 2008, when a delegation from Suzhou, China visited Maryland. My company learned that the delegation was interested in environment protection and contacted them. After the meeting with the delegation, I got the idea of working in China. As I am an environmental protection engineer and China has some environmental problems, I thought it would be a good opportunity for our company to set up an office in China. I graduated from the University of Maryland so rather naturally thought of its Chinese courses. One of the courses that interested me was offered by the Confucius Institute; so, I called to register for it. In January 2009, I enrolled in the intensive training class and began learning Chinese. My classmates came from various walks of life — university students on winter vacation, businessmen, university teachers, parents who wanted to know more about their children. We had great times together. We had two-hour classes every day Monday through Friday learning the basic skills like using Chinese pinyin and writing Chinese characters. In the first few weeks, we made rapid progress. The teachers and staff members were always considerate and tried their best to help us. You and Rebecca McGinnis are the most impressive teachers. I won’t forget your encouragement, your advice and friendship, and your invitation to the Spring Festival party in Washington. I had a great time in Confucius Institute. As I finished the winter, spring and summer semesters, my Chinese level also increased accordingly. I got the Institute’s scholarship for study in China and came to Nankai University.
I also want to thank the Confucius Institute for giving me the chance to study Chinese and learn about China. I was so glad to study at Nankai University despite my limited Chinese skills, otherwise I couldn’t start my work in China. Here, I not only learn the language but also know more about the country and the people who help with my work in China. Guess what? The assistant I have just hired is a graduate with a master’s degree of statistics from Nankai University!
“My achievement is largely attributed to the Confucius Institute. I should say it is the Confucius Institute that gave me this opportunity. I recommend the Confucius Institute to all who want to learn Chinese, especially businessmen and those with no opportunities at universities; the Confucius Institute is the best choice.”
At Nankai, I found that the Confucius Institute has helped many foreign students, including those from South America, North America, Europe and Africa. We learn Chinese together and have become friends in China.
Life in Tianjin is totally different from that in the United States. During the two semesters at Nankai University, my Chinese level improved a lot. But I know it will be several years before I can speak fluent Chinese. At least my Chinese is good enough to help me survive. My company decided to set up a new office in China and promoted me to be head of the office. My achievement is largely attributed to the Confucius Institute. I should say it is the Confucius Institute that gave me this opportunity. I recommend the Confucius Institute to all who want to learn Chinese, especially businessmen and those with no opportunities at universities; the Confucius Institute is the best choice.
I will get back to the United States on July 22 and stay there about one week. I’d like to see you if you have time. I remember you said you hoped to see my letter written in Chinese. It took me more than three hours to finish this email, of course with a little help from a teacher here. To be frank, I would not even have thought of writing to you in Chinese here in China one and a half years ago. It is you and the Confucius Institute that brought me this change, both in me and in my life. I want to say thanks to you and the Confucius Institute!
Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Number 11. Volume VI. November 2010.