Source: China State Council Information Office 2
An undergraduate program in the Amharic language was officially launched by the School of African Studies of Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) on Sept. 21.
As the official language of Ethiopia, Amharic is spoken by more than 80% of the country’s population, or nearly 100 million people, as a first or second language.
Under the program, whose launch received assistance from the Embassy of Ethiopia in Beijing and Addis Ababa University, students will earn a bachelor’s degree in Amharic after four years of qualified study. In their third year, they can apply to study at an appropriate university in Ethiopia for six to 12 months.
This year’s enrollment of students opting for an Amharic major makes BFSU the first and only university in China to offer such a course, helping further diversify the language programs offered by BFSU.
The university now provides courses in over 100 foreign languages, more than any other domestic university and covering the official languages of all countries having diplomatic ties with China.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Ethiopia. “The teaching of Amharic is of great significance to strengthen the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Ethiopia, and Africa at large,” said Jia Wenjian, vice president of BFSU.
Though set up as a bachelor’s degree program for the first time this year, the Amharic program was first offered by BFSU in as early as 2013 as an optional course.
Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country with fast growing economy and an important partner in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative.
With frequent trade and investment exchanges as well as cooperation in other fields between China and Ethiopia, people proficient in Amharic are in great demand and the job prospects for them is promising, according to a lecturer from the School of African Studies of BFSU.