Tibetan Herdsmen Learn Foreign Languages for Business

From CCTV.com, April 1, 2013:

Recently, foreign language learning has become a fashion among herdsmen, who aim to open online shops in their hometown after study in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province.

“My father scraped up 10000 yuan by selling 20 goats for me to learn English, which is so useful that I have to study very hard,” said Tenzinja, a young man from Yushu County, on the morning of March 20.

Tenzinja’s family has been herdsmen for generations. In recent years, his hometown is often visited by foreigners, some of whom would like to find a guide with high fees. However, few of the villagers can speak foreign languages. The opportunities to make money and communicate with foreign friends have slipped through their fingers.

Graduating from high school and having a basic knowledge of English, Tenzinja wanted to polish his English in Xining and got strong support from his father.

Like Tenzinja, over 20 people, most of whom are herdsmen, have left Yushu for Xining to study languages, which range from English, Korean, to Japanese, said Sangpon, one of Tenzinja’s classmates.

There are many Tibetan herbs with peculiar effects, especially cordyceps which is quite popular in international market. He will master not only foreign languages but also the computer skill, so that he can open an online shop in his hometown, Sangpon added.

“One of my high school classmates, majoring in Korean in college, has started an online shop which specializes in cordyceps and Qinghai specialties. During the two years of running, he has managed to buy a car and a house in Xining, which is the envy of our guys,” Sangpon said.During recent two years, the Island Cultural Development Education Base have opened dozens of full-time foreign languages training classes and offered such language courses as English, Japanese and Korean etc. 80 percent of the students are young Tibetans from pastoral areas such as Yushu.

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