China, the most populous country in the world with a population of about 1.3 billion people, has emerged to become one of the strongest economies in the world today.
According to Financial Times, since 2010, China has maintained her place as the world’s highest manufacturer, producing various products like electrical appliances, technological devices and many more.
China has also been named the number one exporter in the world, making them have the strongest trading power globally.
Because of the massive manufacturing and business involvements of the Chinese people, they compulsorily need to be open to people from various countries in order to access new markets and seal deals.
This is a major reason you often find Nigerian traders making business trips to China and you also get to see the Chinese in various parts of Nigeria carrying out one business or the other.
It has been projected that by 2020, the Chinese language would be one of the top two most important languages to understand in the world. So as it stands, whether for personal, career and professional advancement or for other purposes, learning Chinese language is going to be a totally beneficial and prudent move.
How to Start Learning Chinese Language
Once you have made a commitment to start your journey of learning Chinese, you must then begin to take precise steps to make your goal become a reality. Just like anything that needs to be learnt, you require a good amount of passion, dedication and work to learn the Chinese language.
You can decide to learn it all by yourself, but this process would definitely be an uphill task and except you have nothing else seeking your attention. Worst still, if you do not have professional guidance you could end up mixing up a whole lot of characters and pronunciations, thereby impeding your ability to advance further in learning.
However, the best way you can learn Chinese, which is actually a much easier and rewarding approach, is to enroll into an accredited Chinese learning school like Guoji Dui where you can be guided and pointed in the right direction with relevant and well selected resources to enable you learn faster and more efficiently.
If you desire to enroll at Guoji Dui Institute, you will need to:
- Be proficient in English language since the language of instruction at Guoji Dui is English language.
- Have no criminal record of any sort and have no intention of engaging in any. This is especially important as any wrong move with Guoji Dui can lead to not just disqualification from their program but blacklisting by respective Chinese embassies and businesses as well as other allies.
- Be able to pay the registration and tuition fees.
- Have the discipline to study independently since you’ll be required to use the study materials (text, audio and videos) that will be sent to you to learn at your own pace.
Chinese Language Training Schools, Centers and Institutes in Nigeria
There are few accredited institutes or learning centers where you can learn Chinese in Nigeria. When you learn from these accredited centers, you earn internationally recognized Chinese certification and also stand a greater chance of benefiting from various scholarships obtainable in these schools.
Let’s take a look at the best schools and centers for Chinese learning in Nigeria.
China’s language teaching giant, Guoji Dui, has made a major entry into Africa by launching their online teaching services so Africans can learn Chinese via an easier and more accessible long-distance model.
Guoji Dui declared their commitment to selecting 2,500 of their best students every year that would be awarded study grants and sponsorship to China; this is to enable them enhance their understanding and expertise in communicating with Chinese language.
It is also expected that out of this yearly allocation of scholarships, Nigeria, the most populated African nation and one of the biggest markets to the Chinese, will receive about 40 percent (almost 1000 slots) of the scholarship awards.
Because of the urgent need to boost the Chinese language teaching workforce in universities all over Nigeria, a good quota of these 1000 slots would be awarded to graduates of tertiary institutions from any choice of discipline, who will be willing to undergo a two-year scholarship program in Masters in Teaching Chinese.
However, the beneficiaries of any kind of these scholarships must attain a certain level of learning Chinese with Guoji Dui.
The Chinese language lessons at Guoji Dui are delivered in six levels of training and students are required to spend a maximum of six months on each level, especially for levels one to four.
More information on how to become a student, tuition fees and other details about Guoji Dui are available on their website.
Confucius Institute UNIZIK (NnamdiAzikiwe University) Awka:
A Confucius Institute was established at UNIZIK in February 2009 to offer Chinese language training to students of the institution.
All their trainings, from the first to final stages, are observed onsite and require consistent physical availability of the student.
Since they do not have an online or long distance platform, one will need to be readily available in the learning center, attend lectures regularly and pass the exams to earn the certificate.
A major limitation of this institute is that, unlike Guoji Dui that is open to all Nigerians from any state of the federation, the UNIZIK Confucius institute requires that you live within the environment.
Another limitation of the UNIZIK Confucius Institute is that it has marked preference for people who are existing students of UNIZIK, so it is usually a bit difficult for someone who is not a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) to get into it.
Also, the scholarship opportunity available for graduates of this institute is dwindling and may come to a total halt in year 2020 as Confucius institute looks to focus on switching from offering short certificate courses to supporting the expansion of bachelor’s degree programs in Nigeria.
Confucius Institute UNILAG (University of Lagos)
A Confucius Institute was founded in the University of Lagos in 2009.
It has also trained some students who have successfully graduated from learning Chinese.
Like the Confucius at UNIZIK, its limitation is the barrier of physical availability.
You will need to be physically present to follow through the training and lectures in order to graduate from one level to the other.
They do not have an online training system to accommodate people to learn from anywhere they wish to learn from.
There are strong indications that having operated for 10 years, the Chinese Confucius Institute scholarships offered to students will cease in 2020. Their operations will also have to end in UNILAG, UNIZIK and other Confucius points in Nigeria by the year 2020. This is because currently, Chinese language is now studied as an undergraduate course in the faculty of Arts in universities likeUNILAG and UNIZIK, and more universities are speculated to join soon.
Confucius Institute Classroom, Federal Polytechnic Oko
The Confucius institute in UNIZIK extended their services to the Federal Polytechnic at Oko, Anambra State. The classroom serves as a center for interested students to learn Chinese language.
Confucius Institute Teaching Point, Kano State
This teaching point where Confucius studies is carried out was announced some time ago in Kano state but it is not clear if they are in operation.
Confucius Institute Teaching Point, Imo State
A teaching point where interested students can learn Chinese language was also established by the Confucius institute in Imo State but there isn’t much information on it yet.
Confucius Institute Teaching Point, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State
The University of Port Harcourt has been said to have a Chinese teaching point as well for interested students to learn Chinese language but details about it is still sketchy.
Benefits of Learning Chinese Language
There are lots of benefits to learning Chinese language. We would consider some important ones with regard to employment and scholarships opportunities.
Work with International NGOs and Research Institutes in Nigeria:
Having the knowledge of Chinese language and one other international language (like English) can greatly improve your chances of working with international NGOs in Nigeria, some of which include
UNDP, UNICEF, IMF, UNESCO, IITA. FHI 360, WHO, World Bank etc.
Ordinarily, key qualifications required to gain employment into these organizations often include a Masters degree in relevant course and good proficiency in two international languages, like English and French or English and Chinese.
However, because the knowledge of French is now becoming more obtainable, possessing a combination of English and Chinese gives one much higher distinction, since it is hardly available.
As a matter of fact, it is rare to have English and Chinese language combination and not be hired by these international organizations during recruitment in Nigeria.
Work with International NGOs and Research Institutes Abroad
Now there are a whole lot international NGOs and research Institutes that have their stations in many African countries like Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, etc. Much more are located in various countries in the continents of Asia, Europe and America.
Getting an employment with international organizations abroad is a very competitive but lucrative job. These employments give a lot of professional experience and they have amazing working benefits too. For example, being employed by an organization like WHO or FHI 360 abroad will mean that the organization will cater for your accommodation, health, course travels, etc., asides your regular fat salary check.
Such jobs also require a good academic qualification like your Masters and a combination of languages. Having a language combination of English and Chinese here also gives you a sharp edge over other applicants because the Chinese language is much sort after as a second language by many international organizations.
Become a lecturer in Nigeria (Easiest Way to become a Lecturer)
If you have been dreaming of becoming a lecturer, then this is possibly the best route you can take to achieving your dream.
Chinese language is a relatively new course and, like it is with anything that is new, there are still lots of opportunities around it and those who delve into it quickly enough will use it to easily achieve lifelong success.
Only about two universities in Nigeria – Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) and University of Lagos (UNILAG) – currently offer Chinese at the bachelors’ degree level.
Now, because of the high demand for Chinese language graduates, more and more universities (out of the over 150 universities in Nigeria) are willing to establish their own Chinese language departments but are held back by acute shortage of qualified lecturers.
The Chinese natives would hardly wish to abandon their home country to become full time lecturers in Nigerian universities, so the shortage will have to be filled by Nigerians who have studied Chinese and qualified to become lecturers (with a degree).
The situation is not helped by a handful of Nigerians that have graduated form studying Chinese language in China, as they usually prefer to either travel to other countries, get employment in the private sector or set up their own businesses with their China connection (which can be very lucrative).
This has put UNIZIK and UNILAG in dire need of qualified academics to boost the small number of lecturers that they are currently using to manage their Chinese departments.
To qualify to be taken as a Chinese lecturer in any of these institutions or any other tertiary institution in Nigeria, you will need to have obtained a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Chinese (not common) or obtain a Masters degree in Teaching Chinese.
As it stands now, the easiest way to pick up a lectureship position is to obtain a masters degree in teaching Chinese, which is what the few lecturers currently manning the Chinese language departments at UNIZIK and UNILAG have done.
None of them have bachelor’s degree in Chinese language. All of them are people whose undergraduate degrees were in other courses (like Histroy, English, African and Asian Studies, Engineering, Social Sciences and others) but who managed to switch by obtaining a Masters degree in Teaching Chinese.
To enroll for a Masters degree in Teaching Chinese, one must have some good knowledge of Chinese language either through a 4 years bachelors degree in Chinese language or through short certificate courses from an accredited institution like Guoji Dui (for those who have not studied Chinese language at the undergraduate level).
You can access a scholarship to earn the Masters in Teaching Chinese degree if you enroll for short Chinese language courses at Guoji Dui and perform excellently, and interestingly, you can get this scholarship irrespective of the field of study in your bachelors’ degree.
So even if you studied engineering, physical sciences, law, management or any other course, you can run a certificate course with Guoji Dui and then get sponsored to China to get a Master in Teaching Chinese degree to enable you return and become a lecturer.
Have Independent Consultancy Services or be a Freelance Chinese Translator
Understanding and speaking Chinese gives you a great chance of being accepted to work and live in foreign countries. Citizens of English speaking countries like the United States, Australia, Canada and others in Europe, Africa and Asia are hardly willing to channel their time and mental energy into learning Chinese, but because they do business and other involvements with the Chinese, they are in desperate need of English/Chinese speakers who can work as translators or in Chinese establishments in their countries.
To get Chinese related employment and residence opportunities in such countries, you would require at least a fourth level HSK (the standard proficiency test used by China for non-native Chinese speakers) certificate which you will earn after Guoji Dui level 4.
Offer Independent Consultancy Services or become a Freelance Chinese Translator
Many persons who have efficiently learnt to speak Chinese run their own private consultancy firm for Chinese translations. Others operate freelance translation services which they promote on various social media sites or freelancing platforms where they get translation jobs.
They can do any of these in addition to their regular jobs or businesses and earn good income that is sometimes paid in foreign currency.
When some of these Chinese companies need to introduce a new product or service into, say, the Nigerian market, they come for various kinds of surveys and to do these, they require a translator to help them communicate efficiently or even manage the entire project (very common). One can get contract jobs like this from their fourth level of Chinese language certification.
During and after your Chinese learning with Guoji Dui, if you perform very well, Guoji Dui can include you in their list of translators that they recommend for translation jobs to companies or individuals seeking such.
Some independent Chinese consultants and freelance translators charge between N350,000 to N500,000 for their services. This amount could be lower or much higher, depending on factors like the location or duration of the service required and the people/company it is offered to.
Get Academic Scholarships from Chinese Central Government for Undergraduate, Masters or PHD Studies
The government of China offers scholarships to people, Africans especially, who wish to obtain their undergraduate, Masters or PHD degree in China. They do these because they are out to strengthen their language and business relationships across the world.
The amazing aspect about these scholarships is that you can choose to further in any preferred field, and not compulsorily in Chinese studies. You can access a scholarship in Engineering, Arts, Social sciences etc.
However, a preferential requirement to access an academic scholarship from the Chinese central government is that you have good understanding of Chinese language (that is in addition to having a good academic result).
With a certificate in Guoji Dui level three or four, you can have an edge in getting academic scholarships like these.
Get Academic Scholarships from Chinese Universities for Undergraduate, Masters or PHD Studies
As a means of encouraging more people to study in China, various Chinese universities offer scholarships to students who are committed to learning.
These scholarships are available for any preferred course the beneficiaries wish to further in, that is, it is NOT only for those who wish to earn an undergraduate, masters or PHD in Chinese language. They might come as a full one, covering tuition, accommodation, and stipends for upkeep, etc., or they may come as a partial scholarship, covering one or more, but not all of these.
Obtaining a Guoji Dui level 3 or 4 certification can enhance your chances of getting university scholarships in China.
Get Academic Scholarships from Chinese Provincial Government for Undergraduate, Masters or PHD Studies
The Chinese provincial government (governing states/regions in China) covers thousands of scholarships for foreign students who are interested in schooling in China.
In offering these scholarships, preference is given to candidates that already have some level of proficiency in Chinese language (like Guoji Duo level 3 or 4,).
Like other academic scholarships earlier discussed, you can decide to study any preferred course of your choice, which could also be Chinese language.
Requirements for Studying Chinese Language As University Degree in UNIZIK (NnamdiAzikiwe University) and UNILAG (University of Lagos)
Chinese can be studied as a full time undergraduate degree in few Nigerian universities like UNIZIK and UNILAG. To achieve this, you need to have the required UTME and WAEC combination to gain admission to study. If you succeed in gaining entry, you can then start attending lectures each semester, and go through various tests and examinations to graduate, just like every other undergraduate course of study in Nigeria.
There are about two universities currently in Nigeria offering Chinese studies as an undergraduate course; they are University of Lagos and NnamdiAzikiwe University, Awka.
Chinese Scholarships for Nigerians
Since the advent of Chinese studies in Nigeria, a number of Nigerians have been offered study and work scholarships in China.
These scholarships are awarded because the Chinese are eager to keep building strong inter-cultural relationships with Nigeria, especially in the regard of language learning and education.
Like earlier mentioned, by 2020, Confucius Institutes in Nigeria would be shitfing their focus towards supportig degree programs and will halt its schorlarships as well. This would leave Guoji Dui as the primary Chinese institute that would be offering diverse scholarship opportunities to Nigerians.
While learning with Guoji Dui, you can begin to access scholarships from your level 3.
At this third level, you qualify for fully or partially sponsored short term travels to China. These short travels which are called summer trips or cultural immersion trips often span for about a month or two. As from Guoji Dui level 4, you can access full or partial scholarshipsto China for about four to six months to learn more about the Chinese people and language.
At Guoji Dui level 5, you qualify to access long term scholarships, which may be full or partial, for a two-year study to earn a Masters degree in Teaching Chinese. Travel and study opportunities like these give Chinese learners ample platform to understand and master the language better, as well as take advantage of available jobs.
Another way Guoji Dui encourages Nigerians to excel their Chinese training is that they refund part or full tuition paid by students who perform excellently at various levels of studying with them.
Dialects of the Chinese Language
There are numerous dialects/languages spoken in China by the mammoth population of people making up the 56 ethnic groups in China. Examples of these dialects are Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Uyghur, Hmong, Shanghainese, over 200 more dialects; however, the most common and generally spoken Chinese language is called Mandarin.
Mandarin is the most popular dialect of Chinese language in China such that most of the Chinese people only speak their individual dialects at home, but when in schools, business places, religious outlets, and other public places, they communicate in Mandarin. So what you actually hear as the generally accepted Chinese is precisely Mandarin. Once you are able to understand and speak mandarin, you will be able to communicate with a vast majority of the Chinese because according to findings, over 73% of the Chinese clan speaks Mandarin.
Interestingly, people in other Asian countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, communicate in Mandarin too, so a Mandarin/Chinese speaker would be able to communicate with people from these countries as well.
Doubtlessly, one of the best steps you can take to ultimately enhance your career, academic or professional goals would be to start learning Chinese now.
Learn Chinese Language in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Other
Locations in Nigeria.
You can learn Chinese from anywhere you are in Nigeria. Like we earlier noted, almost all Chinese learning institutes in Nigeria run an onsite learning campus requiring the physical presence of the leaners to participate in the training.
Guoji Dui Chinese Learning Institute, which is an exception to strict onsite learning, operates a distance learning system.
Guoji Dui has their Chinese studies covering Eastern Nigeria cities like Enugu, Owerri, Awka, Nsukka, Nnewi, Onitsha, Aba, Abakaliki, Umuahia and others.
The Chinese language institutue is also available to residents of Northern Nigerian cities like Abuja, Bauchi, Yola, Maiduguri, Sokoto, Jalingo, Damaturu, Gusau, Lafia, Lokoja, Makurdi, Minna, Gombe, Dutse, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Birnin Kebbi, Jos, etc.
Guoji Duii’s Chinese language training services also extends to people living in cities in Western Nigeria like Lagos, Benin, Ado Ekiti, Ilorin, Ikeja, Abeokuta, Akure, Oshogbo, and Ibadan.
Their Chinese learning services can be assessed by anyone living in all locations within the south-south of Nigeria like Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Calabar, Ughelli, Warri, Uyo, Eket, and Asaba.
Learn Chinese Language in South Africa – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Others
Guoji Dui Chinese language learning service is available to South Africans living in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and other cities.
South Africa is one of the top African countries whose citizens have been earmarked for multiple scholarships, study grants, travel grants and other benefits from Guoji Dui Chinese Language Institute.
More details on schools or centers to learn Chinese language in South Africa, as well as other details, will be updated here via a link to a separate blog post.
Learn Chinese Language in Ghana – Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, Others.
Residents of Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and other areas across Ghana can enroll to learn Chinese language at Guoji Dui Chinese language school.
Ghana is one of the top African countries whose citizens have been earmarked for multiple scholarships, study grants, travel grants and other benefits from Guoji Dui Chinese Language Institute.
More details on schools or centers to learn Chinese language in Ghana, as well as other details, will be updated here via a link to a separate blog post.
Learn Chinese Language in Ethiopia – Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Mek’ele, Others.
People who live in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Mek’ele and other places in Ethiopia can enroll to learn Chinese language at Guoji Dui Chinese language school.
Ehiopia is one of the top African countries whose citizens have been earmarked for multiple scholarships, study grants, travel grants and other benefits from Guoji Dui Chinese Language Institute.
More details on schools or centers to learn Chinese language in Ethiopia, as well as other details, will be updated here via a link to a separate blog post.
Learn Chinese Language in Kenya – Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Other Locations
Residents of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and other locations in Kenya can enroll to learn Chinese language at Guoji Dui Chinese language school.
Kenya is one of the top African countries whose citizens have been earmarked for multiple scholarships, study grants, travel grants and other benefits from Guoji Dui Chinese Language Institute.
More details on schools or centers to learn Chinese language in Kenya, as well as other details, will be updated here via a link to a separate blog post.
Learn Chinese Language in Tanzania – Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Dodoma, Others.
People who live in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Dodoma and other places in Tanzania can enroll to learn Chinese language at Guoji Dui Chinese language school.
Tanzania is one of the top African countries whose citizens have been earmarked for multiple scholarships, study grants, travel grants and other benefits from Guoji Dui Chinese Language Institute.
More details on schools or centers to learn Chinese language in Tanzania, as well as other details, will be updated here via a link to a separate blog post.
Study in China – Agent and Consultancy Services for Nigerians
Guojid Dui offers Study in China agent or consultancy services to facilitate application to Chinese Universities and processing of admission to Chinese institutions for Nigerians who wish to study in China. Details about this will be updated here through a link to a separate blog post.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Guoji Dui?
Guoji Dui is a Chinese language teaching giant that is commissioned to equip Africans (including Nigerians) with the right Chinese language skills necessary for them to become 21st century business leaders and workforce professionals who will enhance China-Africa cooperation and drive needed development in Africa.
• Chinese learning institutes in Nigeria: these are any of the online or onsite learning platforms for Chinese language studies.
• Chinese learning centers in Nigeria: this is another term for platforms where one can learn Chinese language.
• Chinese language school learning schools in Nigeria: these are places where interested students can go to learn Chinese language.