Italian college students in China follow inside the footsteps of Marco Polo


Back within the thirteenth century, a younger Italian merchant named Marco Polo made his way to China through the historical Silk Road. Stories of his adventures, encounters, and observations were later compiled into The Travels of Marco Polo, one of the most well-known travelogues among Italians trying to alternate with China.

Hundreds of years later, the Belt and Road Initiative is presenting an equally vital possibility for both nations to keep cooperating in change, albeit on a miles wider and globalized scale.

A hastily increasing quantity of Italians, mostly students, have been following Marco Polo’s footsteps in latest years by way of reading in China. They are keen to play a big role in bridging Chinese and Italian cultures through alternate and commerce or translation.

Italian college students in China follow inside the footsteps of Marco Polo 1

The Global Times currently spoke with a few Italian college students in Shanghai approximately their personal expectations of the Belt and Road Initiative and their personal futures in China.

Viviana Stefani is presently reading for a grasp’s degree in Translation and Interpretation at Shanghai International Studies University (SISU). In 2018, SISU acquired four 661 overseas students from 116 nations and regions. Among them, 124 have been from Italy.

She said that she hopes Italy will be part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which not most effective is beneficial for Italian groups who wish to enter bigger markets like China, but may additionally open up greater possibilities for students like her who already speak both languages and might assist bridge those worlds.

“It may be very wonderful for Italy and for made-in-Italy merchandise to have a larger extent of exports to Asian countries, and for China to advantage extra get admission to to the Italian market, giving more linking points between China and Italy,” stated Stefani, who first discovered approximately the Belt and Road Initiative throughout her Italian-to-Chinese translation examination paper again in Italy.

Stefani is presently studying interpretation competencies along with her Chinese classmates in Shanghai. After commencement, she hopes to coordinate Italian and Chinese groups, each linguistically and culturally, with what she has learned.

“I desire there could be extra process possibilities [brought by the Belt and Road Initiative]. More and greater groups will make offers. So they may need new people running in that area; folks that can translate in that field,” she stated.

Additional bonuses

“I assume it will be a superb opportunity for Italy and China. Even although each country have already got a sturdy commerce dating, it’s going to provide [both sides] greater, due to the fact now China is turning into more and more important in the worldwide scene,” Federico Rossi, who plans to get his master’s diploma in China, instructed the Global Times.

“If Italy picks to embody the Belt and Road Initiative, it will be a win-win deal,” said Federica Bettati, an Italian student who’s participating in a Chinese language program and studies of Chinese patron conduct as part of her master’s thesis.

“Most Italian agencies are small or medium-sized establishments. So it is, in reality, tough to internationalize due to the expenses and the customs obligations. So perhaps with this new Silk Road, I hope the costs will lower,” said Bettati.

Many Italian students in China also don’t forget to analyze and soak up the Chinese surroundings as a further bonus to place on their resumes.

“It’s a high-quality possibility and an incredible revel in to add to my CV, no longer handiest knowing the Chinese language however additionally how to behave in a total one-of-a-kind environment,” stated Bettati, who often speaks with nearby Chinese as part of her research.

“I hope I can at some point be one of those folks who work for an Italian employer that wants to enter the Chinese market, or for a Chinese employer that needs to exchange with Italy,” said Bettati.

Future opportunities

Over the past half of-decade, it’s become a trend amongst Italian university college students to research the Chinese language, in line with Vincenzo Iannotta, who has a bachelor’s diploma in Comparative Language and Culture from the L’Orientale University of Naples, as well as a master’s degree in China Studies from SISU.

“I wanted to have a look at something extra exotic, something special from the standard languages, and on the equal time something that would give me destiny opportunities,” Iannotta told the Global Times.

But the young guy additionally stated that competition among Chinese speakers in Italy has emerged as pretty fierce. According to Iannotta, there are now many Chinese migrants dwelling in Italy, which has dwindled the call for Putonghua-speak me Italians.

But for Italian college students who have moved to China to observe full time, adapting to a vastly exclusive culture and society poses additional challenges beyond the usual language gaps.

“You end up being submerged in huge crowds inside the metro and surrounded using buildings, lighting, and skyscrapers,” said Iannotta.

“When I first came here, I realized that China changed into reality technological. Everything is digital,” Rossi informed the Global Times.

Common floor

However, much like Marco Polo, many Italians have determined ­commonplace floor shared using both peoples. “I assume, historically and culturally, China and Italy have performed the maximum crucial position in shaping the cultural framework of West and East,” said Iannotta.

He additionally has observed that the Chinese humans connect as a good deal fee to food and meals as Italians. “In China, whilst you greet anyone, you are saying ‘ni chi go le ma (have you ever had your meal)?’ In Italy, we are saying we wish humans will revel in their lunch or dinner when it’s lunchtime and dinnertime,” said Iannotta.

According to information supplied via the Italian Ministry of Education, the range of Chinese students studying in Italian universities extended by way of 33 instances among the 2003-2004 school 12 months and the 2017-2018 school 12 months, with around 7,500 Chinese students presently in Italy, China Education Daily pronounced in January.

The number of Italian Students in China also rose for that reason. Luo Ping, Educational Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Italy, said that 6,400 Italian students look at China every 12 months, making China the most important destination u. S . A. For Italian college students out of doors the EU, in line with China Education Daily.