The Professors Jufen Shen and Esperanza Aquerreta are currently the Directors of the first Confucius Institute in Venezuela, located at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela in the city of Caracas. This first Confucius Institute was inaugurated in December of the year 2016, making in its first two years of creation academic and cultural activities of high importance for the development of the Chinese language and culture in Venezuela.

(versión en inglés)

Instituto Confucio

Prof.  Jufen Shen

Dr. Shen, you are currently leading the first Confucius Institute of Venezuela. Can you tell us a little about this experience as a teacher in the teaching of Chinese language and culture?

Under the support of Hanban , Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UBV) and Changzhou University, and under the harmonious cooperation of the directors and the teachers, the tasks have been completed  smoothly. First of all, all the Chinese teachers are respected and appreciated by the students in Venezuela. The students are very friendly, sweet and tolerant to teachers.

Secondly, those students who can speak some English are quicker to learn Chinese. Thirdly, our students aging from 16 to 70, they all accept Chinese culture, they admire our qualities such as hardworking, discipline, loyalty to family, deep love to our motherland, cooperation, unity and so on.


In the framework of the Integral Strategic Association that supports China and Venezuela at the end of 2016, the first Confucius Institute of Venezuela was created in the city of Caracas with the aim of promoting the teaching of Chinese language and culture. Tell us about the responsiveness of this initiative. How many students are enrolled in their classrooms? Do you plan to open other Confucius Institute headquarters in the country?

The first Confucius Institute of Venezuela was created in 2016, since then, every year, about 600 to 900 students are registered to learn Chinese, but the number of students who continue to learn Chinese for more than one year is on decline due to different reasons. Many people want to learn Chinese, but their passion or interest will last a long time.

2019, we do not have plan to open other Confucius Institute headquarters in the country due to the current situation.

In what way and through what activities does the Confucius Institute promote cultural exchange between China and Venezuela?

With the help of Chinese enterprises, which have actively participated and supported the UBV Confucius Institute different cultural activities, we have been able to successfully carry out said activities. 10 lectures and competitions in 2018 were sponsored by Chinese enterprises; they have helped us by providing judges for our competitions as well as prizes for the winners, and brought many of their employees as our guests for each one of our events. We have received an audience of more than 2,000 in total, which has created a good reputation as well as a very big influence. If there were no selfless help of “I am a volunteer of the Confucius Institute” programs, the UBV Confucius Institute would be unable to carry out various cultural activities this smoothly.

The Confucius Institute relied on the platform of “I am a volunteer” and launched a series of Cultural activities and lectures, inviting many “I am a volunteer” members to participate in cultural teaching activities. In 2018, more than 60 volunteers offered a hand to help.


Can you tell us a little about the teaching and scholarship programs currently offered by the Confucius Institute of Venezuela?

If the young students can pass HSK 4, they are likely to obtain scholarship to study in China. Some intelligent students are striving for the goals.

What do you consider to be the main challenges facing the teaching of Chinese for Spanish-speaking people and in particular for the Venezuelan case?

The four tones of Chinese and Chinese characters are difficult for the beginners to grasp. Some students have clear aim, they are likely to overcome difficulty to learn, and they will continue to learn Chinese for more than 2 years and they learn quick and well.

But some students are easily to drop Chinese learning after one semester due to their age, job, traffic,  exams, unwillingness to work hard and culture. I am sorry to say that the dropping rate in each semester is higher than any other institutes. Therefore, every year, our institute has a lot of level one students and  less level 4 students. If we charge students a little bit more tuition, many students cannot afford it, but if the tuition is so low, many students do not cherish the opportunity to learn. That is also a big problem.

Prof. Esperanza Aquerreta

Professor Aquerreta, along with Professor Shufen, leads the Confucius Institute of Venezuela. Can you comentarno a little about the receptivity of this institution in our country?

The Institute has had a very high receptivity since its inception we have received innumerable requests for the teaching of Chinese both governmental and private entities and students within our university and the rest of the universities National.
Since its inception in the year 2017 until the end of 2018 we have attended a Total of 2,470 students and this semester we have a registration record of 574 students.

Within our students, in addition to the academics, we have employees of the different state entities that require their public servants to manage the language for reasons of the nature of work such as the Supreme Court of Justice, PDVSA, Ministries, Chancellery, among others, we also have officials of Chinese companies working in cooperation with Venezuela. In general, we could say that demand exceeds supply, because at present we have four professors. We hope that the situation in the country will stabilize to request a greater number of teachers to China.


In what ways and through which activities does the Confucius Institute promote cultural exchange between China and Venezuela?

Within the language courses we always touch aspects of the culture and values of the Chinese people, but also in the institute a series of lectures are promoted with Chinese guests referring to cultural aspects such as cave painting, development of the Railways in China, gastronomy and culinary, Traditional Chinese medicine, Confucius Philosophy and its values, traditions and cultural festivals and its significance for the Chinese people, among others. It also develops skills in Chinese singing and writing and orality for students to become familiar with these important aspects and for this they organize special classes and collateral activities with Chinese volunteers.

In addition, our institute has a program called “I am a volunteer” made up of Mandarin Chinese speakers, most of the Chinese companies that are based in the country, who bring their knowledge with various topics both Scientists as culturals of their work and that bring us closer to the Chinese world.

Can you tell us a little about the teaching and scholarship programs currently offered by the Confucius Institute of Venezuela?

The Institute offers mediation in obtaining scholarships through the Chinese government through Hanban, for which students must have the HSK 4 or 5 exams approved, in order to be able to opt for a quota within the Chinese universities in strategic areas. In these cases, special attention is paid to those students who express their desire and pass with excellent qualifications and are provided with extra classes and counseling.

On the other hand, those students who win the competences of Bridge to China, where the linguistic competence of the student is assessed, Hanban offers them a stay of two to three weeks for their participation in the global contest and to know a little more closely the Chinese culture.

What do you consider to be the main challenges facing Chinese teaching for Spanish-speaking people and in particular for the Venezuelan case?

The greatest challenge lies in the constancy and discipline in the study of Mandarin Chinese, the student can not concentrate on only the hours of classes per week with their teachers, but instead should devote a minimum of two to three hours a day to be able to Learn the characters and tones of Mandarin Chinese and learn from the patience, honesty, constancy and discipline of the Chinese people.


El Centro Venezolano de Estudios sobre China (CVEC) es el primer y único centro de investigación dedicado exclusivamente a los estudios sobre China dentro de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela. Fundado el 13 de junio de 2017 por jóvenes profesores e investigadores provenientes de la Universidad Central de Venezuela, el CVEC ha planificado desde su creación, la conformación de un equipo de investigadores provenientes de distintos espacios intelectuales y profesionales, cuyas capacidades de análisis y comprensión sobre las realidades que configuran el mundo de hoy y del futuro coincidieran en esta instancia de gestión académica e intelectual.

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