Rania Katavouta, a doctoral candidate of modern Greek literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, will receive a Silver Magnolia Award from the Chinese city of Shanghai for her work teaching Greek to Chinese students.
The Magnolia Awards are bestowed on foreigners working in Shanghai, who contribute to the development of the city and to strengthening relations between China and their country of origin.
In the framework of the Scientific Co-operation Agreement signed between the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Shanghai International Studies University in 2013, Katavouta went to Shanghai in September 2014 to teach Greek language and literature at the Department of Greek Studies of the University of International Studies in Shanghai.
“Teaching Greek to Chinese students, who are interested in Greek culture and know a lot about ancient history and mythology, was an interesting challenge,” Katavouta said in an interview with the Athens Macedonian News Agency.
“Even though Greek is not their first choice,” she explained, “they show determination and manage to overcome the linguistic differences and difficulties.”
As for what makes it difficult for Chinese students to learn Greek, Katavouta said the main issues are pronunciation and sounds in the Greek language that don’t exist in Chinese.
She will receive her award on September 6, during a ceremony to be held in Shanghai.