The institute is located in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (Zmaja od Bosne 8) on University Campus, and offers free year-round courses in Chinese, calligraphy and kung fu.
La Weixin, Director of the Confucius Institute, has been living here since the Institute first opened. He highly recommends a visit to Sarajevo and invites everyone who is interested to enroll in the Institute’s free courses.
Sarajevans are talented for languages
When it comes to learning languages, La finds Sarajevans quite talented and shares that there are already 60 students who are studying Chinese.
- Our aim is to have as many Sarajevans as possible learn Chinese because China is becoming a major player on the world stage; it’s developing quickly and has much to offer the world. People think that Chinese is difficult but, once they start our course, it sparks their interest. Bosnian isn’t a hard language, either. I’m taking classes and am doing well, relates La.
He first heard of Sarajevo back in the ‘70s, when he saw the popular film, Walter Defends Sarajevo, which helped an entire generation fall in love with our city.
La comes from Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province, where the mighty Yellow River (Huáng Hé) flows. When he first arrived, he was taken with how Sarajevo is situated in a valley and surrounded by mountains, with the Miljacka flowing through town.
- Lovely Sarajevo reminds me of Lanzhou, so I often take walks along the Miljacka, encounter people laughing with their families and take pictures of the city to send to friends.
Since he works during the week, La socializes with friends in the lively areas around Sarajevo City Center and BBI Center on weekends. He likes the atmosphere at Tito Caffe and is eager to learn more about the history of BiH by visiting the Historical Museum and the National Museum.
He enjoys Bosnian dishes and ćevapi, which he first tried at Inat Kuća.
- I love Bosnian food, which is very similar to the food in Lanzhou. Traditional Bosnian cakes are great, even if they are a bit too sweet for my taste.
He likes to spend weekends in Baščaršija, where he enjoys buying souvenirs.
He likes the atmosphere in town during the Christmas holidays, or when the April 6th Awards are held in Vijećnica, where he has met some interesting figures, like former footballer, Mirsad Fazlagić.
Potential for Sarajevo tourism is in the natural beauty
He sees potential for Sarajevo tourism in the natural beauty and he had this to say in closing our conversation:
- I hope that more people will visit this city to enjoy wonderful nature and the legacy of a long history with the kind locals, and that more Sarajevans will visit China in the future.