Language Centre and Confucius Institute – partners in teaching Chinese

Julie Yu-Wen Chen and Ulla-Kristiina Tuomi

In May 2017, the Language Centre signed a cooperation agreement with the Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki. This enabled a wide range of Chinese courses from elementary to advanced levels to be integrated into the Language Centre’s curriculum. Students of all faculties at the University of Helsinki benefit from this cooperation, and since autumn 2017, we have witnessed a drastic increase in the registrations for Language Centre / Confucius Institute Chinese courses. As a result, new classes were added “on the fly” to meet the needs of increasing numbers of students.



Confucius Institute is a Sino-Finnish joint venture operated and supported by Hanban (Confucius Institute Headquarters, China), Renmin University (China) and the University of Helsinki. It has been an integral part of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Arts since 2007. The Confucius Institute celebrated its tenth anniversary at the University of Helsinki in 2017, and it is now the largest institution providing Chinese language courses, Chinese proficiency tests and training for Chinese language teachers in Finland. Moreover, the Confucius Institute offers regular cultural events and academic lectures or conferences to deepen Finnish people’s understanding of China.



Asian languages, including Chinese, have gained popularity in Finland. For some Finnish students, Chinese is an interesting and exotic language opening a door to a new culture, for others, a valuable professional asset. Based on the cooperation between the Language Centre and the Confucius Institute, Chinese teaching providing for both these interests can now be offered in the Language Centre curriculum. This is a win-win situation for both institutes in terms of improved course provision and visibility to students.  Thus the new cooperation between the Language Centre and the Confucius Institute was timely indeed.


Text: Julie Yu-Wen Chen and Sinikka Karjalainen

Photo: Mariliina Räsänen