Rosemary Mackenzi’s love for the Chinese language started after her employment as an immigration officer thanks to frequent interactions with Chinese nationals.

“My love for the Chinese language reached new heights when I started working at the airport as an immigration officer. I met very many Chinese visitors and the language barrier was an issue hence the desire to learn their language,” Mackenzi told Xinhua on Thursday.

She enrolled for a two-month Chinese-language course at the University of Nairobi’s Confucius Institute in June 2016 and has greatly improved her proficiency in a language she once regarded difficult.

“At first I thought the Chinese language was difficult but I later developed a passion to master it, aware of its many benefits in my current work station,” said Mackenzi.

She said the language course had not only improved her understanding of the rich Chinese culture but also cemented her friendship with Chinese people.

“I am now more confident while handling visitors from China unlike previously when it was hard for me to communicate with them and often I sourced for an interpreter to iron out the language barrier,” Mackenzi said.

Mackenzi visited China in July 2016 as part of an exchange program for overseas students studying Mandarin.

She aspires to advance training in the Chinese language in order to hasten career mobility while broadening her world views.

A growing army of Kenyan government workers have expressed interest in Mandarin against the backdrop of blossoming China-Kenya ties.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi has been offering Chinese-language courses to state officials as well as staff from a leading five-star hotel.

Xu Jing, a lecturer at the Confucius Institute, said basic Chinese-language skills among Kenyan customs, immigration, foreign service and hospitality industry professionals has been rewarding.

The Confucius Institute also offered a Chinese-language course for diplomats in November 2016.

Victor Musembi, a Foreign Ministry official in his mid-30s, has enrolled for the four-month course.

“China is a strategic partner of our country and since joining the foreign service, I have always desired to learn more about the country through its language,” said Musembi.

Musembi’s visit to Beijing for international conferences has inspired him to study the Chinese language.

He is optimistic that proficiency in the Chinese language will be a boon in his future endeavor to become an outstanding diplomat.

Paul Mwandembe, a colleague of Musembi’s, is passionate about mastering the basic aspects of spoken and written Chinese language.

“My interest in Chinese language has been rekindled since enrolling for this course. The best part for me in this Chinese language course is drawing characters,” said Mwandembe.