JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- A ceremony was held at the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria on Wednesday to bid farewell to 37 South African students who have received scholarships to study in China as part of educational exchange programs between the two countries.
The students are scheduled to leave at the end of August to pursue studies in agricultural science, economics and medicine among other courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
"This opportunity is a great privilege, because it is the best time to study in China now," said Tian Xuejun, Chinese ambassador to South Africa.
Speaking of a new life experience in China, Tian reminded the students to keep in mind the three Fs -- future, fun, and friendship.
More talent is needed to help the cooperation between China and Africa grow deeper and wider, and create greater opportunities, he said.
"I hope that all of you will make the best of this opportunity and succeed in your academic pursuit. If you work hard, you may make a difference in the greatest episode of China-Africa relations," Tian added.
Mduduzi Manana, South African deputy minister of Higher Education and Training, encouraged students to help each other and solve challenges they may encounter in China.
"I hope for your contribution to our economy with what you learn in China," he added.
Sending students abroad would help cover skill shortages in South Africa such as engineers, doctors, economists and maths and science teachers. Skill shortages are identified as one of the obstacles to the country's development.