This year has seen the Confucius Institute continue to deliver on its promise to offer a comprehensive range of educational and cross-cultural experiences for students and staff here at UQ, as well as the community. Here are some highlights from 2012.
Mr Wenzhen Zhang from Tianjin University commenced work as Chinese tutor at CI in June as replacement of Ms Anna Fan, who returned to Tianjin University in July. Wenzhen obtained a BA in English for Science and Technology at Tianjin University, and an MA in Media, Development and Democracy at the University of Oslo. Prior to his current position at CI, he was Associate Professor and Head of Department of English at Tianjin University.
Mr Chiu-Hing Chan, MJ, LLB, BIR, JP, MAICD, was appointed Associate Fellow of the CI at UQ. Mr Chan is Vice Chairman & CEO of the Australian Chinese General Chamber of Business, and Chairman of the Brisbane Chinatown Committee. He was Young Queenslander of the Year in 2009 for his outstanding service to the ethnic and business community in Queensland.
CI continues offering three courses in Chinese Studies at LCCS in 2012, with one of them, Translation and Interpreting for Special Purposes in Science, Engineering and Technology, also open to students from EAIT and Science.
Around 30 students from local universities and schools participated in courses for preparation for HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test) and YCT (Youth Chinese Test), and ensuing HSK and YCT tests offered by the CI in May. The second round of the courses and tests took place on 6 November.
The HSK test, also known as Chinese TOEFL or IELTS, is universally recognised as the only standardized exam against which the Chinese language proficiency of all non-native speakers can be evaluated. It is the most commonly used test for selecting potential employees and students who have successfully demonstrated sufficient levels of language skills to work and study in China.
"Chinese Bridge" Language Proficiency Competition
On 5 May CI at UQ held the Queensland Preliminaries of the "Chinese Bridge" Language Proficiency Competition. The finalist, Christopher Kamp, and runner-up, Sophia Mansbridge, both from UQ, gave incredible performances much to the delight of the audience present. These two students progressed to the world finals in Changsha in July where they represented UQ admirably.
The first CI Board meeting in 2012 was convened on 3 August via video conferencing. It was chaired by Dr Anna Ciccarelli, DVC (International) of UQ and Chair of the CI Board, and attended by nine Board members from UQ and Tianjin University. Ping Chen, Director of the CI, presented a half-year report to the Board.
Confucius Institute at UQ China Forum
CI worked closely with the Offices of VC, SDVC, DVC (International) and UQ International on the organization of a UQ Forum "Queensland–China Partnerships: Research and Innovation", co-badged as Confucius Institute at UQ China Forum, at Customs House on July 19. Professor Debbie Terry, VC, made an opening speech at the Forum. The Forum was addressed by Professor Chunli Bai, President of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and The Hon Ros Bates MP, the Queensland government Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts. It was attended by about 120 people from UQ and outside. Guests included the Governor General of Queensland, representatives from the Queensland government, other Queensland universities and the local business community.
Research Internship Study Tour to Tianjin University
The June–July 2012 holidays saw 25 students from the University of Queensland travel to Tianjin, China as part of a research internship study tour. The study tour was organised by the Confucius Institute at UQ in cooperation with its partner university in China, Tianjin University. The Faculties of EAIT, Science, and Arts at UQ were very supportive of the tour and were incredibly helpful with selecting eligible students.
The program enjoyed a great amount of publicity when it was announced at the beginning of the year. The faculties received a large number of applications, thanks in part to the success of the program since its inception in 2010. Out of approximately 80 applications, 25 students were selected to participate, with 19 from EAIT, 3 from Science, and 3 from Arts. The successful students were extremely enthusiastic and eager to participate.
The activities at Tianjin University were similar to previous years. On the first day of classes, students were separated into two groups, determined by their Chinese proficiency. The morning would be spent in their respective Chinese language classes, followed by lessons in Chinese culture. The afternoons would be spent working in labs on research projects under the supervision of staff at TU. Professors or engineers at the university were either assigned to a single UQ student or a small group of UQ students, and helped them with their coursework.
The students were involved in a number of cultural activities around the university, Tianjin city, and even Beijing. These included a tour of Tianjin city and Binhai New Area, a trip to the Great Wall, and attending the Beijing Opera. At TU, students took the opportunity to participate in taichi, calligraphy, paper cutting, Chinese painting, and martial arts. Other cultural classes included China's history, education, geography, medicine, customs, mythology, and Confucian culture. Students reported that these activities helped give them a better understanding of the history, culture, and economic development of Tianjin and China.
It was great to hear such supportive and wonderful comments from the students who participated in this tour. All of the reports we received reflected on the tour in a very positive manner.
Staff from Fudan University visit
On 1 August 2012, the Confucius Institute at the University of Queensland ran a seven–day training program for 27 TESOL teachers from Fudan University, China.
The main purpose of this course was to improve the English communication skills of these teachers, to help them to learn and understand Australia's modes of education, experience the management of teaching and learning, to strengthen their cultural understanding of English-speaking countries and exchange with the local fellow teachers. They were able to experience many classroom language teaching skills and learning methods of English at UQ, so as to be able to apply them to quality teaching in their home country. This program was a valuable experience for their career development.
The program came to a successful conclusion on the 7th of August. Professor Chen Ping, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Queensland, addressed their certificate issuing ceremony for completing the course, in both languages. These teachers also expressed their gratitude to him and the business manager of the institute for their efficient contributions to the success of this program, and further cooperation for organizing such activities was also discussed after the ceremony for the benefit of more TESL teachers from China.
Indooroopilly students and teachers enjoy tour to China
As part of our outreach program, CI arranged for a culture and language tour for students at Indooroopilly State School who, along with their teachers, enjoyed a 14 day trip to Tianjin, Beijing, and Xian in September. This tour encompassed intensive language training, lessons in history and culture as well as tours of sites of historical significance. The purpose of the tour was to provide Chinese learning students at ISHS with in-country experience, and to help the school establishing links with Chinese partners for student and staff exchange.
It was such an excellent opportunity for 25 lucky Chinese students to travel on Chinese Summer Camp to extend our knowledge of the Chinese language. Studying at Tianjin University and visiting the surroundings of Beijing and Tianjin assisted us with understanding the Chinese culture. Climbing the Great Wall, discovering the Ming Tombs and haggling at the Pearl Markets was such an exhilarating time of our lives as we were able to put our practice and study to show, performing exceptionally well to receive good bargains. We were all able to try exotic Asian food, consisting of many different animals including frog, beef, chicken, pork and Chinese fish as well as having rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
While staying at Tianjin University, we attended classes for 4 hours most days in the mornings and then participated in afternoon activities including shopping, calligraphy, paper cutting and lectures on Chinese culture. All students and teachers visited Nankai Public High School, a very selective and elegant school filled with a long history, ancient and modern buildings with a modest purple school uniform. Their students spoke excellent English though we tried our best to speak mostly Chinese to them.
On behalf of all of the participants from the Chinese Summer Camp 2012 we would like to thank the Confucius Institute, University of Queensland and the Parents & Citizens' Association of Indooroopilly State High School for supporting this trip. This trip really meant a lot for all of the students as the entire group was able to make new friendships with other students in different year levels and work in efficient teams for class work and activities. It would be fantastic if Indooroopilly High was able to keep a constant connection with the Confucius Institute as well as Tianjin University as the costs were subsidised through this study tour and the organisation of accommodation and study activities enhanced students' determination with learning Chinese. Many students from this camp have enquired about returning to Tianjin because of such a memorable trip and successful studies. We all enjoyed ourselves and enjoyed every minute of being in a different country, extending our Chinese, touring around the surrounding towns of Beijing and Tianjin and, last but not least, experiencing an insight of University life in China.
Georgia Falloon (year 12), Megan Head (year 10), Cai Fong (year 10)
Chinese Cooking with the Chefs Class
CI at UQ, in collaboration with UQ and Australia Chinese General Chamber of Business in Queensland, organized a ten–week Chinese cooking with master chefs class. The first class was held at the UQ Alumni Court at St Lucia Campus on 6 September.
Participants were taken on an epicurean journey of Chinese cuisine with the help of guest chefs, including Poh Ling Yeow, 2011 MasterChef finalist and host of ABC's Poh's Kitchen, and Dan Hong, Executive Chef of Mr. Wong, Ms.G's and El Loco, and guest chef on MasterChef.
The ten-week course covered a number of key skills from cooking the famous Shanghai Chinese dumpling to the art of making pastry for red bean pancakes.
During this time over 400 people attended either as participants and audience members and was enthusiastically received by all who joined this amazing course. We thank everyone who came to make this course a success.
"High Education in China and China Scholarship Council" workshop
CI in collaboration with UQ International organised a workshop "High Education in China and China Scholarship Council" for UQ staff on 5 September. Professor Fred D'Agostino made an opening speech, followed by six presenters who discussed aspects of higher education in China with its opportunities and challenges for UQ, and how to work with China Scholarship Council on RHD recruitment and research and grant application. It was attended by about 40 UQ staff from various faculties and research institutes. The presentations are now available on UQ International Intranet.
40 years of Australia–China diplomatic relations
CI staff attended two receptions marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Australia China diplomatic relations, one organized by Australia–China Business Council on 6 September, and the other by Chinese Consulate General on 8 September.
The CI also organised a special forum "40 years of Australia-China Relations" on 20 November to further acknowledge the anniversary. The guest speaker was Dr Reginald Little, a high ranking Australian diplomat posted in Beijing for many years and an accomplished author on traditional Chinese culture and Australia–China relations. Dr Anna Ciccarelli, DVC (I) of UQ, gave an opening welcome speech.
China Education Exhibition
Professor Ping Chen and other CI staff attended the China Education Exhibition held on UQ campus from 9:00 to 14:00 on 21 September. Professor Debbie Terry, VC, welcomed a delegation of 80 members from China Scholarship Council and 27 Chinese universities to the UQ campus. Discussions were held between the visitors and relevant UQ offices and institutes. CI staff discussed with the visiting CSC executives on how to facilitate the application and admission process of CSC students from both sides.
Visiting Fellowships awarded to UQ and TU researchers
Five CI Visiting Fellowships were awarded in October to three early/mid career researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of EAIT at UQ, and two from Tianjin University, China. In its third year since 2010, the CI Visiting Fellowship program aims to facilitate closer collaboration between UQ and Tianjin University in science, engineering and technology, and in Chinese Studies. Recipients are expected to work on a research project in collaboration with staff at the other university or on a project that will benefit from local research environments at the other university, and/or to explore opportunities of collaboration between UQ and related faculties at TU in research and teaching.
Discussions on establishment of Confucius Classrooms in schools
Ben Kelly and Geoff Chen paid a couple of visits to Indooroopilly State High School, Lourdes Hill College and St Andrew's College holding talks with principals and staff on assisting them with partnering with Chinese schools, and on feasibility of setting up Confucius Classroom at their school.
Geoff Chen imparts guidance to high school students
Geoff Chen gave a presentation to 16 high school students visiting AIBN on 5 October on how to combine Chinese studies with training in science and engineering at UQ.
Confucius Institute praised by Australian Ambassador to China
Ping Chen met with the Australian Ambassador to China, HE Ms Frances Adamson, on 8 November, together with Mrs Rois O'Reilly, Principal of Indooroopilly State High School. The Confucius Institute has been working closely with the school in its development of the Chinese program. The Ambassador highly commended the CI's efforts to support Chinese learning programs in the local community.
Confucius Institute visits more schools to support Chinese teaching programs
Staff of the Institute visited seven schools, mostly in low socio-economical areas, in response to their requests to the CI at UQ to provide support to their Chinese teaching programs. The Institute is sponsoring some of them in their application to Hanban to set up a Confucius Classroom in their school.
CI has succeeded in its application to Hanban for funding a research project on Chinese language teaching in Queensland and Australia. CI will continue to contribute to international conferences in Chinese studies held at UQ.