The Year of the Sheep (Goat or Ram!) has signified another exciting period for Chinese language and cultural engagement in Queensland. In Q1 and Q2, the Confucius Institute at UQ continued to develop its services to students, staff and contacts through a range of courses, programs and events. Importantly in 2015, the Institute continues to consolidate its connections in North Queensland through local schools and cultural projects. The Institute’s commitment to community engagement is again expected to be a key highlight throughout the year.
Chinese New Year Celebrations and Engagement in North Queensland
Building on relationships formed in recent years, the Confucius Institute at UQ was again welcomed to the communities of Cairns and Innisfail to participate in a range of CNY and engagement activities. A number of schools were visited including St Andrew’s Catholic College and the Good Counsel College to celebrate the New Year with Calligraphy presentations and Wushu/Taiqi performances.
Visits such as this help bring Chinese culture to students in regions outside of major cities and is a key focus of the Institute. Students are often keen to explore and participate in events that highlight different cultures and experiences from what they’re accustomed to. A community celebration was also held at Innisfail’s Chinese Temple to bring in the New Year.
UQ Confucius Classrooms open in Queensland
In Q1 and Q2, 2 Confucius classrooms were officially opened at Innisfail’s Good Counsel College (February) and St Andrew’s Catholic College in Cairns (June). Confucius classrooms facilitated by UQ’s Confucius Institute provide students with opportunities to study Mandarin and learn about Chinese history, culture and traditions. Classrooms are supported by the Confucius Institute in a number of ways and benefit not just students, but staff and the local community. “The classrooms will not only enhance opportunities for students, but also for school teachers and administrators in a time where an understanding of Chinese language and culture is receiving greater emphasis,” Professor Ping Chen, Director of CI UQ said.
An additional Confucius classroom is forecasted to be opened in late 2015.
Brisbane China CNY Festivals
As part of the Confucius Institute’s commitment to community events, the Institute was pleased to again be involved with key festivals in Brisbane to celebrate CNY 2015. Working with the Brisbane Chinese Festival and the Voice of Australian Chinese International, a series of Chinese New Year events took place including the Chinese Festival Rhythm (Logan), a Chinese New Year parade (Sunnybank) and a visiting Troupe performance (Brisbane City Hall). These events were successful in showcasing Chinese culture to the greater Brisbane communities and received great support.
CI Day at The University of Queensland
Working with Mates@UQ, the Confucius Institute at UQ hosted a Sem. 1 Confucius Day BBQ on the 16th of April to celebrate Chinese culture. Attended by over 70 students, staff and guests, the event commenced with an interactive Taichi demonstration under the guidance of a Taichi master. A number of guests joined in practising this ancient Chinese martial arts form in the picturesque Alumni Court. A dumpling making display followed with an introduction into the ingredients and techniques used to make Chinese dumplings. Lunch completed the official CI Day proceedings.
Events such as CI Day provide opportunities to showcase Chinese traditions and promote better cultural understanding.
UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to China
In late July 2015, 22 exceptional UQ students returned from a unique study experience to China as part of a tour facilitated by the Confucius Institute at UQ. The UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to China is a four-week program organised in collaboration with Tianjin University incorporating Chinese language tuition, cultural learning, and research and practical experiences related to the student’s field of study. Since the first tour in 2010, this annual study experience to China has gone from strength to strength in terms of the value offered to participating students.
The tour, opened to all enrolled UQ students strives for closer co-operation between UQ programs, academics and the practical experience delivered during the China study tour. Applications for the 2016 will open at the start of Semester 1 (2016).
Chinese Bridge - Chinese Proficiency Competition
Congratulations to all students that participated and to those that received awards. Sincere thanks also to key event supporters and sponsors including the Chinese Consulate in Brisbane.
Importance of the HSK: Teacher Workshops initiated
More than 40 Chinese teachers from Queensland Primary and Secondary schools attended the Confucius Institute workshop on HSK Testing and Teaching methodology held at The University of Queensland in June. The workshop focused on three key aspects in 1) the recognition of HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test) towards attaining QCE; 2) increased understanding of the HSK; and 3) implementing HSK teaching into classrooms.
This workshop is part of the Confucius Institute’s support towards HSK and HSK teacher development in Queensland. The HSK will continue to grow in value with the results of the HSK now officially recognised by the Queensland Curriculum Assessment Authority (QCAA) as creditable towards the secondary school student Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).
Guest Lecturers at UQ
In the first half of 2015, the Confucius Institute at UQ facilitated and supported two well attended guest lectures at The University of Queensland. In March, Singapore Nanyang Technological University’s Professor Liu Hong was welcomed to UQ to present a public lecture entitled: ‘In Search of a New Migration Order: The Chinese Experience in a Global and Comparative Perspective’.
In May, visiting academic Dr Yang Yang (Senior lecturer, head of Music Education) College of Music, Shaan’xi Normal University delivered a public seminar 'Unity & Individuality - An Introduction to Music Culture in China'.
Did you know?
The Mid-Autumn Fesitival 中秋节 (zhong qiu jie) is an important festival in the Chinese Calendar. Falling in the middle of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, this festival is a celebration of the harvest during Autumn's full moon. In many regions, the Mid-Autumn Fesitival is celebrated through family gatherings, eating mooncakes and lighting Chinese lanterns.
This year, mid-Autumn Fesitival will fall on September 27.