The Year of the Horse has certainly galloped into full throttle as the first third of 2014 comes to a close. The Confucius Institute at UQ has kept itself busy in offering regular courses, programs and events that have been designed to cater to the students’ needs. As per usual, the promotion of the Chinese language and culture within UQ and the broader community is always kept in mind. Whether it involves offering Taichi courses, travelling to regional Queensland or supporting students in their growth and interest of the Chinese language, the start of 2014 has turned out to be yet another eventful trimester.
Key event highlights for Q1 included:
Chinese New Year Celebrations at North Queensland Schools
In welcoming the anticipated arrival of the Year of the Horse, the Confucius Institute at UQ travelled more than 1500km north to the cities of Cairns and Innisfail at the start of the year. This spectacle served as part of an outreach activity to share the Chinese New Year spirit with Queensland communities. It was an honour to be able to promote and display the unique ways that Chinese New Year is celebrated at St Andrew’s Catholic College in Cairns and Innisfail’s Good Counsel College. Students were awed and fascinated by the unfamiliar dance and Wushu performances that exhibited a vastly different and intriguing culture from what they’re accustomed to. A community celebration was also held in the Innisfail Chinese Temple on the day of Chinese New Year in order to reach out to the broader community of North Queensland.
Brisbane China Festival
The Brisbane China Festival was convened in King George Square on the 8th of February for its 3rd time running. A group from UQ joined many others as they took delight in participating in Chinese New Year festivities. Lion dances, music, parades and food shows lightened up the metropolis area as well as spreading the interest of Chinese tradition and culture to the wider public. The festival largely promoted and displayed the increased exchange and cooperation between China and Queensland, an initiative that deeply reflects the Confucius Institute at UQ’s own profile.
CI Delivers Support to Go8 Visits/Protocol
In building a stronger understanding and cooperation in terms of international visits, the annual International Visits/Protocol Management meeting held at UQ in February successfully brought together representatives from Australia’s Go8 universities. As part of the two day program, the Confucius Institute’s Business Manager delivered a presentation focusing on practices related to inbound and outbound visit engagements with China. The session proved useful in highlighting key cultural and etiquette aspects as well as discussions on promoting a stronger background of understanding when developing and implementing such visits.
Taichi at UQ
The months of April and May hosted a weekly display and learning opportunity for the ancient Chinese art of Taichi and Wushu. The one-hour sessions conducted by MasterZhou on the grounds of UQ Lakes was a sight to see for the many onlookers that gathered around. Up to ten participants were lucky enough to grab this opportunity to learn one of the most symbolic representations of Chinese culture. They were delighted to practice combining their physical and mental well-being whilst also reaping the health benefits that Taichi is reputed to give. This act of exposing UQ to the Chinese arts has been well received and will act as an example for future integration of Chinese culture on campus grounds this year.
HSK and YCT Testing
This month’s HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) and YCT (Youth Chinese Test) testing was once again a wonderful opportunity for students to challenge themselves and work towards the goal of improving and recognizing their growing skills with respect to the Chinese language. CI offers university students the freedom to register for a HSK level that they feel the most comfortable with, whether it be from the beginners level right through to the advanced levels of 5 and 6. As per tradition, CI also offers its services in helping students to prepare for the tests and correcting their practice test papers. CI looks forward to the September round of HSK and YCT testing to see its students grow in their interest and improvement of the Chinese language.
Importance of the HSK: QSA Recognised Studies
Late 2013 marked an important development for Mandarin studies when the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) announced its recognition of HSK results achieved by participating students. Students are now able to obtain credit for their studies when they achieve the required mark as specified by the QSA. The HSK is a standardized exam for evaluating non-native Chinese students’ proficiency in the Chinese language. The HSK is indeed a very important assessment method for those who want to evaluate their Mandarin skills, receive official recognition for their language ability, and extend their vocabulary and learning skills. It also serves as a highly valued tool for those who aspire to continue further study, research or employment in China. CI encourages all students of the Chinese language to test their skills and receive the benefits that HSK has to offer.
"Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition
For its 5th year running, the “Chinese Bridge” Queensland preliminaries was held in the middle of May. Students from a wide range of local universities and even non-university students were welcomed to join us in appreciating the showcase of Queensland’s local talents. The proficiency competition provided a great opportunity for advanced and basic learners of Chinese to congregate together and share their passion for the Chinese language. A special praise to UQ student Rebecca Morrison for placing 1st overall and thus, winning a trip to China to compete on the “Chinese Bridge” international stage. CI wishes her all the best in this great experience.
Congratulations to the UQ students that participated and also to those that received awards. Further information will be available in the CI news section shortly.
UQ Research Internship Study Tour to China
Now into its 4th year running, CI is in the process of preparing a selected group of 26 students for their trip to Tianjin, China for the annual UQ Research Internship Study Tour. This year marks the first time that CI has open this tour to mature-age and first year students. Another change that distinguishes this year’s tour from previous years’ is the greater diversity in students’ field of study including BEL (Faculty of Business, Economics and Law), Science, HASS (Humanities and Social Sciences) and EAIT (Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology). CI is looking forward to sending off the 2014 Study Tour group to Tianjin during the mid-year break and has confidence that the students will return with many interesting stories and experiences.