In welcoming the Year of the Horse in 2014, the Confucius Institute (CI) at UQ reflects on a productive second half of the 2013 calendar year with a number of key activities taking place. In complementing regular courses and programs in Chinese language and culture offered by CI to both students of UQ and the broader community, CI also focused on consolidating its commitment to developing relationships and stronger understanding between Australia and China. A major development in late 2013 included the recognition of the HSK exam into the Queensland school curriculum representing a significant step forward in Mandarin study in the state.
Key event highlights for Q3 and Q4 included:
International Exchange: Delegation visits to UQ
A number of visitors and delegations visited UQ in the second half of the year providing important opportunities for international linkage and collaboration. Covering a wide range of focus areas, each visit was useful in promoting UQ’s strengths in markets such as China.
In December 2013, a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) led by President Professor WeiGuang Wang visited UQ meeting with a number of faculties on potential collaborative projects. The visit also marked the start of cooperation between UQ and CASS in promoting stronger exchange in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences. CI at UQ welcomes CASS to UQ and as a valued partner in the coming years.
HSK recognition in Queensland schools
In a major development for Mandarin studies in Queensland, in late 2013 the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) officially recognised the results of the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test as part of the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE). As of 1st October 2013, the QSA will certify participation in the HSK (Levels 2 to 6) for the QCE with students who obtain a specified mark to receive credit.
Considered as a world first in terms of HSK recognition into a school curriculum, it is significant boost for the promotion of Mandarin learning to high school students state-wide. As a result of the ongoing engagement between the Confucius Institute at UQ and the QSA on HSK recognition, this achievement will potentially act as a springboard for further development particularly in the areas of syllabus development, teacher training and language and certification evaluation.
Research Internship Study Tour to Tianjin University
The UQ Research Internship Study Tour to Tianjin (China) undertaken in June-July 2013 with 34 students was highly successful in providing participants with a chance to experience China. Consisting of students primarily from the faculties of Science, Arts, Business and EAIT, the semester break program provided a combination of learning and practical opportunities. Students attended courses as part of the program to advance an understanding of Chinese language and culture, interacted with students from the host institution and engaged in practical experiences in laboratories and in some cases real life industry scenarios. Aside from being a unique and rewarding program, in some cases students received credit towards their academic programs in addition to undertaking an international experience closely related to their discipline.
This annual program is facilitated by the Confucius Institute at UQ in conjunction with partner institute Tianjin University. CI encourages students interested in the 2014 program to visit the CI UQ website.
Photos of the 2013 tour are available here.
CI launches UQ Staff development opportunity in China
In October 2013, Hanban (Confucius Headquarters) approved a request from a UQ executive delegation to provide support to UQ staff in the form of the UQ Hanban Visiting Fellowship who are interested in:
- Familiarizing themselves with China and Chinese language and culture; and
- Exploring collaborative opportunities with Chinese researchers in China
The program, commencing in 2014 encourages UQ academic and professional staff to apply for the Fellowship to undertake a research/study component in China. In promoting staff development, the Fellowship allows for up to one month of study and research in any specialised field hosted by CI partner institute Tianjin University in China. Language and cultural courses are accommodated into the program.
Applications close in late February 2014.
Professor Collin Mackerras Public Lecture
In October 2013, highly renowned for his expertise in Sino-Australia Affairs, Professor Colin Mackerras AO (Griffith University) delivered a lecture on Western Images of the People’s Republic of China. Professor Mackerras presented to an audience of students, academics and the general public on how China is perceived particularly in relation China’s recent rise.
Key speakers such a Professor Mackerras play an important role within the UQ community in delivering academic viewpoints and experiences on China.
CI Annual Board Meeting
December 2013 welcomed a delegation visit from UQ’s partner institute Tianjin University to CI at UQ to undertake an annual board meeting. Attended by the majority of CI Board members from both UQ and Tianjin University, the meeting brought together a range of ideas and viewpoints. In reflecting on the numerous positives of CI operations in 2013, board members also strategized on activities for 2014. Both CI at UQ and Tianjin University remain committed to developing a strong relationship between Australia and China through the implementation of language and cultural-based activities for the UQ and the greater community.
Courses on Chinese Cultural Appreciation
Commencing in August, CI ran concurrent programs on Chinese culture for UQ students. Spread over eight classes, the course delivered information on a range of cultural aspects including food, customs and practices. The course also provided a sound introduction to Chinese history and geography being particularly useful to students without previous China experience. Offered free to UQ students, the course also comprised of interactive sessions with participants highlighted by a class on traditional Chinese dumpling making.
Students completing the courses were awarded CI certificates presented by CI Director Professor Chen.
Eminent Speaker Lecture Series
The latter half of 2013 saw guest speakers deliver lectures at UQ on relevant topics to students, academics and guests.
Professor Wenguo PAN, Director of Institute of Applied Linguistics at East China Normal University presented a Beautiful Language Requires Beautiful Translation lecture on the intricacies of Chinese translation. UQ students and academic staff focused on translation courses found Professor Pan’s invaluable in helping to understand how to develop a career relating to Chinese translation.
Prof. Bo Zhang from The Center for Studies of Chinese as a Second Language at Beijing Language and Culture University was invited to UQ to present on the characteristics of the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test including its application, development process and its new structure. Titled Analysing the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) and its Vocabulary, Professor Zhang spoke extensively about the HSK which is an important aspect of CI at UQ’s development within Queensland. Attendees of the session benefited from Professor Zhang’s expertise in this field eliciting lively discussion following the lecture.
CI at UQ facilitates HSK and YCT Chinese testing and preparations at set times during the year. Interested students are welcome to contact email@example.com or visit the website for further information.
CI at UQ delivers at the Annual Conference
In December 2013, CI at UQ was well represented at the 8th annual Confucius Institute Conference held in Beijing China.
CI at UQ Senior Deputy Director Geoff Chen was invited by event organisers to deliver a briefing as part of the Confucius Institute Best Practices Forum Developing the Testing Market, providing an overview of UQ and Queensland as well as reference to the hard work undertaken through UQ in relation to Chinese language testing and analysis.
The annual Confucius Institute Conference is a large scale event attracting thousands of delegates from CI Institutes and associated offices across the globe. The 8th annual conference included a number of sessions and forums promoting exchange on Chinese language learning and cultural activities.
Engaging with Students – Chinese Calligraphy
In promoting language and culture to all grades of students, Professor Geoff Chen delivered a session to students of Brisbane-based Centenary State High School on calligraphy at UQ’s St. Lucia campus in November. Over 40 students were treated to a lecture on the history of Chinese characters followed by a hands-on experience in calligraphy writing. Professor Chen was supported by Calligraphy teachers demonstrating the traditional art using classical brushes and specialised paper.
Student Language and Cultural Tour to China
During the September school holiday break, 41 students and staff from Indooroopilly State High School and Queensland Academies travelled to China for a high school camp based in Tianjin. Arranged through CI at UQ and Tianjin University, the 2 week program allowed students to undertake language classes at the university as well as excursions in Tianjin and Beijing. With funding for the on-ground program provided by Confucius Institute Headquarters (HANBAN) in China, students were able to visit prominent tourist hotspots in the Badaling Great Wall, Beijing Zoo and Summer Palace among other places.
These types of tours are highly valued by CI at UQ in helping younger students engage with the language and culture.
Looking Ahead: Challenges for 2014
2014 promises to be another exciting year for CI at UQ with numerous Chinese language and culture initiatives being planned. As the Institute continues to refine its role within the UQ community, students in 2014 can benefit from the services offered through:
- HSK testing and preparation support
- Study tours and study programs in China
- Seminars and lectures throughout the year
- Cultural activities during key Chinese festivals
The services offered also extend to younger students and the general public in the form of presentations, cultural performances and for organisations, tailored classes on Chinese culture and etiquette.
Those interested in engaging with CI at UQ can contact the Institute via firstname.lastname@example.org.