The later half of 2014 has produced a large number of collaborative projects and events concerning UQ staff, students and the general public. In addition to providing opportunities for the education and understanding of Chinese language and culture, the Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland (CI at UQ) has developed important relationships with Queensland schools, providing access to a wider population of Chinese enthusiasts in the form of young highschool students. This year also marked the 5th anniversary of the Confucius Institute at UQ, symbolising the development of a highly significant establishment of cross-cultural engagement serving UQ's greater community.
Key event highlights for this period included:
Confucius Institute Fellowships to China
Facilitated by CI at UQ, ten UQ Fellows from the faculties of BEL, HASS, SCI and EAIT were sponsored to travel to China and engage in 1-4 week visits to Tianjin University. The UQ-Hanban Visiting Fellowships program was open to academic and professional staff of UQ in order to advance professional development in Chinese language and cultural understanding. In conjunction with personal research objectives within specialised fields, opportunities were also provided for Fellowship holders to collaborate and establish strong connections with Chinese researchers.
UQ Research Internship Study Tour to China
Twenty five students were given the opportunity to travel to Tianjin on an annual Research Internship Study Tour organised by CI at UQ in cooperation with Tianjin University. In June and July, students from the faculties of Science, HASS, BEL and EAIT were encouraged to advance their understanding and interest in Chinese language and culture whilst forming strong genuine relationships with the local students and staff. Practical experiences in the laboratories allowed students to gain experience and in-depth study in a strong developing market such as China. The academic and social benefits that students gained from this experience will surely provide them with skills and memories that will last a lifetime.
'Chinese Learning in Queensland' Forum
In September, CI at UQ facilitated a breakthrough learning forum that attracted educators, parents and students from across Queensland. QCAA's (Queensland Curriculum Assessment Authority) recognition of the HSK Chinese Proficiency test allows secondary school students to obtain credit towards their final Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE). The developing partnership between CI at UQ and the QCAA provide students with a greater incentive to excel in their Chinese studies outside of the state's standard school curriculum. This milestone achievement marks a signficant highlight within an important objective for CI at UQ to promote greater interest in the HSK and Mandarin learning from an early age.
The year 2014 marked a significant time for Confucius Institutes worldwide. With the first Institute founded in 2004, more than 450 Confucius Institutes currently aim to promote and support the education of the Chinese language and culture on an international scale. In recognising this ten year milestone, a Confucius Institute Day was organised with Mates@UQ. The event included a large BBQ served alongside engaging Taichi and dumpling making demonstrations. CI at UQ also celebrated its own five years at UQ. A musical performance by a world-reknown Chinese touring group was held for the enjoyment of the UQ community and general public.
UQ Staff on Chinese Language and Culture
In addition to catering to the needs of UQ students, CI also organises special workships and activities for the staff of UQ. In conjunction with UQ's Institute of Modern Languages, the Confucius Institute sponsored a four week Mandarin study program for beginners of the language. The course enabled learners to perform basic tasks covering a range of topics including: Countries, Family Members, Shopping, Directions and Time. The Institute also sponsored UQ staff to undertake a cooking session facilitated by professional chefs specialised in Chinese cuisine. The interactive cooking class included demonstrations in proper knife skills, introduction of recipes and ingredients, and cooking techniques.
Familiarisation China Tour for Queensland School Representatives
Travelling around the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, representatives from Queensland schools embarked on a tour focusing on creating cultural awareness and opportunities for greater collaboration between schools in Queensland and China. Over 12 days, participants visited major cultural attractions and undertook meetings with key administrative offices and schools. The tour allowed for an increased understanding relating to Chinese international students as well as the opportunites available for students interested in studying Chinese.
Opening of Confucius Classrooms
CI at UQ opened its first Confucius Classroom (CC) in early November at Lourdes Hill College. With the anticipation of four more classrooms being established, the Confucius Institute aims to support and strengthen Chinese language and cultural learning opportunities for high school students through activites and events. This important step for the Institute and participating Queensland schools serve to complement the recent recognition of the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test towards the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).