Confucius Institute Update August 2016 Edition

In the first half of 2016, the Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland (UQ) continued to contribute to engagement between Australia and China, particularly in the community space with key milestones achieved. The year began on a very positive note with the Confucius Institute a key partner in a safety campaign in North Queensland. With a series of new initiatives throughout the year, The Confucius Institute at UQ was also pleased to host the 2016 Conference of Oceanian Confucius Institutes for the first time in Brisbane, setting the scene for dialogue on key topics including language teaching, cultural engagement and service to local communities. 

Key Events/highlights of 2016 (to August): 

UQ hosts the 2016 Conference of Oceanian Confucius Institutes

The Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland proudly hosted the Joint Conference of Oceanian Confucius Institutes in Brisbane, Queensland on July 9 and 10, 2016. This was the first time for the Confucius Institute at UQ to host such a high-level event, commencing with a Welcome Dinner on July 9th and conference sessions the following day. Professor Anton Middelberg, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and International at The University of Queensland represented the university in welcoming over 60 guests to Brisbane and the conference’s opening event. Professor Peter Høj, former Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland attended the conference opening session delivering a welcome address.

Many key outcomes resulted from the 2016 Oceanian regional conference and Confucius Institutes will no doubt continue to deliver more to their communities in the future. New co-operative avenues along with new pathways of engagement will complement the core goal of Chinese language and culture teaching moving forward. 

Public safety campaign aimed at Chinese tourists 

In early 2016, The University of Queensland’s Confucius Institute and the Queensland Police Service, Far North District, joined forces to officially launch a safety brochure for tourists travelling to North Queensland. The brochure, printed in English and Chinese highlights the need for water safety, accommodation security and personal safety and aims to assist the 190,000 tourists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan that visit Cairns and the surrounding areas each year.

UQ Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Executive Dean Professor Tim Dunne said the need for a public safety campaign was recognised after a number of tourist deaths in the past year. “The Queensland Police Service and the Confucius Institute have worked to develop a proactive campaign which aims to highlight safety issues and build awareness,” Professor Dunne said.

“There has been strong support for the campaign from the Senior Executive at UQ, the Mayor’s office in Cairns and the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China.” 

UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to China

In June-July 2016, 18 UQ students participated in a unique study experience to Tianjin, China arranged 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 in 2016 strives for closer co-operation between UQ programs, academics and the practical experience delivered during the China study tour. 

Click here for further information on the 2016 program.

Chinese Bridge 2016 Chinese Proficiency Competition

In May, students from Queensland universities showcased their Mandarin language and cultural skills at the annual Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition. The 2016 Queensland Preliminary Competition, co-organised by the Tourism Confucius Institute at Griffith University and the Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland on May 14, 2016, attracted a number of excellent performances competing across all levels of mandarin and cultural understanding.

Each year, the University-level Chinese Bridge competition is co-hosted by the Confucius Institute at UQ and the Griffith University Tourism Confucius Institute, providing a platform for students to showcase their knowledge of Chinese culture and language through cultural knowledge tests, oral presentations and cultural performances. Winners of this preliminary event receive fully-sponsored travel to compete at the International Final in China.

A UQ student winners list is available here

Chinese Immersion at UQ for students

78 High school students from Mt Maria College, St Margaret’s Anglican College, St Benedict’s College, St Paul’s and Clairvaux Mackillop High School participated in a Confucius Institute Chinese Immersion Day at UQ on May 23rd.

The Institute held special classes on Chinese calligraphy, traditional paper cutting and Tai Chi with students and teachers alike enjoying the day immensely.

The Confucius Institute at UQ plays an active role in working with Queensland schools, having developed pathways for Mandarin and cultural learning at both the primary and secondary school level. 

Fourth UQ Confucius Classroom opens 

Sponsored by the Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland, Confucius Classrooms aim to promote Chinese language and culture, and provides students with opportunities to study Mandarin and learn about Chinese history, culture and traditions.

As part of a network of classrooms now associated with the Confucius Institute at UQ, the Institute is pleased to work with and support schools in their teaching in this field.

Cultural Understanding workshop at UQ 

In March, The Confucius Institute UQ in conjunction with the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China and Brisbane Huawen Education facilitated a HSK and teacher training workshop at UQ.

Attracting up to 40 teachers, the workshop focused on four aspects: creative Chinese teaching, HSK introduction, characteristics of Chinese culture and traditional Chinese health culture. The workshop sessions provided support towards incorporating various teaching methods to encourage independent thinking among learning students.

Such workshops provide important opportunities for local and visiting teachers to increase their skills and understanding in the Chinese teaching space. UQ CI would like to thank all speakers, organizers and attendees for making the session a great success. 

Did you know? 

Each year, China celebrates its National Day with a week-long holiday commencing at the start of October. Also known as a Golden Week, or 'Huangjin Zhou', this holiday is often an opportunity for people to return home to visit family, or undertake travel either locally or abroad. Almost all offices shut down for a period of time during this holiday.  

Transportation may be harder to book during this holiday due to the large number of people travelling. In 2015, according to the China Daily newspaper, from October 1-6 some 62.8 million train and 7.6 million plane trips were recorded, up from the previous year.