Confucius Institute Update December 2017 Edition

The Confucius Institute at UQ (UQ CI) capped off a busy 2017 by attending and presenting at an international conference on Chinese language and cultural learning. As evidenced by conference speakers and participants, not only has learning in this space increased significantly in recent years, but the role of Confucius Institutes globally has continued to evolve, increasing their support towards language and culture learners of all levels. The Institute at UQ has also been pleased to have contributed to these offerings since its establishment, introducing programs and pathways for UQ community members including academics, staff and students to further their skills and knowledge. UQ CI looks forward to the continuation of such services in 2018.  

Key Events of Q3/Q4 2017:  

UQ CI recognised for HSK development work  

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In late 2017, The Confucius Institute at UQ was awarded the ‘2017 Excellence Award in Chinese Test’ by Chinese Testing International (Hanban). The award, the first of its kind to be awarded to UQ CI, was in recognition of the work the Institute has undertaken over many years towards promoting the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test in Queensland schools and to the general public. The award was accepted at a ceremony in China by UQ CI Director Professor Ping Chen.

The HSK Test is a standardised Chinese test for evaluating language skills across reading comprehension, writing and listening disciplines (HSK), as well as speaking (HSKK). Six levels of testing are available, ranging from beginner level 1 to advanced level 6. The HSK is offered 4 times per year at UQ CI with test and application details available on the UQ CI website.

Students embrace culture in China Study tour        

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In the mid-year break, a group of select UQ students participated in the annual study tour to Tianjin in northern China arranged and facilitated by UQ CI. The UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to China provided Chinese language tuition, cultural learning, and research and practical experiences related to the student’s field of studies across a four-week program organised in collaboration with Tianjin University. This year, students predominately from EAIT and BEL engaged in different experiences to the benefit of their studies at UQ, ranging from lectures to site-visits and excursions.

The tour, since its establishment remains a flagship program for the Institute in promoting study opportunities in China for UQ students. In recent years the program has also allowed additional free time for students to pursue travel and cultural experiences related to their individual interests.

2018 Tour Applications will open in February/March 2018 with information available via the UQ CI website.

Queensland Schools forge links in China     

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In September, a group of Queensland school representatives visited China as part of the QLD School Representatives Tour to China 2017, an initiative facilitated by UQ CI in conjunction with partners Hanban and Tianjin University.

The tour aimed to promote a better understanding of Chinese language and culture, as well as explore opportunities for Sino-Australian engagement in the education sector. As with previous years, the tour encouraged local Queensland teachers, staff and administrators to participate and explore China. On-ground costs including accommodation and travel in China were again supported by Hanban, making the opportunity more feasible to a wider range of teachers and school staff interested in developing their understanding of China.

UQ Sinologist invited to prominent workshop in China  

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Dr Will Gatherer, School of Languages and Cultures (SLC) Lecturer in Chinese translation within UQ’s Master of Arts in Chinese Translation & Interpreting (MACTI) program was successful in his mid-year application for a Chinese Government-sponsored research opportunity in China.

On the recommendation and support of Professor Ping Chen, UQ CI Director, Dr. Gatherer undertook the September fellowship travel sponsored by the Chinese Government to attend the 2017 Visiting Program for Young Sinologists, a program jointly run by the Culture Ministry of China and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Importantly, this annual program invites key sinologists from around the world to attend a range of activities in China, including lectures from prominent figures within Sinology, designed to promote future academic exchange and research.

Professional ties focus for China program

In Q3, 2017, UQ CI again showcased its commitment to community engagement by assisting a Queensland public service provider in developing Chinese culture understanding in the form of a tour to China.  A large group of the organisation’s staff and associates travelled to key Chinese cities including Shanghai and Beijing  to not only familiarise themselves with China, but to also undertake meetings with local counterparts. The tour, the first of its kind for the organisation was a resounding success and highly beneficial to participants.

UQ CI has helped a number of organisations in their China language and cultural objectives and welcomes interested organisations to contact the Institute.

UQ CI assists schools to deliver Immersion days

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In September, UQ CI again worked with a cluster of local schools to promote Chinese language and culture in the form of an Immersion Day. Combined with 4 schools in Brisbane, UQ CI assisted in providing cultural experiences such as paper cutting, calligraphy and dumpling making to students.  

The Immersion day was not only a chance to support cultural learning to students, but to also solidify the bond between these schools who have a shared interest in developing student experiences in this space. UQ CI in 2017 also supported similar events with other school groups at their request.  

Chinese Etiquette sessions again offered at UQ

Similar to previous years, CI again delivered sessions on Chinese culture and etiquette at UQ with great success. Implemented within UQ’s staff development program, the November sessions provided both an introduction to Chinese etiquette (beginner level) and advanced etiquette techniques and skills (advanced level), delivered by a UQ CI-appointed presenter with significant theoretical and practical experiences in this field.

Both sessions were well attended by UQ staff from various fields and backgrounds. With UQ’s considerable Chinese student and staff cohort, skills in this space will be of significant benefit to UQ community members in their local and international engagement responsibilities.

Did you know? 

UQ CI currently has a collection of reading materials housed in UQ’s Social Sciences and Humanities Library. The collection consists of Chinese books, Chinese language learning books, and books on Chinese culture (in English). Viewable to the general public, and for UQ students and staff to borrow, the collection has recently been moved to level 4 as part of the refurbished library layout. Visit the UQ Social Sciences and Humanities Library website for information on library services and opening times.