Confucius Institute Update December 2019 Edition

In another year of positive outcomes, the Confucius Institute at UQ (UQ CI) Semester 2 activities continued to focus on community connections and student and academic learning opportunities. In July, UQ students returned from a 4 week China study experience, combining language and cultural studies with a practical placement in relation to their area of study. Such programs remain at the forefront of the Institute’s focus, to promote learning and exchange opportunities to the benefit of UQ and Queensland community. 

Key Events of Q3/Q4 2019: 

Linking current studies with an International experience

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In June-July, 18 UQ students travelled to China as part of the 2019 UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour, a program designed to provide a multi-faceted China experience, including placements at partner university Tianjin University, class and research opportunities as well as cultural offerings and travel excursions in Beijing and Tianjin.

With an increasing focus on combining the language and cultural experiences with a practical component related to studies undertaken at UQ, students were partnered with a Tianjin University academic to undertake a project to grow knowledge, skills and international experience in their chosen field. 

The tour again connected with UQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit (ATSIS) in 2019 to host 3 indigenous students as part of the program. This pathway remains important in delivering a China study experience to a wider range of students at UQ.

Writing contest promoted in Schools      

Promoting interest in Mandarin learning is an important part of UQ CI’s commitment to schools, and the Institute was again pleased to support UQ’s annual Chinese Writing Contest facilitated by UQ School of Languages and Cultures.

Open to all Queensland schools that teach Chinese language, the contest aims to promote Chinese language learning in schools and increase interest amongst students who might consider continuing Chinese learning at UQ. Covering eight categories, it caters to different year levels and language backgrounds, including native and non-native speakers of Chinese.

This year’s contest saw 208 students apply from 49 primary and secondary schools around Queensland, up significantly on 2018. The Writing contest, along with the HSK test, cultural performances and study tours are among the Institute’s key offerings to Queensland schools. 

Diversity in Education a key conference topic

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In December, a representative from UQ CI presented at the 2019 International Chinese Language Education Conference held in Changsha, China. Themed ‘Innovation and Development of International Language Education in the New Era’, the conference welcomed delegates from across the globe to discuss various aspects of Mandarin and cultural learning.

Invited as a speaker for the forum ‘Chinese Language Education and Cultural Diversity’, UQ CI Senior Deputy Director A/Professor Liang Yu spoke on UQ CI’s successful engagement within the university and with local partners. Particular mention was given to the recognition of the HSK language proficiency test in cooperation with local education authorities to offer credit towards the student’s High School Certificate, a first for this particular test.

UQ Little Asia Laneway tickles the tastebuds 

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Building on the success of the 2018 event, the Little Asia Laneway returned in September bigger and better with more offerings for participants. Hosted by UQ Life (Student Services) in the Duhig Library Gardens, in partnership with UQ CI, the Little Asia Laneway celebrated UQ’s diverse Asian community and culture.

The 2019 program included a range of Asian style food markets, workshops, pop-up entertainment, musicians, dance performances and family-friendly activities.

Similar to the first instalment in 2018, the 2019 event was well attended, representing a strong interest towards Asian culture from the diverse UQ student population.

T & I development supported in Qld

In August, the annual half day Translating and Interpreting Forum facilitated by UQ School of Languages and Cultures was again supported by UQ CI, inviting students, academics, community members and practitioners to increase their skills and knowledge.

The forum content focused on issues related to translating and interpreting services in Queensland, translating research, teaching and learning. The forum brought together presenters from local translating and interpreting industry as well as academia.

In addition to this forum, UQ CI has in the past supported a range of UQ’s Translating and Interpreting initiatives, helping to develop a stronger interest in this field.   

Chinese Proficiency Test YCT added 

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UQ CI has over a number of years promoted the value of the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test to students involved in Mandarin studies, both in testing language abilities and certifying language skill levels internationally.  Offering 4 test dates each year (including 2 test dates for the spoken test HSKK), the test is open to students and the general public across 6 testing levels.

In 2019, the Chinese Proficiency Test YCT, which is aimed at younger learners, was for the first time offered by UQ CI upon request. The YCT is available across 4 levels, catering to a younger audience with a simplified learning structure and content. The different style of learning associated with YCT encourages learners to progress through the YCT levels.

Building on the high uptake in language testing in 2019, UQ CI will offer YCT on a request basis again in 2020. Schools interested in engaging in YCT are welcome to contact the Institute.  

2020 HSK and HSKK testing dates are available here.

The HSK may be creditable towards the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) for Queensland high school students that meet set criteria. Contact UQ CI for details.

School study tour a success

In September, 29 students from Year 10 and Year 11 from a Brisbane-based high school engaged in a two week study tour to Tianjin, China, facilitated and supported by UQ CI.

Aimed at introducing students to Chinese classes and cultural activities as part of the Tianjin University-based program, tours to key sites in Beijing and Xian, including the Terracotta Warriors were also added to enrich the experience. Students were enthusiastic in their feedback, emphasising the importance of such programs to promote cross-cultural learning. 

This study tour was part of one of UQ CI and Hanban’s International engagement initiatives, promoting student mobility opportunities for school and university-aged students.

Did you know? 

In less than a decade, China’s rail has transformed into a leading mode of fast, comfortable and convenient domestic transport, thanks to the building and expansion of the High Speed Rail (HSR) train network.

Known in Mandarin as ‘gaotie’ (高铁), HSR services can reach up 300–350 km/h, significantly cutting travel times between cities and provinces. The development of 19,000km of HSR track in such a short period of time has laid the foundation for a comprehensive network of services across the country. With the benefit of departing and arriving at inner city train stations, the HSR services offered across three classes is now a preferred mode of domestic travel, saving significant travel time and offering better on-time performances compared to a number of domestic air routes.