Confucius Institute Update June 2017 Edition

A new year brings new opportunities for language and cultural learning via the Confucius Institute at UQ (UQ CI). Importantly to date this year there has been a more in-depth approach to servicing the UQ community, including academics, staff and students through a range of programs associated with language and culture. It has also been a strong start to the year with cooperation with local schools and education providers delivering cultural learnings, particularly during the key festival periods such as Chinese New Year.  

Key Events of Q1/Q2 2017: 

UQ CI study tour to China ready for take-off  

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In June-July 2017, a number of UQ students will embark on the annual UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to Tianjin, China arranged by the Confucius Institute at UQ. Students participating will undertake a four-week program organised in collaboration with Tianjin University incorporating Chinese language tuition, cultural learning, and research and practical experiences related to their field of study. Since the first tour in 2010, this overseas study component has successfully delivered opportunities to broaden horizons, and for some students a gateway to further study or employment opportunities in relation to China.

Students and academics interested in future tours can view the 2017 information here for reference. Academics are also welcome to contact the Institute to explore opportunities to develop closer relationships between UQ programs and the practical experiences delivered as part of this China study tour. 

Etiquette Sessions support cultural understanding     

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In May, CI delivered a series of sessions on Chinese culture and etiquette to UQ staff to great effect. Staff involved with the sessions were primarily undertaking roles that have a close relationship with either international students, and/or international universities and partners. The sessions aimed to provide a base understanding of Chinese culture including select customs and traditions that effect certain actions and decision making processes.

Importantly, these sessions also provide opportunities for feedback and questions on situations encountered. Building upon the success of Chinese Etiquette courses delivered via the UQ staff development program, this well subscribed series indicated a keen interest in developing a better understanding of Chinese culture, to the benefit of not just UQ, but also its international students and partners.  

Chinese Bridge at UQ in 2017

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On May 20, themed “Dreams for a Brighter Future”, a large cohort of students from Queensland universities showcased their Mandarin language and cultural skills at the 16th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition. The 2017 Queensland Preliminary Competition, co-organised by UQ CI, the Chinese Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Brisbane and the Tourism Confucius Institute at Griffith University attracted a number of excellent performances with overall winners offered the chance to compete in the International final in China.

The 2017 competition encouraged participants to compete across cultural knowledge (written test), speech and performance divided into basic, advanced and non-university divisions. Martial arts/Wushu, Chinese cooking and calligraphy were just some of the performances on display with many students showing a high degree of interest and understanding of Chinese language and culture.

See 2017 Category winners list.   

Taichi Sessions at UQ

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In Semester 1, casual Taichi sessions were offered free to UQ community members at UQ St. Lucia campus. As a well-known and symbolic representation of the Chinese culture, the art of Taichi continues to gain in popularity, particularly for its physical and mental benefits. With more sessions planned for the future, details will be made available via the UQ CI website.

UQ CI Confucius Institute also joined other key UQ departments in welcoming students to UQ during O-week activities prior to Semester 1. Interactive Taichi demonstrations were highly complemented by Chinese dragon dancing as part of O-weeks culture offerings. 

UQ CI strengths EAIT faculty relationship

In Semester 1, UQ CI in partnership with UQ’s EAIT faculty delivered opportunities for staff to develop their Mandarin skills via UQ’s Institute of Modern Languages (IML). Offering a series of beginner courses in Mandarin, up to 60 participants undertook the opportunity to upskill in this important area. UQ CI has had a long standing relationship with EAIT and is pleased to support language initiatives such as this. The relationship also extends to EAIT students who play a key role in the UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to China, seeing a number of students undertake practical experiences at a renowned engineering-focused university in Tianjin University.  

Chinese New Year celebrations in schools and community

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Similar to previous years, the Confucius Institute at UQ was again active during the CNY period contributing towards a better understanding of Chinese culture through performances throughout Queensland. Welcomed into the communities of far North Queensland, UQ CI facilitated Taichi and Chinese dragon dance performances at both schools and community events. The visit to north Queensland was also highly complementary to similar cultural events offered by UQ CI in Brisbane during CNY.

Visits to regional areas remain as an important part of the work undertaken by the Confucius Institute at UQ. With strong engagement with China anticipated in the coming years, Queensland students will no doubt benefit from exposure to Chinese language and culture.

UQ CI at Orientation Week promote HSK

UQ CI took part in a number of events during O-week Semester 1 to both welcome students to UQ and to introduce the range of language and cultural initiatives offered by the Institute. In hosting a busy stall during market day, UQ CI also promoted the uptake of the HSK Chinese Proficiency Exam. The HSK is a standardised test measuring levels of Chinese language proficiency ranging from level 1 to 6, and is recognisable by numerous Chinese education institutions and employers.

UQ CI offers set HSK testing days at UQ St. Lucia campus. For details on dates and procedures, visit UQ CI’s HSK test page

Did you know? 

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics census data (2011), Mandarin is the second most spoken language spoken in Australian homes, behind English.  With mandarin programs increasingly emerging in Australian primary and secondary schools, as well as at the university level, learners and speakers of Mandarin in Australia are set to increase.

The University of Queensland has also had a rich history in teaching Mandarin. Visit the UQ School of Languages and Cultures for information on current courses.