CNY Prize Collection

Congratulations to all the winners of the CNY celebrations in February 2024!

On March 20th, the highly anticipated CNY Prize Collection event took place at One Elmwood, where the Launch event was also hosted.

CNY Launch event group photo after Dragon Dance at One Elmwood
CNY Prize Collection group photo with part of the winners.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of various departments, including The Language Centre, iRISE Staff Network, Student Experience Team, SU Shop, and Diversity, Inclusion, and Staff Wellbeing Unit at Queen’s, the prizes were generously contributed.

These prizes were awarded to participants of the Drawing the Dragon Competition and Fun Time with Table Tennis, as listed below:

The primary organizers, Dr. Liang Wang from The Language Centre and Victoria Gilroy from the Student Experience Team, personally extended their gratitude to the winners for their enthusiasm and engagement. They hoped that everyone had a delightful experience during this entertaining and educational celebration, which has become a hallmark socio-cultural programme for nearly a decade.

Dr Liang Wang and Victoria Gilroy at the CNY Prize Collection.

As part of the broader initiative of Celebrating Cultural Diversity at Queen’s, Dr Liang Wang invited more individuals and groups, including Queen’s students and staff members, as well as members of the public from diverse cultural backgrounds, to contribute to fostering a multicultural campus environment at Queen’s and beyond.

BIT Summer Programmes Update

Great news – more programmes added!

Following the successful Beijing Institute of Technology's (BIT) winter Chinese online programme, QUB student and staff learners are invited again to attend their summer programme. The following message is an update sent from BIT (20/03) - any recruitment enquiries please contact BIT team. We are only responsible for collecting and submitting the nomination form.

BIT is set to offer an array of on-campus summer programs tailored to your interests in the fields of STEM, management, athletics and Chinese language and culture.

Seven programs are available this summer:
1. Future Decarbonizing Technology and Green Energy(On-campus)
2. Hands-on Learning for Emerging Technologies in Electronics Engineering (On-campus)
3. Emerging Technologies in Materials for Renewable Energy (On-campus)
4. Aesthetics of Traditional Chinese Culture and Classical Chinese Humanities(On-campus)
5. Management and Innovation (On-campus)
6. Chinese Kung fu (On-campus)
7. Chinese Language and Multicultural Practice(On-campus & Online)

We are offering 10 scholarships for each program (70 scholarships in total) for your students!

BIT Scholarship covers Tuition, on-campus accommodation, teaching materials, insurance, culture tours and lab work. Students only need to bear the expenses for international travel and meals during they study in China.

Online program is also totally FREE and NO NUMBER LIMIT.

Duration:

  • On-campus program: June 30 (check-in)–July 27 (check-out), 2024
  • Online program: August 5 – August 16, 2024

Nomination from partner university is necessary and sent before April 15th, 2024.

Student Application Deadlines:

  • 30 April, 2024 (First round)
  • 15 May, 2024 (Second round)

Application Platform: apply.isc.bit.edu.cn

More details could be found in the attached brochure and website for on-campus programs and for online-program.

Looking forward to your nomination and students!

Programmes

Study Tips for Learning Chinese

While the 3rd semester Language Centre course enrolment is still underway, we would like to share with you the study tips from Isabella Souza Mclaughlin, who is currently working as Global Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator after her graduation from Queen’s.

I graduated from International Business with Mandarin at Queen’s University Belfast. Studying Mandarin was one of the best experiences I’ve had, and in this blog post, I will share some study tips!

Isabella Souza mclaughlin 苏曼伊
QUB Global Recruitment

Studying languages is incredibly rewarding, but it can be challenging! Familiarising yourself with your learning style is key. It’s important to try different techniques until you find the one that is best for you. Below are the tips that I would like to share:

Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to practice vocabulary and keep your notes on-the-go. When studying Mandarin, I wrote the Chinese characters, known as 汉字 (hànzì) alongside the English translation on one side, and the 拼音 (pīnyīn) on the other, to focus on recognising characters. However, you may decide to focus on translation and have 汉字 on one side, and English on the other. Digital flashcards are also a convenient option.

Handwriting

I personally find I can memorise information best by writing. Handwriting notes in Mandarin can be time-consuming. However, if you are regularly writing 汉字, not only will you be revising your notes, but also practicing your handwriting. Remembering the stroke order of 汉字 will be a big help in writing faster over time.

The type of equipment you use can also help. I like using notebooks, so erasable pens found their way into my stationery. I like colour and decoration, so I used highlighters, colourful pens, sticky notes and washi tape in creating diagrams and mind-maps to help categorise them into topics, lessons, vocabulary or grammar.

Apps for writing 汉字 are an interactive way to practice. When not in class, I sometimes found myself even using notes apps on my phone to practice handwriting.

Language Class

If you are self-studying Mandarin, I highly recommend joining a class, as the classroom environment can help with speaking practice, meeting new people and help answering tricky questions. These can be in-person or online classes. The Language Centre at Queen’s offers a good range of language courses, including Mandarin Chinese.

I recently had the opportunity to study with the Beijing Institute of Technology on their 2024 Chinese Language and Multicultural Practice Winter Programme. This was an excellent opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese in interactive classes, as well as learn more about Chinese culture through lectures and seminars in Paper Cutting, Chinese Cuisine, Chinese Traditional Music and more. Not only did it give me the opportunity to improve my language skills in listening, speaking and reading, but I also met new people and built my confidence. This was an excellent opportunity to study with a University in China, particularly a partner University of Queen’s and I was also asked to present at the Closing Ceremony which was such an incredible honour.

Take as many notes as possible in class. I liked using my laptop, to which I downloaded a Chinese keyboard, to take notes in class and had a notebook on the side for handwriting. Alternatives such as Google Input Tools are useful as well.

Tandem Language Exchange

The Tandem Language Exchange at Queen’s was one of the best ways I improved my language skills. I met many language exchange partners who helped me significantly in improving my Mandarin, and I was able to share my experience and help them with English or Portuguese. Everyone was really encouraging in helping me develop my language skills and I had the opportunity to make life-long friends.

I scheduled meetings with my language partners regularly, often weekly, to work on new tasks each week. We picked a new topic to cover each week in each other’s target language, where we asked questions regarding culture and learned new vocabulary.

Cultural Experiences

Immersing yourself in the culture of your target language as much as possible is a great way to remain motivated in language learning and develop knowledge.

Cuisine

Belfast has many great Chinese restaurants, so be sure to try Chinese dishes to familiarise yourself with the cuisine. I also enjoy visiting the many great Chinese restaurants when travelling, such as in London.

Local Chinese dishes in Belfast
Chinese cuisine in London

Try making some Chinese dishes yourself too! A friend of mine from China and fellow graduate of Queen’s, invited me to celebrate Chinese New Year (春节, chūnjié) with her and her friends, where I learned to make jiaozi dumplings (bāo jiǎozi 包饺子) from scratch.

包饺子

Work Experience

During my placement year, despite the challenges of COVID, I was fortunate to get a placement in an international company, working with a team based in China. Not only was I getting experience in the work environment, but I was learning more about Chinese business culture and working with supportive colleagues from China. During that summer, I also took online evening classes in Mandarin Chinese through the Language Centre at Queen’s, to help maintain my language skills and get back into a classroom environment to prepare for my final year of University.

History and Modern Culture

If you enjoy history, try visiting some museums or exhibitions surrounding Chinese culture, reading books, articles, and watching documentaries. I enjoy music and entertainment, so I regularly listen to Chinese artists and watch dramas and films.

Many Chinese dramas are now on streaming services, such as, Netflix and Amazon Prime. If you can, try adding both English and Simplified Chinese subtitles. Watch dramas back a second time with only Simplified Chinese subtitles, you’d be surprised with how much you can pick up! Try watching your current favourite shows in your first language dubbed in Mandarin, as you will already be familiar with the plot, this will be an entertaining way to practice your listening skills.

Cultural Events

Ensure you attend cultural events. Queen’s hosts numerous Chinese cultural events throughout the year, including Spring Festival/CNY (春节, Chūnjié) and Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节, Zhōngqiū jié). This is a great way to learn more about these festivals, enjoy the celebrations and get involved! During my studies, I assisted in maintaining a stand at the Chinese New Year Festival, sharing information about the Chinese Zodiac (十二生肖, shí’èr shēngxiāo).

Social Media

Try using social media apps from the countries of your target language. I use WeChat (微信, Wēixìn) to chat with my friends regularly and find information on Red (小红书, Xiǎohóngshū). If you are a fan of TikTok and YouTube, why not try DouYin (抖音, Dǒuyīn) or Bilibili? Download a Chinese keyboard to your phone to make it easier when using social media apps.

Read Bilingual Literature

Reading is a great way to keep up practice. You’re already reading a lot in your classes and on social media, so why not try some bilingual literature? If, like me, you enjoy cuisine, I recommend ‘Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai’ by Nina Mingya Powles, a collection of essays about food and belonging, that incorporates vocabulary in Mandarin.

Motivation and Advice

A key aspect of learning any language, is focusing on your progress and avoid comparing yourself to others. Everyone learns languages at their own pace. It can be easy to compare yourself to others without considering the things that make your language learning experience unique. You may feel like you are falling behind, when in fact, you are right where you need to be and making incredible progress!

Though this is primarily aimed at studying Mandarin, I hope these study tips will be useful for any other languages.

2024 BIT Summer (Chinese) Programme

Calling all QUB learners of Chinese for an online Chinese Summer Camp

Following the successful Beijing Institute of Technology's (BIT) winter Chinese online programme, QUB student and staff learners are invited again to attend their summer programme. The following message is sent from BIT - any recruitment enquiries please contact BIT team. QUB Language Centre is only responsible for collecting and submitting the nomination form.

Warm greetings from Beijing Institute of Technology!

We are glad to announce the call for 2024 BIT Summer Program !

There are both ON-CAMPUS (4-week) and ONLINE (2-week) programs available in the summer of 2024.

We are excited to share that 10 FREE seats for on-campus programs are saved for your EPS students!

Tuition, on-campus accommodation, teaching materials, insurance, culture tours are covered by BIT for students from our partners! Students only need to bear the expenses for international travel and meals during they study in China.

Online program is also totally FREE and NO NUMBER LIMIT.

Four topics are available this summer:

  • Future Decarbonizing Technology and Green Energy(On-campus)
  • Hands-on Learning for Emerging Technologies in Electronics Engineering (On-campus)
  • Emerging Technologies in Materials for Renewable Energy (On-campus)
  • Chinese Language and Multicultural Practice(On-campus & Online)


Duration:
On-campus program: July 1July 27, 2024
Online program: August 5 – August 16, 2024

Nomination from partner university is necessary and sent before April 1st, 2024.

Student Application Deadlines:

  • 30 April, 2024 (First round)
  • 15 May, 2024 (Second round)

Application Platform: apply.isc.bit.edu.cn

More details could be found in the attached brochure and website at https://isc.bit.edu.cn/admissionsaid/spss/languageulture/index.htm for on-campus programs and https://isc.bit.edu.cn/admissionsaid/spss/languageulture_20201010031104805795/index.htm for online-program.

Looking forward to your nomination and students!

Happy Year of the Loong

The 龙 Lóng (or Loong / Chinese Dragon) has just arrived at Queen’s!

What an exciting day to welcome the auspicious 龙 Lóng (or Loong / Chinese Dragon) to Queen’s One Elmwood on Thursday 8th February, regardless of the blustery weather (which was said to be accompanying the Loong)!

Dragon Dance performed by QUB Success Lion Dance Club at One Elmwood social space.

Over 60 staff and student representatives from a range of diverse cultural backgrounds celebrated the launch of Year of The Chinese Dragon programme, jointly organised by the Language Centre, iRISE Staff Network, Student Experience Team, The Graduate School, Chinese Students and Scholars Association, supported by Diversity, Inclusion and Staff Wellbeing Unit, and partially sponsored by the QUB Annual Fund.

Professor Margaret Topping, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, welcomed the value of contact between different languages and cultures for the benefit of enhanced mutual respect through intercultural exchange.

Professor Margaret Topping, PVC (Global Engagement), delivered a welcome speech to the audience.

We wish that this celebration programme on the Year of The Chinese Dragon, as part of our Celebrating Cultural Diversity at Queen’s scheme, will make a contribution to the multicultural campus development, which sees differences as strength to foster an environment of open-mindedness and acceptance.

The Launch event featured student/alumni performances including guzheng music and classical dance, QUB Staff Wellbeing Choir’s singing of both Chinese and local songs, and the bustling and exciting Dragon Dance inside One Elmwood, followed by an interactive CNY Fair with cultural displays.

The CNY celebration programme includes a three-week-long events and it welcomes all students and staff members to choose their favourate ones to attend in the coming two weeks. For full programme and registration links, please visit CCP2024 Homepage.

More photos will be added to our FB account and if you wish to share yours with us, please attach them via the Comment box below, or click the link for multiple uploading

Spring Festival Season Starts

The Start of Spring (立春) falls on Sunday 4th Feb according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which well announces the arrival of Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) celebration in China and elsewhere.

Spring Festival Gala

On Saturday 3rd Feb, the Chinese Students’ Society presented a fabulous Gala of performances to entertain not only QUB students and staff members, but also their families and local communities, with an intoxicating atmosphere that brought people together, no matter what cultural backgrounds they belong to, for a bustling night at the Mandela Hall, One Elmwood.

Culture Talk

The success of the Spring Festival Gala has extended its inviting arms to welcome more audience to join in a great variety of cultural events that are to come, with a culture talk presented by Dr Ibrar Bhatt and Heng WANG on their research reflections on Chinese Muslim Heritage Literacy, which is scheduled between 3 pm and 4:30 pm on Monday, 05/02, at the Auditorium, McClay Library. The talk will also include a display of notable pieces of traditional art collected during fieldwork. QUB colleagues and students are welcome to attend this joint event organised by the Centre for Language Education Research and The Language Centre.

To attend this event, please register via the link or scanning the QR code.

Online Exhibitions

We are also pleased to announce the start of our online exhibitions – Drawing The Dragon Competition and ArtEast Exhibition from Sunday 04/02. The audience are more than welcome to leave your comments to the artworks and share their thoughts in line with the themes.

More Celebrations

Last but not least, we are would like to remind that there are two more big celebrations lined up for this week – The Festival of Chinese New Year hosted by the Graduate School on Wednesday and CNY Launch Day with Interactive Fair on Thursday in One Elmwood. Places are limited so advance bookings are required.

Laba Festival & CNY 2024

Happy Laba Festival (腊八节 Làbā jié) – Have you had Laba congee yet?

The Laba Festival (腊八节 Làbā jié), a traditional Chinese festival on the 8th day of the 12th month (called 腊月 là yuè) in the lunar calendar, is often seen as the signal of the arrival of the Chinese New Year (aka. Spring Festival 春节 Chūn jié in China).

Laba congee cooked | Image@LiangWANG

On the day, in many places across China, mainly the north, northwest and southeast, people cook and eat Laba congee (腊八粥 làbā zhōu), typically made of rice, mixed beans, various nuts and dried fruits, etc., all of which are believed to be good for health. Having Laba congee can keep one feel warm and spirited in the cold and wet weather.

With the Laba Festival arriving today on 18th January this year, one can be certain that the Chinese New Year – Year of the Dragon (龙年 Lóngnián) starting from 10th February, is just around the corner.

Call for CNY participation

While we are busy preparing for the CNY2024 Programme, we would like to invite you to join us in a few activities that can bring the celebrative elements together. The following calls for participation are totally voluntary and you are welcome to attend one or all, as long as you feel like relevant and meaningful.

Drawing the Dragon Competition
“龙年涂龙”比赛

This event is for all those who currently reside in Belfast and NI.

Chinese Artefacts Collection|
龙年春节中国工艺品展征集

This event is for QUB students and staff members who have a collection of Chinese artefacts at hand.

Volunteering for CNY Events
春节活动志愿者招募

This event is for staff and students at Queen’s to volunteer at our series of events such as the CNY Gala, CNY Interactive Fair, Culture Workshops, etc.

CNY and I at QUB
我在女王过春节

This activity is for those graduates and staff members who have left QUB and current students and staff members.

We would like to thank you for your support and look forward to welcoming you to join our celebrations that are to come soon. Stay tuned!

Drawing the Dragon Competition

To celebrate the upcoming Year of the [Chinese] Dragon, commencing on Saturday, February 10, 2024, we extend a warm invitation to participate in our Drawing Competition centered around the theme of of the [Chinese] Dragon (Chinese character: 龙 (simplified) / 龍 (traditional), pronounced as lóng, similar to ‘long’, also coined in English as ‘loong’).

Beyond its legendary significance in Chinese culture and historical representation as an auspicious symbol wielded by imperial power, the Dragon has evolved into a national totem, symbolizing the offspring of the Chinese nation. Its influence has also extended to neighboring countries such as Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and more.

We cordially invite Queen’s students, staff members, their families, and the local communities to participate in this drawing competition, an opportunity to express your imaginative interpretation of this mythical creature through contemporary artistic mediums.

Participants are encouraged to employ diverse drawing styles and mediums (e.g., sketching, oils, watercolor, sculpture, etc.) as long as they effectively convey your perceptions of 龙/龍 within your own cultural context or Chinese culture. We welcome authentic forms and techniques of presentation, excluding AI-related works.

The competition will close on Sunday 4th Feb, and a Drawing the Dragon session for QUB students, organised by the Student Experience Team, will take place on Friday 2nd Feb.

Submissions should consist of one drawing per participant, saved as an electronic copy (JEPG/JPG/PNG format, no exceeding 2MB). Please submit your artwork via the provided submission form, accompanied by a brief bio, including your name, status (e.g., educational/professional background), and a concise description of your illustration.

We look forward to witnessing your creative expressions!

More events

For more upcoming events that celebrate Year of the Dragon on campus, please visit the home page Chinese Culture Programme 2024.

Memorable experience in MA Arts Management Showcase

How exciting when you were selected for a panel discussion on your research work and experience as part of your postgraduate degree study at Queen’s?

Today we invite Ruinan PENG (彭瑞楠), MA in Arts Management 2022-2023, from School of Arts, English and Languages, to share her wonderful experience of being invited for the Arts Management Showcase event on 7th November 2023.

What’s it about the Arts Management Showcase event?

The MA Arts Management Showcase is actually part of the annual Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science, which provides a great opportunity to display outstanding Queen’s MA Arts Management students’ research to the professional circles and the public for a wider social impact.

Click here to view the whole programme of ESRC Festival of Social Science 2023

At the event, the convention is that a senior guest speaker would be invited to share his or her research on the culture and arts field, followed by a presentation of selected outstanding postgraduate research work and a round-table discussion with the guest speaker. Therefore, this showcase event is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate Arts Management teaching and research outcomes at Queen’s and communicate with professional researchers in arts management from outside Queen’s.

What was your experience on the day?

As one of the four student speakers, I presented my dissertation (学位论文 xuéwèi lùnwén) which was about curating (策展 cèzhǎn) and audience engagement (观众参与 guānzhòng cānyù) in contemporary art exhibitions (当代艺术展 dāngdài yìshùzhǎn), exploring how curating constructs audiences’ experiences and facilitates audience engagement in contemporary art exhibitions. Alongside me, Dr. Christina Ballico, and my classmates, Holly and Stephanie, presented their research in terms of ‘music city’, ‘arts engagement of the working class (工人阶级 gōngrén jiējí)’, and ‘music education development in Northern Ireland’. Their presentations were interesting and insightful, illustrating a bigger picture and sketching out the details about how to develop an inclusive, equal cultural engagement for cities, artists, and the public. Also, their research methods and case studies expanded my knowledge of conducting arts management both in the academic and professional domains.

There was a Q&A panel and a networking (会后交流 huìhòu jiāoliú) session following the end of the presentation.

Ruinan at the panel discussion | Photo provided by Ruinan PENG

What was your feeling about such an experience?

It was not only a rewarding moment to ‘show off’ my efforts in my independent research but also a lovely reunion with my supervisors, classmates, and friends. Reviewing my  experience of studying at Queen’s, I had a strong sense of achievement (成就感 chéngjiùgǎn) and gained many opportunities to improve my language and intercultural skills, and develop my research abilities, thanks to the small-scale class, diverse classmate backgrounds, high-standard course programme, and professional and dedicated teachers. I treated this event as my reward for my study at Queen’s and hope that more Chinese students at Queen’s step onto this showcase stage in the future.

Ruinan at the panel discussion | Photo provided by Ruinan PENG

Author: Ruinan PENG
Editors: Lauren McShane and Liang WANG

My Volunteering Experience

Happy International Volunteer Day! On this special occasion this year, we would like to invite you to join in our celebration with Xinxin, one of our proactive students who has had great volunteering (志愿 zhìyuàn) experience at Queen’s and else where.

Xinxin WANG (王心欣), a postgraduate from Queen’s Law School, has just successfully completed her Master of Law in International Commercial & Business Law this Winter 2023. She is from Tianjin, China. Before she came to Queen’s, she has had good working experience in China, focusing on accountancy and business advisory services.

Photo of Xinxin at CNY Celebration in 2023 at Queen’s University | Photo Credit: Liang Wang

Volunteering, hard work? Yes! And paid? No! That’s volunteering, but it makes me feel great and meaningful rather than seeking financial rewarding. It brings me a diverse feeling of life and to obtain satisfaction from helping others. There is a saying in Chinese, “与人玫瑰,手有余香 (yǔ rén méiguī shǒu yǒu yú xiāng).

What kind of volunteering experience have you had so far and how did you feel about such volunteering experiences?

In the celebration of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Rabbit) held by our University, I worked with other Chinese students and teachers as volunteers (志愿者 zhìyuànzhě), and I felt great that we could celebrate this most important Chinese festival together at Queen’s. This was my first time celebrating Chinese New Year away from my family. The wonderful experience released me from being overly homesick and helped me earn a sense of joyful reunion with my folks and friends at Queen’s as a big family.

In the ‘One Young World 2023 Belfast’ event, which was a big celebration for the world’s youth leaders in politics, journalism, commercial area, sports and so on, I was the helper for the opening ceremony and workshops. As a volunteer, I could have the opportunity to meet figures who are successful and influential in various industries. I felt grateful that I could have the opportunity to communicate with the organisers and speakers who inspired me with their stories and experiences in different commercial areas, which broadened my horizons and expanded my network with people from different cultural backgrounds. When I received the “Thank You Event” invitation from the organising committee and an invitation to be a referral for a friend in her volunteering work application last week, I felt warm and touched because my efforts and kindness are highly recognised, which also could build my confidence about the future.

In sport events like the Antrim Coast Half Marathon 2023 and 3K & 5K Running, I assisted with registration and passing waters to athletes during running and I was encouraged by their spirits and enthusiasm towards sports and life.

In the past, I also worked as a volunteer in many events in China, like helping with delivering food and nucleic acid amplification tests during the COVID-19 blocking period; helping in Beijing Olympic Games 2008 and tour guide of Tianjin Museum in 2006. From my volunteering experience, I became more and more knowledgeable and collaborative and made many friends.

What was the value of volunteering experience to you?

To me, the meaning of volunteering experience is far more than finding a paid work, especially when I study and live abroad, which offers me a sense of belonging and helps to expand my network with diverse team and people with different occupations and cultural backgrounds. More importantly, I could have a chance to know better about the ways of working in my current capacity, which could allow me a quickly adapt to the working environment in the future.

What message would you like to pass on to like-minded people looking for volunteering opportunities?

If you also want to practice in the real world, no matter what your expertise or employability skill are, please do not hesitate to seize the volunteering opportunity, and go for it!