We are looking for talented students and staff members to volunteer for our Chinese language and cultural events at Queen’s. It could be in the form of a variety of cultural performances, or language/culture-related topics and skills, and is open to both Chinese-speaking and non-Chinese speaking volunteers.
We look forward to working with you in our future events.
As the Chinese proverb goes, ‘What Paradise is to the Heaven, Suzhou and Hangzhou are to the earthly urban (上有天堂，下有苏杭 shànɡ yǒu tiāntánɡ, xià yǒu Sū-Hánɡ)’. This blog post will give you a glance over Suzhou city (苏州) in Jiangsu province, following Jiangyue CHEN (陈江月), a QUB graduate in TESOL, who recently relocated to Shanghai (上海) for her new job and paid her first visit to its neighbouring city.
I set off from Shanghai at 9:00 in the morning and arrived in Suzhou in just half an hour by high-speed train (高铁 gāotiě).
Suzhou is a charming city in the southeast of China, famous for its long history, rich culture and exquisite ancient gardens. Suzhou has many attractions worth visiting, among which Hanshan Temple (寒山寺 Hánshān Sì), Pingjiang Road (平江路 Píngjiāng Lù) and Couple’s Garden (耦园 Ǒu Yuán) are three must-sees.
Hanshan Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in China, dating back to the 6th century. It is named after a legendary monk and poet named Hanshan, who lived here with his friend Shide. Their poems are full of Zen wisdom and life humor, and are collected in the book “Cold Mountain Poems”. Hanshan Temple has a tranquil and elegant atmosphere, with various buildings such as the Mahavira Hall (大雄宝殿 Dà Xióng Bǎo Diàn), the Bell Tower and the Puming Pagoda. It also houses many precious relics and artworks, such as the Tang dynasty bronze Buddha, the Song dynasty stone carving of the Diamond Sutra, and the Ming dynasty wood carving of the Eighteen Arhats (十八罗汉 Shíbā Luóhàn). Hanshan Temple is famous for its bell ringing ceremony on New Year’s Eve, which attracts thousands of visitors every year to listen to the 108 strokes of the giant bell and pray for blessings.
Pingjiang Road is the most well-preserved historical street in Suzhou’s old city area, reflecting the style of the Tang and Song dynasties. It was an important grain storage and transport center in southern China during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Pingjiang Road is 1606 meters long, and was selected as one of the “Top Ten Historical Streets in China” in 2009. Along Pingjiang Road, there are many quaint shops and bars, selling various Suzhou specialties such as food, handicrafts, tea, etc. There are also many cultural celebrities’ former residences and historical sites, such as Sai Jinhua’s former residence, Zhang Xueliang’s former residence, Couple’s Garden, etc. Pingjiang Road has a beautiful night view when the lights are on. You can take a hand-pulled boat on the river and enjoy the scenery.
Couple’s Garden was originally named Shiyuan Garden, built in the late Qing dynasty by Shen Bingcheng, who changed its name to Couple’s Garden after he met his talented wife Yan Yonghua. They lived here for eight years in seclusion. Couple’s Garden is a good place for couples to visit, as well as for those who want to appreciate Suzhou gardens in a quiet environment. Couple’s Garden is a twin garden, with an east garden and a west garden. The east garden is the essence of Couple’s Garden, with magnificent yellow stone rockeries and “Three Friends of Winter” made of boxwood and privet trees. The west garden is small and exquisite, a good place for reading books. Couple’s Garden also has many details and cultural elements that show the love story of Shen and Yan, such as Chengqu Caotang Hall, Wusuyun Pavilion, Tingqin Pavilion, etc. Couple’s Garden is surrounded by water on three sides and connected to the street on one side. It also has a private pier where you can take a boat to explore the surrounding water town.
There are many more interesting places in Suzhou worth exploring. The Suzhou Museum is another must-see place on my list. However, it requires bookings at least one week in advance and I missed it. Never mind, I will save it for next time – not too long!
Besides these three attractions, Suzhou also has a lot of delicious food to offer. Suzhou cuisine is one of the eight major cuisines in China, featuring fresh ingredients, light taste and delicate appearance. Below are three dishes made of fresh water produces – I ordered and tasted the first two:
San-xia noodles (三虾面 Sān-xiā miàn), or Trinity of Shrimps style noodles, is a seasonal specialty in Suzhou. The name comes from the three parts of fresh water shrimps used in the serving: shrimp meat and shrimp roe and eggs. The noodles are topped with a generous amount of shrimps, as well as eggs, lard and scallions. The dish is served dry, with a clear broth on the side. The noodles are chewy and the shrimps are tender and fragrant.
Crab roe rice (蟹黄饭 Xièhuáng fàn) is also a seasonal delicacy that can only be enjoyed in autumn, when the hairy crabs are at their best. The rice is cooked with the roe and meat of the crabs, as well as some seasonings such as ginger, soy sauce and sugar. The rice is rich and creamy, with a strong crab flavor and aroma. The dish is usually served with vinegar and ginger shreds to balance the greasiness.
Drunken crab (醉蟹 zuì xiè) is a cold dish that is made by marinating raw hairy crabs in yellow rice alcohol, salt, sugar and spices for several days. The crabs are then refrigerated until they are ready to eat. The crabs are soft and juicy, with a hint of alcohol and spice. The dish is said to have health benefits such as nourishing the blood, clearing the heat and moistening the lungs. I hope to try this dish on a later visit.
In addition, I have enjoyed tasting various local snacks and drinks, as below. Hope you all get a chance to visit Suzhou and taste the difference one day.
Author: Jiangyue CHEN Editors: Isabella Souza McLaughlin, Liang WANG
Eid al-Adha (古尔邦节 Gǔ’ěrbāng jié, 宰牲节 zǎishēng jié), which is considered one of the two Eid festivals observed by Muslims (穆斯林 Mùsīlín) each year, is celebrated on 10th Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month in Islamic calendar, all over the world.
The festival commemorates the story of Prophet Ibrahim (先知 易卜拉辛 xiānzhī Yìbǔlāxīn) and his willingness to sacrifice (牺牲 xīshēng) his son as an act of obedience to Allah (真主 Zhēnzhǔ). This year, the Belfast Islamic Centre (BIC) together with the Belfast Multi-Cultural Association (BMCA) held an Eid Festival in the Botanic Gardens on Wednesday 28th June 2023.
Ying GAO (高莹), one of Queen’s Management School students, enjoyed her participation in the celebration of Eid al-Adha. Below is what she described and the photos shared in her social media:
My Muslim classmates invited me to join this event as of the biggest celebrations of their calendar. In the morning, there was Eid Al-Adha salah (礼拜 lǐbài), summoning hundreds of believers to come to pray together. After the salah, my friends and I went to see various stalls displaying traditional items: Henna, Halal food (清真食物 qīngzhēn shíwù) to purchase, and face painting. Everyone dressed up in modesty for the festival. Traditional clothing options for women for Eid are Abaya and Headscarf. For men, it is Thwab with Ghutra and Igaal. I wore a cheongsam (旗袍 qípáo) to attend the event and wowed my friend. They showed me around in the garden, introduced me to their friends, and introduced me to different kinds of food. I love the traditional dessert (甜品tián pǐn) called bakhlava. Studying in Queen’s gives me a good chance to explore and understand different cultures, creating memorable experiences.
Author: Ying GAO Editors: Lauren McShane, Liang WANG and Heng WANG
July is a bustling season for graduation and it is the time to wish the graduates a great success and a bright future. No matter where they go, they are closely linked to Queen’s as a valued alumnus member.In May 2023, Queen’s held a series of activities for Chinese alumni in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou respectively. Many outstanding Queen’s alumni from different parts of China excitedly joined one of the sessions with a welcome-home atmosphere.
On this special occasion, we are glad to invite Lina SHI (史丽娜), aka. Selena in English, an MA graduate in Arts Management from the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences in 2018, to share her Queen’s experience and life after graduation. Currently, she is working in the KPMG Beijing Office.
To my memory, this is the second alumni association held in Beijing. Although I missed the first one, I feel honoured to have become one of the four volunteers at the reception this time to introduce the alumni association event to the delegates.
Seeing such activities as a precious opportunity for them to take a break from their busy professional and family lives, Lina was delighted to meet and chat with each other at the Beijing session.
I am delighted to find that Queen’s graduates are now doing well. Whether within national institutions or within foreign and local companies (本土公司 běntǔ gōngsī), Queen’s students contribute their knowledge and abilities to their positions. Undoubtedly, our Queen’s educational experience gave us solid academic standing when it came to job hunting post-graduation (毕业求职 bìyè qiúzhí). As a result, you would find that Queen’s graduates occupied many varied positions in a wide range of fields, including international companies and even Chinese government offices (国家机关 guójiā jīguān).
When asked what the best experience she ever had when studying at Queen’s, Lina attributed her highlights to her intercultural learning experience during her internship:
I would tell any future student that if you choose to study at Queen’s, it would be a wonderful learning journey. Many things and people made the experience feel unforgettable for me. For example, I gained valuable internship (实习 shíxí) experience in Belfast.
As part of the assessments for my major, Arts Management, I needed to independently source an internship in arts management at local arts institutions. To be honest, it was hard for international students at that time. But don’t worry, every classmate finished their arts internship work in the end. It was an extremely helpful experience for my career.
I spent three months working in an arts management internship at Ulster Youth Orchestra (管弦乐队 guǎnxián yuèduì). The Ulster Youth Orchestra exists to enable young people from throughout Northern Ireland to achieve their musical potential through the provision of the highest quality of professional tuition. I worked in UYO’s administrative office, located in Royal Avenue, Belfast. I was very lucky to join the rehearsal for the 25th Anniversary Concert in 2018.
Generally, my internship duties (职务 zhí wù) included putting forward arts fundraising applications to the UK and local government, communicating, and preparing rehearsal venues, cooperating with local other arts institutions, recording membership information and managing and archiving sheet music.
My manager and colleagues are very kind with international students like me. On the day of my birthday, Paula, the arts manager of Ulster Youth Orchestra, sent me a card and balloon to celebrate. What’s more, she treated me to a nice dinner with the team when my internship ended. The experience is very beneficial to the work I do in Beijing now.
We hope that sharing Lina’s experience has given you hope and motivation for choosing Queen’s University Belfast! As QUB’s motto goes, ‘Shape A Better World’, you have been shaped by Queen’s and you are shaping Queen’s and a wider society as well. Hope the better world will be more beautiful with the better you in the future!
Author: Lina SHI Editors: Lauren McShane and Liang WANG
Translating Age – Sharing experiences of being an older woman in a new country
This post is circulated on behalf of Professor Tess Maginess from School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, who are looking for older female participants of diverse cultural backgrounds, including those from the Chinese community to share their experiences of living in Northern Ireland. Any queries related to this project need to be directed to Professor Maginess (see contact information below).
Did you know that June 1st is the Children’s Day (儿童节 értóng jié) in China? While it is also United Nation’s Global Day of Parents (父母 fùmǔ), RAO Jie (饶洁), a QUB graduate whose English name is June, has been committed to bringing happiness to children and their families through her magic power.
In China, Children’s Day takes place on 1st June each year. As a magician (魔术师 móshùshī), I’ve been participating in a sequence of magic performances (魔术表演 móshù biǎoyǎn) for children since the festival is just around the corner.
Based in a cultural and recreational centre in Wuhan, Hubei province, I often perform magic shows on weekends mainly targeted for children and their families. The performances, in general, walk the audience through modern and ancient times with relative tricks (戏法 xìfǎ), which are a real feast for the eyes. The show ends with an educational segment, when children are invited to the stage to experience magic up close as well as learn a trick themselves.
This show enjoys great popularity as it engages the younger generation in some wonderful experiences, which deliver both happiness and the message that nothing is impossible (一切皆有可能 yíqiè jiē yǒu kěnéng). During this show, children are exposed to magic moments and incredible interactions. Theatres are always filled with laughter and wonder. It is the greatest thing in the world to see children’s happy and amazed faces. Meanwhile, adults, mainly the parents, also are given a chance to laugh and wonder carefreely (胡猜乱想 hú cāi luàn xiǎng) like children – being curious (好奇 hàoqí) about and believing in everything with a pure heart.
While we are unable to watch June’s magic show on site in China, there is still a chance for you to enjoy one of her performances recorded for our Chinese New Year 2021 celebration. Click the link below to access the recording.
International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated globally on 12th May each year, as this date marks the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday! The theme for 2023 is ‘Our Nurses. Our Future.‘
Are you a Chinese student planning to study Nursing at Queen’s? On this IND we invite Sun Xingge (孙邢格), one of our few Chinese MSc students in Advanced Professional and Clinical Practice from School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, to share her experience of Nursing study and work in Belfast.
With a Queen’s charted flight during the COVID-19 pandemic, I started my nursing journey at Queen’s and after two years I successfully got my MSc degree in 2023. That, however, is far from the end of my journey. I have won the international studentship from the Department for Economy in Northern Ireland, which will fully fund my PhD studies at QUB. So, my journey with Queen’s will continue…
I have been studying nursing for six years since my undergraduate study in Zhengzhou University. I am a qualified nurse in China. In the UK, I have practised at the Ulster Hospital as a student nurse and worked as a healthcare assistant in a care home in Belfast. In 2022, I also visited the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology in the Netherlands as a nursing student. Currently, I work as a research assistant in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at QUB and will continue to do PhD study here from this October on.
My nursing journey has been great in Belfast and QUB. I have enjoyed studying and working in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, which has given me so much support in so many different areas.
Studying at Queen’s and in Belfast
Language Support: As international students, we need to improve our English academic writing. Our School understands this well and provides us with Academic English courses. Within one year’s programme, the courses involve critical thinking, proofreading, presentation skills, reference styles, and many more. We are also able to book a one-to-one tutorial if we have any questions. In addition, our tutor celebrated festivals with all the international students together, such as the Chinese New Year celebration event, which was very rewarding.
Dissertation Support: I was able to choose a supervisor according to my dissertation topic. Luckily, I had two very professional supervisors who are also very patient with me. They arranged meetings with me every two weeks starting in November 2021 to guide me through doing a systematic review. During this period, they gave me feedback promptly and answered any other questions from academic support to mental health.
Research Support: As a postgraduate student, our School provides us with studentship research schemes with 1200 GBP stipend for 3 months. There are five research projects recruiting students to join each semester. For students who would like to pursue PhD studies in the future, this is a good opportunity to accumulate research experience. Luckily, I joined two schemes. I worked with a professional research team with a focus on kidney diseases. During this period, the research project supervisors arranged regular meetings, shared study materials, and taught me different research methods, which have enhanced my research abilities.
Facilities and resources: There are four libraries at QUB. I can self-study and also book a study room for group study at any of them. As a nursing student, I can access the medical library easily to borrow books relevant to my modules. There are also many online resources on Queen’s My Future platform, accessible to all students, which help me learn different skills, for example, how to build an advanced search using different databases, and how to use Endnote to manage my research results.
Working at Queen’s and elsewhere
Career Support: Notably, Queens also offers you further career support, such as booking a free career consultation via My Future. I also registered as a worker at Qwork. This platform provides job positions for internal applicants, which I strongly recommend.
In terms of clinical practice, the School of Nursing and Midwifery also provides us students with clinical placement to experience the medical system in the UK firsthand. I thoroughly enjoyed my practice in the Medical Acute Unit, at Ulster Hospital, as a student nurse.
I worked with a multidisciplinary team in an English-speaking environment. I participated in the ward handover, provided personal care for patients, and wrote clinical notes under the supervision of my clinical facilitator. After 6 weeks of clinical placement, I gained good experience which would help me seek a clinical part-time job in Belfast.
With great luck I applied for and successfully attended the summer school in Holland through My Future. During the summer holiday in 2022, I attended the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology to study childhood cancer for a week. While I started to better understand the European medical system, I was able to communicate with medical students from all over the world, who shared their innovative ideas and opinions for further medical development, which have brought diverse viewpoints and opinions that uplifted my outlook on nursing.
In addition, I worked at a care home for 10 months in Belfast. It was a very memorable experience for me. I provided basic care for the residents and did the daily food management and safety checks. My employer also offered me online and offline training, including first aid, infection control, and fall prevention. I have not only gained professional knowledge but also the skills of care, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork, as well as enhanced my oral English. The work helped me to better understand the medical system and professional culture in the UK.
In retrospect, my studies at Queen’s has made a huge difference in my life. All the lecturers and tutors at the School of Nursing and Midwifery are professional and supportive. My life has very fulfilling at QUB and in Belfast. I take advantage of my free time to travel to a lot of countries. I have been to France, Germany, Finland, Holland, Ireland, Italy, etc. I am so grate for my funder, supervisors, families, and friends who have helped me develop great passion for my personal and professional growth alongside my Nursing journey!
Contributor: SUN Xingge Editors: Lauren McShane and WANG Liang
4th May is the Youth Day in China, known as 五四青年节 (wǔsì qīngnián jié).
May (the) Fourthn. (also 4 May, etc.) Chinese History (attributive) designating or relating to a demonstration held by students in Peking (Beijing) on 4 May 1919 to protest against the Chinese government’s failure to oppose the decision by the Versailles Peace Committee to allocate Germany’s former possessions in China to Japan; (also) designating the wider cultural and intellectual revolution in China for which this demonstration is generally regarded as having been a catalyst; esp. in May (the) Fourth Movement.
Today we invite you to join in this celebration with DENG Wei (邓维), a QUB graduate in Arts Management, who went back to China after graduation but now has returned to Belfast in pursuit her professional development in arts and cultural exchange through guzheng performance. She has performed guzheng widely on various occasions, both at Queen’s and beyond.
While she continues with her guzheng workshops at Queen’s she has now been invited to give performances at the City Hall, 2 Royal Ave, Belfast on Wednesdays from 11:00 to 18:30 pm.
Wei looks forward to welcoming anyone interested to go there for her scheduled performances, and more importantly, to have dialogues with her sharing their perspectives and practice of guzheng performance.
Wei is invited as a guest guzheng performer with WANG Xinxin for The Ballad of Mulan (《木兰辞》) at the Songs from Spring – Singing with Chinese Poetry concert on Saturday 6th May. Her next guzheng workshop at Queen’s will be on Tuesday 30th May, from 15:00 to 16:00, at the Auditorium, The McClay Library. It is a free session, but booking is required via the button below or scanning the QR code.
The date for the Chinese day was selected from Guyu (“Rain of Millet”), which is the 6th of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendars, to pay tribute to Cangjie. Cangjie is a very important figure in ancient China, claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and the inventor of Chinese characters. Legend has it that he had four eyes and four pupils, and that when he invented the characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. From then on, Chinese people celebrate the day Guyu in honour of Cangjie. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around April 20.
On this occasion we provide this special edition to invite you to join us in celebrating the charm of the Chinese language – in its written form through calligraphy and spoken form through recitation.
SONG Yihui (宋一卉), a recently graduated doctoral student from School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, has a number of hobbies rooted in traditional Chinese culture, including calligraphy, classic dancing and Hanfu costume. Below she tells us how she has maintained her practice of Chinese calligraphy since childhood.
I first learned calligraphy when I was eight years old, probably because of my curiosity facilitated by my parents. At that time, I started from learning to write the basic strokes – horizontal and vertical, which required a lot of patience and perseverance. I was so envious of other fellows who could exercise their skillful hands freely. However, after learning Yan-style of calligraphy for three years when I wrote with more confidence, I had to put down my brush and switched my full attention to my study which became more demanding. It was not until in my college time that I picked up my brush again with my genuine passion for calligraphy. This flame of enthusiasm has been kept for my life in the UK. When I was packing up my luggage, I had no hesitation to include my beloved set of calligraphy treasures in the suitcase.
To me, calligraphy is a journey of time and space through the written form of our language, with which I could always conduct spiritual dialogues with our ancestors thousands of years ago.
Below is a selected collection of Yihui’s calligraphic works.
WEI Ziqing (魏子晴) is currently doing MA Interpreting at the School of Arts, English and Language. Among her many talents she has a strong passion for recitation. In the recent QUB Multilingual Poetry and Music Festival she contributed to the event by doing a Chinese poetry recitation – ‘The Chinese Language’. With her kind permission, we invite her to share with us her recitation.
To be honest, my performance on the day was not really as perfect as I thought. However, I found that at least three girls from the audience were moved to tears, to my great surprise. One of the girls later said to me that even though she could not understand the language, her heart was greatly touched by the sound of language and she couldn’t help shedding tears.
Below is the Ziqing’s Instagram post on her recitation, followed by the bilingual text versions.
中国话 有一种语言，它 很神秘，它蕴涵着一个民族上下几千年 悲喜交加的情感；
有一种语言，它很丰富，阴阳上去中 回荡着 慷慨激昂 倾诉着 温宛 缠绵；
——哪一种语言 能有 如此动听的节律？
The Chinese Language There is a language – it is very mysterious and contains the emotional ups and downs of a nation for thousands of years;
There is a language – it is so ancient that its origin cannot be found in the characters engraved in bones;
There is a language – it is very rich, resonating with generosity and passion, warmth and tenderness in the alternation of Yin and Yang;
This is the Chinese language.
An ancient oriental myth!
is an expression like poetry and painting.
‘The trees rustle and shake their branches, The horses gallop and run freely.’
has such a vivid illustration?
“Rosy evening clouds and the lonely duck fly together; The autumn water shares the same colour with the sky.”
–which language can tell such picturesque beauty?
‘The spring tide of the river joins the sea, and the bright moon rises with the tide on the sea…’
–Which language can have such an enchanting rhythm?
“I’ve lost my sun, you’ve lost your willow, the willow lightly rises to the Ninth Heaven”
–what other language
Can translate the richness of your meaning in one word?
Chinese language is the breathing of the Chinese people’s soul.
It is the long sigh of Qu Yuan, the roar of Xiang Yu,
The romance of Li Bai, the irony of Du Fu.
It is Li Dazhao cheering and applauding “The Victory of the Common People” on the eve of May Fourth Movement,
It is Lu Xun criticizing “The Silent China” in the face of enemy’s butcher’s knife,
It is Wen Yiduo rising up and promoting justice in the face of bullets from secret agents,
It is Mao Zedong solemnly declaring “The Chinese nation has stood up!” amidst the sound of salute.
The recklessness and fortitude of the Yellow River is Chinese language!
The unrestrained and boldness of the Yangtze River is Chinese language!
The magnificence of the mountains, the ruggedness of the plateau, is Chinese language!
The gentleness of the south of the Yangtze River, the elegance of the water town, is Chinese language!
Listen, the Chinese language is echoing through my voice on the podium of the United Nations
-So friendly, beautiful,
-So powerful, great!
Chinese language , you belong to a great nation, a world where the sun rises!
I love you, our Chinese language!
Sign up for a Chinese course
If you would like to learn more about the beauty of the Chinese language and are interested in attending a course, you are welcome to check our courses below and register as soon as you can. The cutting off date is rightly on Thursday 20 April, the UN Chinese Language Day! Don’t miss out!