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
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!
Whilst people went out to the city centre for the St Patrick’s Day celebration (17th March), Mengjia, accompanied by her two friends, took the courage to perform guzheng music out there. Read on what Mengjia told us.
Tell us about you and your instrument
My name is QU Mengjia (屈梦佳) and I am a postgraduate student from China studying Master in Broadcast and Media Production at Queen’s University Belfast. I have been playing guzheng since the age of 6 and received my Grade 10 Guzheng Professional Certificate when I was 11 years old.
The guzheng is a kind of traditional Chinese string musical instrument that has had a history of over 2500 years. It first appeared in China during the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC) and became prominent during the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE).
Why did you want to play it on St Patrick’s Day?
I have had the idea of performing guzheng on the streets of Belfast since I came to study at Queen’s, because before I came to the UK I saw social media videos on Chinese students performing traditional Chinese arts overseas, and I wanted to do the same thing. I was particularly inspired to do this event after watching the Chinese New Year celebration this January, including guzheng performance on campus. Most of the audience were students and staff members, Chinese or not. I thought that I could help to do more by promoting guzheng performance in Belfast city center, where I could reach more people, both local and international, and introduce such an instrument through my performance. I chose St Patrick’s Day just because it was a great occasion to meet a large number of people in the downtown area as the parade started there.
How did you feel about your performance on the day?
Well, it was a pilot performance and I think this was the first guzheng performance ever done outdoors in the downtown Belfast area. I was quite excited to see many people around me. I have to say that the weather was so bad as it rained with gusty winds. We had to wait for the intervals when the rain stopped. I played a number of famous guzheng music such as Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai (aka China’s Romeo and Juliet), and with the help of my two friends, LI Jiaqi and WU Xiaoya, we managed to disseminate our performance information sheets, speaking to people passing by. I hope that I had introduced the beauty of the guzheng music and that would encourage greater appreciation for Chinese guzheng culture. Also, through sharing my passion for this traditional instrument, I hope to inspire others to explore and learn more about the diverse cultural traditions of our world.
Do you have any plans for the following up outdoor performances?
Not yet, as I need to complete my assignments first. But I would like to do so when the weather becomes nicer, ideally in the third semester when my courses all end and I can focus on my dissertation writing up, with guzheng performance as part of my social life. I also look forward to doing it on campus if there are suitable events that I can contribute to.
Finally, we would like to thank Mengjia for sharing her Instagram account with us, which includes a video clip of her performance on the day! You are welcome to share your thoughts and comments with us in the reply box below or with Ying on her social media.
The Cultural Diversity at Queen’s programme not only welcomes international students and staff members introduce their own cultures, but also encourages them to share their intercultural experience through this blog channel. Below is what GAO Ying, a Chinese student from Management School, told us her interesting experience of being invited to the Holi Festival celebration just a couple of days before the festival starts today, 8th March (also the International Women’s Day).
What did you know about this Holi Festival?
Well, actually before I was invited I knew little of it. Since I started my life at Queen’s I have made friends with a lot of international students, including Indians, many of whom are also my classmates. I have learned from them (and Google) that the colourful Holi festival is Indians’ celebration of the triumph of good over evil and the destruction of Holika, the banshee. It is also the joyous day when the Holi Festival begins with singing and dancing throughout not only India but also the world along with the diaspora. At the same time, it also represents the end of the monotonous colour of winter, followed by the spring flowers.
This year Holi falls on the 8th March, but it’s celebrated a bit earlier on the 5th March, which is a Sunday, so as to encourage more students to join.
What was your Holi experience and the joy of it?
Before I went, I was told by my best friend Parvin, who is a lovely Indian girl, that I’d better wear a white T-shirt because people would use coloured powder throwing to each other and into the air to celebrate Holi. After getting the ticket through an app, I went together with my friends to the Botanic Inn, which is a bar near Queen’s. I was quite eager to taste the new culture and would also be keen to meet some new friends at the event.
The celebration was arranged outdoors and everybody looked so excited. There was a DJ from Dublin who was invited here for music production. With energetic music, my Indian classmates introduced me to their friends then we all danced together. They taught me some Indian dancing steps and movements, some of which were actually from the daily actions of Indian labourers, such as grinding, stirring or making naan bread. We laughed, held each other’s hands and danced to the music, laughing out loud. It was so much fun with relaxing time. Of course, we all had colours on our faces and our bodies – no one could escape! I felt so happy that I should have another chance to know more about them.
What has been your overall student life experience with Queen’s so far?
Before I arrived at Queen’s, I had already heard from its media and social media like WeChat that Queen’s is a beautiful university with international students from many different cultures, which impressed me a lot.
When I came here, I enjoyed some local celebrations such as Halloween and Christmas, which was great because they gave a quite authentic feel. But the first large cultural event I was seriously engaged with was to attend as a student volunteer for the ArtEast Exhibition at the Ulster Museum, as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration programme at Queen’s. I was really proud of being able to help with promoting my own culture to visitors from other cultures. Now, through the Holi celebration I started to explore more other cultures which were distant to me originally. I really appreciate Queen’s multicultural environment, within which I have already started to harvest happiness, friendship, and a heart full of love.
I certainly have enjoyed my colourful life here and would like to encourage my friends, Chinese and international, to live our lives together in a more interactive and interesting way while studying at Queen’s.
We also thank GAO Ying for kindly sharing her Instagram account with us, which includes a video clip of their Holi Celebration! You are welcome to share your thoughts and comments with us in the reply box below or with Ying on her social media.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Different people may have different focuses. At Queen’s, the campaign theme for this year is #EmbraceEquity
Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity
Today, we are pleased to introduce WANG Xinxin, a Queen’s School of Law student (LLM candidate in International Commercial & Business Law) to share her feel of being a departing daughter from her family, a female international student with great passion for her study and intercultural life in Belfast and elsewhere, through quoting the lines from one of her favourite ancient poems, the Ballad of Mulan.
We also thank WANG Xinxin for kindly sharing her Instagram account with us, which includes a video clip of greeting messages to her family and to all, in Chinese. If you have difficulties in understanding Mandarin, just click this Instagram post to read the English lines she added in the comment area.
We would like to invite all to come join in this is a special day of greeting and a call for celebration. Tell us how you celebrate this special day in the reply box below. We would love to hear more stories from you, too.
While the Lantern Festival is arriving on Sunday 5th February, which signals the end of Chinese Spring Festival season, we are still intoxicated with the celebrative atmosphere socially.
Following the success of the ArtEast Club’s ‘Chinese Brushes in Belfast and Beyond’ Exhibition and Workshop in Ulster Museum on Sunday 29th January, the ArtEast core members Jean, Lily and Wenli are embracing another art exhibition ‘East to West- Magic Brush 2023’ at ISLAND Arts Centre in Lisburn, starting from Saturday 4 Feb 2023 until Wednesday 1 Mar 2023.
All visitors are welcome! We wish the exhibition a great success!
The first half of the CNY celebrations went on extremely well, featuring the student-led Interactive Chinese Culture Displays and Demos, the CNY2023 Launch Event, and the art exhibitions both online and in-person. We would like to send our ‘thank-you’ to all of you who have contributed, participated in and helped with promotion. We hope that you have enjoyed yourselves.
In the following part of the CNY Programme, we continue to warmly welcome you to attend a series of culture talks, a fun time table tennis event and a guzheng introductory workshop. All QUB students and staff members are welcome!
Click below for registration and viewing the full programme