Volunteering for wellbeing

Starting from October 30th on, the whole country has officially entered its wintertime. Have you started to feel depression and loneliness because of the early darkness, wet weather and fast-approaching assignment deadlines? Have you ever wondered how long this awful wintertime will actually last before you can regain your peace of mind?

We are pleased to welcome Sun Xingge (孙邢格), MSc candidate in Advanced Professional and Clinical Practice from School of Nursing and Midwifery, to share her fresh experience of joining the Student Union’s (学生会 xuéshēnghuì) Volunteering (志愿行动 zhìyuàn xíngdòng) and Wellbeing (安康 ānkāng) Fair hosted on Wednesday 2nd November.

It’s been amazing that Queen’s Student Union hosted this Volunteering and Wellbeing Fair at this time of the year as it sets a goal to make us aware of the importance of taking care of ourselves and others. From 12pm to 4pm at the Mandela Hall, One Elmwood, I took part in wellbeing activities like dog petting, crafting, DJ taster session, yoga and more, which was lots of fun and a fantastic feel-good experience.

But it’s about more than just having fun. As a Nursing student I’m keen to meet a range of not-for-profit organisations (非盈利组织 fēi yínglì zǔzhī) to find out about the opportunities available to me, to meet new friends, to discover new interests, to build my confidence, all through participating in volunteering. I believe that this could help me gain invaluable experience for my life and my future career. For example, I had a chance to join the simulation game of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR, 心肺复苏 xīnfèi fùsū), which has updated me with the key steps of undertaking CPR.

Flowerpot design

Among the many activities, I particularly enjoyed the flowerpot designing activity, as I had the luxury of choosing from loads of flowers to design my own flowerpot, which really stimulated my imagination and increased my sense of achievement. When I was focusing on flowerpot designing, I actually tended to forget all my worries and felt much relaxed. I chose orange as the theme color and picked up sunflowers, roses, and daisies, which represent sunshine and hope. After finishing making the pot, I brought my product home and presented it to my friend as a little surprise (小惊喜 xiǎo jīngxǐ). She was so grateful (感激 gǎnjī; 领情 lǐng qíng) and loved my gift. See, my joy from making this flowerpot and my friend’s joy of receiving my little gift has already awarded me double happiness (双倍快乐 shuāngbèi kuàilè) during the day.

Free food and healthy diet

In addition to flowerpot designing, I also appreciated being advised to follow a healthy diet (健康饮食 jiànkāng yǐnshí), which turns out to be a crucial thing for us all as it is one of the main ways to improve our physical and mental health. I was impressed by the provision with free (免费 miǎnfèi) hot lunch boxes (a selection between chicken and vegan curry) and a great variety of free healthy snacks at the fair – rice cakes, chickpeas, corn, and nuts, to name a few. The hot lunch box meant a lot to me because I’m so used to eating hot meal (热食 rèshí) when I was in China, especially since it made me feel warm during this cold winter, being distant from my home.

More student and wellbeing events

Contributor: SUN Xingge
Editors: Lauren McShane and WANG Liang

QUB Chinese student won conference Talks Prize

Congratulations for Yiming HUANG (黄一鸣), a third-year PhD candidate, who recently won the Talks Prize 1 at the 73rd Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium!

There were 72 second year PhD students who gave poster presentations and 40 third year PhD students who gave talks…

It was my first time speaking at an open conference. Therefore I felt very lucky and honoured to be the only Chinese person to win the prize.

All of the PhD candidates in attendance were excellent in their research and most were from local universities in Ireland. Queen’s University Belfast was the only participating university from the UK, according to Yiming.

I’m with Prof. Steven E.J. Bell’s group, based in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. The primary area of study for our group is the development of novel nanomaterials for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). My talk at the conference focused on controlling nanoparticle aggregates for stable SERS, which is the project I worked on the entire previous year.

Winning tips

I believe the award could not have been given to me without the following factors. Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor, Prof. Bell, for his excellent guidance in the content of my presentation during the preparation stage. He pointed out that rather than a bunch of data, people prefer to hear a complete story, which was really inspired me. Secondly, to keep the audience interested and prevent them from becoming tired of listening, I used some videos, cartoons and real-life photos to better illustrate my stuff. For example, I made a comparison between my polymer network with nanoparticle aggregates and noodles network with meatballs. In addition, I paid attention to the pace of my presentation and established eye contact with the audience rather than just talking to myself, which enabled the audience to follow my thoughts.

We hope that these tips will be of help to the new comers and also send our best wishes to Yiming for a great success in her PhD research and future career.

If you have similar stories to share with us your successes in study and work, you are very welcome to contact us by leaving your messages below in the comment box.

Chinese course enrolment and call for volunteers

With the approaching of the new semester we are pleased to announce that the Language Centre course enrolment starts at 00:30 on Thursday 1st September. We offer over 80 classes in 14 different languages, including Chinese, that have both online and in person teaching. All classes will commence week beginning Monday 10 Oct 2022.

Online registration will be closed on Thursday 6 Oct and we welcome all to make an early registration as courses are extremely popular and fill up quickly.

Class schedule and registration links are accessible via Language Centre website.

Chinese language courses are offered from level 1 to level 5.

Call for volunteers

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.

Read the Chinese version here.

When The Teachers’ Day Meets Mid-Autumn Festival

Following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we think that it is appropriate and respectful to postpone our Mid-Autumn Festival celebration event. The event will be rescheduled and a further notice will be made soon.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a great occasion for family reunion in the Chinese culture, and we hope that you will join us in sending our condolences to the Royal Family on the loss of their most important family member.

Photo: The Lanyon Building with QUB flag flying at half-mast | ©LiangWANG

You may click to read QUB tribute in English and in Chinese.

It is so special that this year the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on today, Saturday 10th Sept, which coincides with the Teachers’ Day in China. Although we will not be able to get together in person to celebrate this double-festival day, we would like to send our warmest wishes to all who share this culture from QUB and elsewhere.

We have seen our students finding their ways of making mooncakes by themselves with passion and creativity. In the following video clip contributed by Qi SHUAI, you may find it interesting to see how mooncakes can be made by using local materials while she feels being distant (and homesick) from their home.

“去年中秋节的时候我还在家里收拾行囊准备开始我的留学之旅,而现在我已经出国一年了,离开父母整整一年了。中国有句古话“每逢佳节倍思亲”,自从出国开始,每次在异国他乡过中国传统节日时候总是更加认真也更加去认真过节。虽然很想念家里的亲人朋友,但也因为种种原因没有办法把回国列入档期。中秋节算是在中国人心中重要程度仅此于春节的传统节日,因为中秋的节日核心就是在月亮下和家人团团圆圆。但中国还有一句古话“明月千里寄相思”,离开家的我只能望月怀远,将寄明月,把想念化为一句句祝福和一块块月饼。”

(Translation: Last Mid-Autumn Festival I was still packing up at home for my overseas study and now it has been a year since I left my parents. As the Chinese saying goes, one would double-miss their family when it comes to festivals for reunion, I am always keen to celebrate the traditional Chinese festivals when I travel away from home. Once again, now I miss my family and friends so much, although I don’t know a date to return yet. The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important event after the Spring Festival to Chinese families, as the full and bright moon in autumn symbolises a great occasion for family reunion. However, as I’m at a distant place, I have to borrow another saying that one can only pass on thoughts to their beloved through sharing the full and bright moon. Hence, I look up and afar, praying that the Mid-Autumn moon will share my best wishes and my hand-made mooncakes to the people I love and care in China.)

We would also like to take this opportunity to send our best wishes to the faculties both in Queen’s and elsewhere for a very relaxing Chinese Teachers’ Day!

A photo of two frames with thank-you messages to teachers, a spider plant as decoration, taken in 2018 | ©LiangWANG

Well, then, did you know when the World Teachers’ Day is and if there are any special date for teachers in your culture? Please share with us in the comment box below.

For our Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations and Chinese Teachers’ Day posts in the past, you may wish to read the following entries:

Happy Year of The Tiger

虎年快乐!Hǔnián kuàilè!

The Language Centre at Queen’s and the BAME&I Staff Network invite staff, students, as well as members of the public, to join in welcoming the Year of The Tiger, which falls on Tuesday 1 February, with a variety of online cultural celebrations that explore the theme of Connectedness and Inclusion.

The launch event is scheduled between 13:00 and 14:15 on Wed 2 February featuring welcomes, cultural performances and a guest talk, followed by a variety of culture talks in the following weeks, as part of the Chinese Culture Forum 2022. All welcome!

The online Art Exhibition, in collaboration with the ArtEast Club, is open for viewing now. You are very welcome to leave your thoughts and votes for the ones you like best from each other the artists.

For the full programme and registration links, visit Chinese Culture Programme 2022.

Thoughts on Chinese Teachers’ Day

Happy Chinese Teachers’ Day! 中国教师节快乐!

On the arrival of the Chinese Teachers’ Day on 10th September, we are happy to invite Dr Hui Ma, who shifted between his roles of student and teacher, to send his festival thoughts.

My name is Hui Ma. I just received my doctorate degree in education at Queen’s University Belfast, specializing in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

My research interest is in language assessment and language education. Currently, I am working as postdoctoral research assistant in education at Queen’s. I also have recently received offers to work as lecturer in some key universities in China.

Graduation, Image@HuiMa

With 6 years’ experience of English teaching and working as a part-time student counsellor in a Chinese college, I had decided to pursuit the doctorate degree at Queen’s University Belfast in order to better qualify myself as an educator and researcher. During my years at Queen’s, while being a research student learning a lot from my supervisors, I also worked as part-time student assistant for the International Office to offer due support to international students, most of whom are Chinese students. Quite often, I was called as ‘Ma laoshi (lit. Ma teacher) when I was contacted with enquiries or thank-you messages. I am glad to have been helpful.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely wish my teachers, home and abroad, and my fellow colleagues who are teachers and educators in China as well as elsewhere a happy and healthy life.

Language in use

If you are learning Chinese, one of the first few words you may have learned in class probably included 老师 (lǎoshī) when your language teacher established the relationship by telling you how to address them in the Chinese way. Later you will have learned another word 教师 (jiàoshī) when talking about profession. Both mean teacher but the former is used as appellation while the latter refers to the occupation. So you can address your teacher, regardless of their academic titles (lecturer, professor, teaching fellow, etc.), by calling their family name followed by 老师 (lǎoshī). If one’s a teacher, in filling forms when asked about their occupation, they need to write 教师 (jiàoshī).

Sign up for a Chinese class to learn more

Celebrating the Teachers’ Day

On this day, students often present flowers or cards to their teachers to thank them for their devotion and care. So, here’s our card to all teachers and also wish Dr Ma a great re-start of becoming a teacher when he returns to China.

Photo collection from QUB alumni who teach in China

If you have any thoughts to send to your teachers who mean a lot to your growth at Queen’s, feel free to share your Teachers’ Day messages in the box below. We would like to continue this topic until the World Teachers’ Day on 5th October.

Happy Chinese Language Day

Calling all learners of Chinese

Language of Spring, the theme song of 2021 UN Chinese Language Day

In keeping with the themes of inclusivity and cultural exchange, the song was written as a collaboration between Chinese music producer Kelvin Ho, British author Robert Murray and Belgian composer Jean-Francois Maljean who wrote ‘Chime of the Dawn Bells’. It has been performed in Chinese by British artists Phoebe Haines and Freddie Benedict.

To hear this beautiful tune, subscribe to our channel on YouTube (Chinese Language Video Festival)

Chinese Language Festival Video (Youtube)

Don’t miss out the video competition taking place on the day! You can watch it via the Youtube link above. You can also view the Chinese website with many more details and videos via CCTV.


We would also like to invite you to join our culture talk on the topic of supporting international students, delivered by Dr Aisling O’Boyle and Dr Xuezi Han this Friday 23rd April 2021.

Click here for more details and registration.