Canterbury University Students Explore Beijing and Learn Chinese
30/01/2017 – As a part of the University of Canterbury’s Global Awareness Summer Programme, ten undergraduate students took part in a pioneering three-week programme of Chinese language and culture at Peking University.
The University of Canterbury's pioneering Global Awareness Summer Programme recently organized for ten undergraduate students from a variety of fields to take part in a three-week programme of Chinese language and culture studies at Peking University from 19 November to 10 December, 2016. The students earned credits by enrolling in UC’s internship paper, PACE295.
In addition to undertaking Chinese language and culture classes, the group visited iconic locations of historical and cultural heritages including the Great Wall, the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, as well as participating in recreational activities such as Chinese Tai Chi and Chinese calligraphy classes. The students were also invited to visit the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing. His Excellency Mr John McKinnon, the New Zealand’s Ambassador to China, kindly met the students and discussed some issues on the bilateral relation between New Zealand and China.
The New Zealand Centre also helped arrange the students to visit Mahon China Investment Management Ltd , a New Zealand consultancy firm based in Beijing. Its Executive Chairman, Mr. David Mahon and Managing Partner Mr. Charlie Gao hosted a workshop with the visiting students on various topics regarding New Zealand and China. Mr. Gao had originally served as the first ever Liaison Officer for the New Zealand Centre, and so had plenty of good stories to share with the students, expounding the benefits of enhanced cooperation and exchange between Chinese and New Zealand universities.
Before they came to Beijing, the students also conducted research as part of a project for the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, looking at how the Canterbury region can respond to the projected increase in the number of visitors from China and enhance its flourishing relationship with China. On their return to Christchurch, the students presented their research to officials from Environment Canterbury, the Christchurch City Council, and Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism.
Under the supervision of the Peking University New Zealand Centre, the students also had the opportunity to take part in the Centre’s New Zealand History and Culture course providing the valuable opportunity to participate in group discussions with Peking University students. This experience facilitated an important intercultural dialogue and allowed the students to get valuable feedback with regards to their research projects.
The New Zealand Centre hopes the short, but unforgettable experience at Beijing has helped them understand Chinese culture and in completing their projects. UC International Partnerships Coordinator, Dr Will Shannon says that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students. “They learned much from their time at Beida and many now want to come back to China to do further study or work. We are extremely grateful to the New Zealand Centre and the wider Peking University community for their hospitality and look forward to cooperating on further activities in the future.”
It is the first joint programme for New Zealand students which the New Zealand Centre hosted in Beijing in collaboration with a New Zealand university, providing the New Zealand students with a study-abroad opportunity of learning Chinese language and culture not only through classroom teaching and textbooks but also through their experiences in visiting Beijing and interacting with Chinese people.