“Going to China was fantastic! Xie Xie, China!”Confucius Institute at the University of Newcastle Holds Southern China Cultural Tour

[Source]    The Confucius Institute at the University of Newcastle [Time]    2012-05-21 10:34:08 
 

The Confucius Institute at the University of Newcastle held a 10-day Southern China Cultural Tour during April 2012. Led by two directors of Confucius Institute at the University of Newcastle, fifteen students from the University of Newcastle visited Shanghai, Suzhou, Kunming, Lijiang and Dali, experiencing China first-hand. They were dazzled by the cosmopolitan flair of Shanghai, amazed by the classical Chinese architecture in Suzhou, and marvelled at the ethnically diverse Lijiang and Dali in southwest China. They tasted authentic Chinese food along the way, visited gardens and museums, wandered in buzzing shopping streets, and stepped out their comfort zone to chat in Chinese with friendly locals.

Fifteen students also visited East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai and Yunnan University of Finance and Economics in Kunming. The students had the opportunity to listen to lectures given by Chinese professors and meet and talk with Chinese university students on several occasions on topics like different campus lives in southern and northern hemispheres. They were so impressed by these experiences that some of the students are now considering further study and work in China.

For some, the contrast between traditional Chinese culture and the modern city life, between the reality and the western stereotype was fascinating and thought-provoking. Kylie, an art student from the University of Newcastle took thousands of photos during the tour and is planning an exhibition to showcase her ‘first time’ impression of China.

Directly experiencing the cultural differences between Australian and Chinese ways of thinking and doing things provided the Newcastle students with many valuable insights. One student, who hosts a 17-year-old Chinese student in her own home in Newcastle, said the tour gave her a greater appreciation and a much better understanding of the ‘adjustments’ everyone has to make to immerse themselves in another culture.

Rhys Palmer, Director of the Confucius Institute, said this inaugural Southern China Cultural Tour was a huge success. “The students’ exposure to museums and traditional gardens was enriching for them, but it was the one-to-one exchanges and interactions with the Chinese students and the Chinese people they met along the way that made it really magical. One student described the tour to me as ‘life changing’ – that to me is a success.”


Students from the University of Newcastle and Rhys Palmer, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Newcastle, Australia (third to right, front row) attends a reception dinner offered by East China University of Science and Technology.


Dumpling eating competition with Chinese university students (Photo by Rodney)

 
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