Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster Holds YCT and HSK Tests in Succession

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster [Time]    2013-05-22 10:35:19 

March 22nd, Derry - Seventeen pupils took the Youth Chinese Test (YCT) at Good Shepherd Primary School. On April 20th, 4 university students took Level I and Level III HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test) on Belfast Campus and the Coleraine Campus at the University of Ulster respectively. The two tests were the first YCT and the first HSK held in Northern Island in history.

In Northern Ireland, where there are only 1,800,000 people or so, three teachers from China sowed the seeds of Chinese teaching. Only 100 days later, they got very satisfactory teaching results here. “We never thought that the milestone in Northern Island would take place at our school. It is worth celebrating!” A teacher of Good Shepherd Primary School, who witnessed the test on that day, said so. They were not only excited about the remarkable event where the Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster held its first Chinese proficiency test, but also deeply touched by the professional dedication of the Confucius Institute teachers.

At 7:30 AM on March 22nd, Zhou Yang, a teacher of Good Shepherd Primary School, just getting up, received a phone call from the examining teacher Cui Bo, “It snows heavily in Belfast. The snow is above the ankle, and it is still snowing. Will there be a lot of examinees absent from the YCT held at your school today?” After a little while, Zhou Yang called and said, “It isn’t snowing in Derry now. It is cold, but it should not have influence on the test.” Cui Bo set out after covering the test paper bag with two layers of plastic covers. It usually takes 20 minutes to walk to the Belfast long-distance bus station, but Cui Bo spent twice the time on that day. When arriving at the station hall, her shoes were soaked by snow water and her clothes kept dripping. However, due to the heavy snow, the likes of which that had not been seen for fifty years, the long-distance bus leaving Derry broke down on the highway, and thus Cui Bo could do nothing but wait in the cold.

At 11:11 AM, Cui Bo finally boarded the bus leaving for Derry. At 13:10, she and Liu Zhihong, another teacher of the Confucius Institute who hurried from Coleraine, both arrived at the examination venue. They did not take a break but directly entered the examination room and began to organize the examination. The invigilators were so considerate that they brought the examinees the 2B pencils used at the examination. When the school computer failed to play the listening test CD, they coped with the emergency by using their own laptop. By overcoming various difficulties, the YCT started on time at last.

Compared with the enrollment for YCT, the HSK registration seemed to be more difficult. Since most of those who registered for HSK were university students, they lacked confidence in their Chinese ability. Teacher Cui Bo, who was in charge of the HSK test, patiently explained the HSK test syllabus for them, provided previous exam papers, and even paid a special visit to the class of the university students to conduct mobilization and encourage them to show confidence. With her mobilization, there were eventually 3 university students who submitted their HSK application forms anxiously and fearfully. William, an examinee who was not a university student, did not know which level of HSK test he should register for, so Cui Bo gave him the test paper at all levels and asked him to answer all of the test questions. After the trial, it was finally determined that he should register for HSK Level 3. However, the youngster was eager to pass the HSK Level 4 test. When asked about the reason, he said he wanted to study in China and HSK Level 4 is a necessary requirement for winning a scholarship. Based on this situation, Cui Bo reported to the head of the Confucius Institute and began to help him make up the missed lessons actively. After that, the Confucius Institute contacted a Chinese university for him, and that university confirmed that as long as he could provide his HSK Level 3 test result, he could apply to study in China. The news greatly encouraged William, and he asked for advice from teachers at the Confucius Institute on a regular basis and concentrated on preparation for the test by using his spare time. He participated in the HSK Level 3 test held on April 20th. After the test, he expressed his thanks to the teachers of Confucius Institute repeatedly.

The launch of YCT and HSK encourage the initiative of local youths in learning Chinese. At the beginning of April, another 55 primary and secondary school students submitted their YCT application forms, and 2 students of the University of Ulster also submitted their HSK application forms. With the unremitting efforts of teachers and volunteers of the Confucius Institute, the Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster has achieved a breakthrough with the YCT and HSK tests within just a few months, and it is expected that the number of examinees will be close to 100 in 2013.