News & Events

A Summer Language Programme and More in China

Posted on 30 Sep 2019 in CLTalk

preparing for the programme


“Let’s set up a Wechat group”, Dr Sheng Shuangxia, our Chinese Director, suggested upon meeting this year’s participants of the Summer Intensive Language Programme in China. This was during their induction back in June, preparing them for the exciting trip they were about to embark on.

From 7-20 July, 13 students from the Manchester Confucius Institute spent two weeks at Beijing Normal University, improving their Chinese language skills through classes and daily interaction with the local people. The group was comprised of a wide range of ages, from 20s to 60s, but the one common factor was their enthusiasm for the Chinese language and culture. For the majority, this was their first visit to China.

When applying for the programme, we find that most applicants would like to use the experience to put their Mandarin into practise in real life situations. They are also looking for an opportunity to experience the wonderful culture and customs that China has to offer. One of our students, Ashleigh, explained: “I have been studying Mandarin for around two years. I started my learning with self-study, and after some time I started looking for formal classes. This has been achieved through study at Manchester Confucius Institute with Comprehensive 1, 2 and 3.  I recognise that at this time, my biggest issue in learning the language has been the ability to quickly comprehend what I hear when being spoken to in Chinese.  I can sometimes be slow to respond while I am still processing the question/sentence said to me. I believe this is something that I can only improve when being put into a situation that encourages Chinese conversation.”   This is precisely what our programme is designed for and is something our students have found extremely beneficial and enriching.

We consistently receive positive feedback from the programme’s participants, with many enjoying their time spent exploring China and its many sights just as much as time spent in the classroom. As Lydia reflected, “It was a very fruitful time spent learning in a Chinese environment surrounded by mandarin speakers from classroom to public buses to gardens to the Great Wall. It greatly engaged my learning beyond the classroom and stirred up my interest to learn and I found it easier to apply the learning.”

Another participant shared: “My Chinese name, 花丽, was given to me 33 years ago when working as a doctor in Hong Kong. As I am retired now, I completed Steps 3 at Manchester Confucius Centre. I enjoyed the academic challenge of studying grammar in more depth and continue my studies using online resources. I enjoyed all aspects of the Summer School. It was well organised and the teaching and cultural activities were fantastic. In addition I have made new friends with a shared interest in learning Mandarin.”

Making friends and sharing cultures is a constant theme among the feedback we receive. This experience allows our students to meet others with the same shared interest, forming lasting connections. The hospitality of Beijing Normal University’s staff and students is another highlight, enabling them to experience the diversity of Chinese culture in such a comfortable and accommodating way.

From two weeks spent in China, our students experienced so much; from riding the fast bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai, to the courtyard and lanes visit in Beijing, and not to mention their visit to the ever impressive Great Wall. Providing this programme further engages all those involved with the Chinese language and culture; the main purpose of our Confucius Institute.

Karen Wang & Katie Ainsclough
Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester