The Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury (CIUC) held its second Chinese Pathway Workshop earlier this month on Friday 14th. With high school students from all over Christchurch and the University Canterbury in attendance.
Chinese Pathway Workshop Closing Ceremony
The event was opened with speeches from Dr Chia-Rong Wu, Alistair Crozier and Jack Chaney, with topics ranging from how learning Chinese allowed them to connect with many people on a deeper level, opened doors for them in their careers and the origin of pizza.
You see while pizza is indeed a cornerstone in Italian cuisine, it turns out that pizza is actually a Chinese dish by origin. How did it find its way into being an Italian staple? When Marco Polo returned from his travels in the east, he missed China and had a baker make him what we now know as pizza today.
Jack Chaney is a Civic & International Relations Advisor in Christchurch City Council
Much like Marco Polo, Alistair Crozier has travelled in different parts of Asia and gaining a grasp of the local language (Mandarin) was pivotal for his time there.
During his first ever visit to China the experience did not make much of an impression on him. Later when work brought him back to China, he established and managed New Zealand’s Cheng-du consulate, he took Chinese lessons through which he was able to connect with the culture and people and came to deeply appreciate all that it had to offer.
Similarly for Jack Chaney who works as the Civic & International Relations Advisor for Christchurch Council, learning Chinese opened professional doors and experiences that would otherwise be out of reach.
Jack Chaney, emphasised the usefulness of Chinese and likened it to “a weapon in your arsenal”. Explaining that there are many jobs that require Native English speakers that both know Chinese and understand the more subtle nuances in the English language.
The speeches were wrapped up with a lucky draw, giving a few lucky students a small souvenir to take home from the event. Each student was given a ticket decorated with a picture and information about one of China’s many cities and an ID number.
Numbers were drawn for 3rd and 2nd prizes, winning a Chinese fan and Chinese-made Coasters. Following this the students split into groups and got to enjoy some Chinese cultural activities.
First up was Wu Zi Qi, this game is similar to connect four and noughts and crosses, but instead you must align five stones on a board while trying to prevent your partner from doing the same. While there was no ultimate champion for this game, the best students got to go against the instructor.
Next up was Chinese calligraphy, an art form that takes decades to be able to master. After delving into the history and different styles of calligraphy, students were able to have a go at it.
The last activity of the day was Kung Fu, equipped with red fans, students were taken through the steps of several Tai Chi moves. While Tai Chi may often appear easy, it is not for the faint hearted and requires a lot of core strength and balance.
The day was brought to an end with the final lucky draw for 1st prize winning a cute figurine of a forbidden city guard.
The Chinese Pathway workshop will likely be held next year for its 3rd consecutive year, to encourage students to broaden their horizons and allow them to experience more of Chinese culture.
Sinead Pinto Miles