In order to motivate overseas students to study Chinese and to encourage them to take part in Chinese exams, the Confucius Institute headquarters (Hanban) has been organising Chinese Exam Winter Camp Programmes. The UCD Confucius Institute organised its first Chinese Exam Winter Camp, running from the 26th of December2014 to the 6th of January 2015. 8 students and teachers from Sutton Park School (an affiliated school of the UCD Confucius Institute) participated in this programme.
The Chinese Exam Winter Camp Programme 2014 aimed to “organise and promote immersion Chinese learning through activities such as Chinese culture lectures and those focusing on communication between students and cultural experience, to enrich the student’s understanding of Chinese culture and to motivate students to learn Chinese”. The programme consisted of orientation, Chinese classes, cultural classes, communicative activities, cultural tours and camping. On the 27th of December, the Confucius Headquarters held a grand opening ceremony during which students visited and purchased books in the “Textbook Exhibition on Teaching Chinese as a Second Language” in the Confucius Headquarters. They also took part in activities on Chinese traditional culture.
During the Winter Camp, students not only improved their Chinese, they also engaged in numerous cultural activities such as cooking dumplings, face painting, paper cutting, martial arts classes andChinese movies. In addition, they also visited many tourist sites such as the Great Wallof China, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Chinese National Museum, the China Science and Technology Museum, the Birds Nest and the Beijing National Aquatics Center. They also watched a Chinese Kongfu performance and went shopping in the Pearl Market and the Silk Market. During the closing ceremony, students took a Chinese exam organised by Hanban and also performed in a talent show. Ashling Aisulu Sugrue from Sutton Park School was accredited as a “Camper of Honour”. The Irish students performed the Cup Song for the audience and they were greatly impressed.
Despite the tight and tiring schedule, students remained excited and enthusiastic towards Chinese language and culture at the end of the trip. After 10 days of living and learning in China, their Chinese greatly improved. They said that the Winter Camp changed their views towards China and repainted the image of China in their minds with a brand new enchanting picture.