“读万卷书，行万里路”是每一位深受中国学子的梦想。近年来，随着“中国热”在里贾纳地区的持续高涨，一批又一批本地学子在里贾纳大学孔子学院的组织下从加拿大来到中国学习。经过两周紧张而又充实的汉语学习之后，2018年 6月10日起 ，里贾纳大学孔子学院组织了11名本校大学生进行了为期两周的“发现中国，大美湖南”文化体验及汉语学习之旅。
The Chinese people always believe in “one should read as many books as they can and travel as far as they can.” In relation, there are domestic university students that took the two-week Chinese Language classes from June 10th to 23rd, 2018 in the height of “China Fever” in the Regina community. After which, the Confucius Institute successfully organized a study tour for eleven students to travel to China. The study tour provided an excellent opportunity for the participants to gain a deeper experience of the Chinese culture and practiced their Chinese language skills in China.
Upon the group’s arrival in Beijing, the capital city of China, they attended an opening ceremony at the Confucius Institute Headquarters (HanBan). At the Chinese Cultural Experience Center, they expressed a great admiration of the colourful introduction and modern display of the diverse Chinese traditional culture and arts. The students took lots of photos with great interest in the Peking Opera costumes and the ancient musical instruments.
After that, the participants attended a series of lectures at the Tsinghua University and the Communication University of China on the Chinese Educational System and the development of media in China. Through these lectures, the students learned the different cultural atmosphere in Chinese universities and gained a better understanding of the Chinese language, culture, society, education, political system, and more. The participants also had a friendly dialogue with the local students and teachers that gave a more objective and comprehensive perception of the Chinese society.
While still in Beijing, the participants visited several famous tourist attractions and historical, scenic sites that include the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. The group also visited the Yuanmingyuan Park wherein facing this magnificent, gorgeous royal garden was a placed that was unfortunately damaged during the war. The students were struck and silent upon learning of the incident. Ana Lucia, a student, sighed as she remarked: “It is so sad that this fabulous treasure of mankind was destroyed in the war, just like those in Mexico.”
After the trip to Beijing, the group went to Changsha City, the center for culture, education and economy of Hunan province by the high-speed train. It was the first time for most of the participants to take a high-speed train that they likened their experience with the Fast and Furious movie. More so, the students were impressed by the excellent service together with the comfortable atmosphere in the train at an affordable price.
Hu-Xiang culture originated from Hunan is characterized by its uniquely diverse regional elements and is an integral part that constitutes the Chinese culture. Hu-Xiang culture differs from Beijing with its long and remarkable history and is described as being energetic and enthusiastic. The bustling and well-arranged streets, hot and spicy Xiang cuisine and hospitable residents warmly welcomed the participants as soon as they reach Changsha City.
During the whole trip in Hunan, students visited many local museums, including the Xiang Embroidery Museum, Tongguanyao Museum, and Hunan Provincial Museum as well. These museums displayed the splendid history, folk customs, craftsmanship and natural resources of the Hunan Province, which helped the students to have a profound understanding of the regional culture. In the Hunan Provincial Museum, one of the top eight national museums in China, the participants were amazed by various ancient cultural relics, such as the unearthed relic collections of Han dynasty, bronze wares of Shang dynasty, cultural relics of Chu state, and many other precious painting and calligraphy art works of different dynasties. Meanwhile, Tongguanyao Museum features the kiln with 1,200 years history, it showcase the glamorous porcelains customized for export to central Asia in Tang dynasty that demonstrated China has been an open, inclusive, and creative nation.
Meanwhile, the group visited the Huayao Ethnic Village in Yongzhou, Hunan province that is the site of poverty alleviation supported by Hunan University to facilitate their economic development. The enthusiastic host of the Yao ethnic group held a welcoming ceremony for the participants with their homemade wine and traditional singing and dancing. Likewise, the students and teachers from the Faculty of Arts of Hunan University introduced how they have had combined modern design ideas with the ethnic group’s cultural elements in their work. The participants also shared to their local counterparts about their experience with Canadian aboriginal communities.
The participants indeed spent a wonderful time during the whole tour in China. The experience of travelling not only help them learn the Chinese history and culture but also explore the modern China that opened their mind and incited their interest to learn more about the country. “I would like to go to China again if there is an opportunity next year, and plan to study and live for a long time not only just for two weeks.” said Wilbur, who already registered for the Chinese course in this fall semester.