By Heath Sloane (何懿嗣)
On behalf of the Sydney University cohort here at Peking University, I would like to thank Beijing Daxue for having opened its doors to us to study here over the last month. This university’s first-rate teachers and facilities have enabled us to pursue our passion for Chinese in a friendly, yet academically-rigorous, environment and to holistically improve our language ability.
Peking University is rightly regarded as China’s pre-eminent institution for Chinese language education; internationally focused yet dedicated to providing a rich student experience. To study abroad at this university is a distinct privilege – particularly considering how prestigious and competitive it is to gain admission. Therefore, we are grateful that BeiDa was prepared to take our group of passionate and driven young Australians into its fold.
Over the past month we have had the opportunities to visit numerous sights and create unforgettable memories both within and outside of Beijing. We have thoroughly enjoyed these experienced, which ranged from Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, the Temple of Heaven, to the Summer Palace, Beihai Park, Night Markets, and the 798 District. And I think it’s fair to say that we’ve well and truly explored Wudaokou and Sanlitun on our own accord! Outside of Beijing, we’ve seen just a few of the historical and cultural highlights of this vast country, including Xi’an, Harbin and Shanghai.
It would be remiss of me to not to thank our Chinese Laoshi’s here at Beida, who have all impressed us by the quality of teaching and enthusiasm for sharing their language with us. Your effort to ensure that classes were interesting, engaging and fun is greatly appreciated.
Finally a special thank you must be given to Zhang Laoshi, our course coordinator. Zhang Laoshi, your organisation, support and care has not gone unnoticed. From the pre-departure workshops, to your efforts in organizing all the excursions – you have always been several steps ahead, so as to ensure that we, your students, would have the best time possible.
Whilst at times learning a language may seem like a grind, and we tend to focus on the next ‘dictation test’ or ‘vocabulary quiz’ – it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. The relationship between China and Australia is becoming increasingly important as we come to a greater realization of our position in the Asia-Pacific region.
With solid foundations in the Chinese language, we are getting ahead of the game. Even if we do not envisage using our Chinese in our future career, it is salient to remember two things: firstly - that our beginnings never know our ends, and secondly - that Australia and China’s trajectories are intertwined. And in the future, wherever we end up using our Chinese, we will look back fondly on our time at BeiDa.