UQ staff team up to deliver culture training

29 Mar 2018

The UQ Confucius Institute in collaboration with the School of Economics has designed a new training course to provide insights into the culture and life of students coming from China to study at UQ.

Twenty delegates, including both academic and professional staff, from the Business, Economics and Law (BEL) Faculty participated in the four-hour course, which was delivered in two-hour sessions over two weeks in mid-March this year.

Ms Cerian Stanfield, Marketing and International Relations Manager, from School of Economics identified a need for UQ staff members to undertake culture training after attending a course in the UK last year.

UQ staff delivering cultural training
Ms Sandaver, Ms Stanfield and Ms Huang, School of Economics, with trainer Mr Fred Hong

“I attended the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) conference last year and they had some excellent training that provided huge insights into the culture and life of students in China which were very valuable to me in helping to understand the issues our students face,” Ms Stanfield said.

“I approached the Confucius Institute to deliver a similar course with the aim of enhancing student and staff experience, as well as providing the School of Economics staff members with a greater understanding of the culture where the largest cohort of our international postgraduate students come from.”

The culture training, developed by the Confucius Institute, allowed participants from the BEL Faculty to understand networks of influence, known as guanxi, and the student experience in China for education, including the mentoring system, known as fudaoyuan. Special emphasis was placed on understanding the culture of collectivism and the importance of family in a Chinese context and how this affects child development.

Unique to this training, participants received invaluable insights from Ms Kate Huang, a School of Economics Honours student, about her experience as an international student from China. 

Ms Huang and Mr Hong during group discussions
Ms Huang and Mr Hong during group discussions

Mr Ben Kelly, who works for the Confucius Institute, said the first Chinese culture training with the BEL Faculty was a success.

“The feedback I received after the training has been excellent, so this may become a regular offering for BEL Faculty staff members.

“Likewise, if other faculties, institutes, departments and schools from around the university want to get involved, I think the impact on staff understanding in this area would be a benefit for all,” Mr Kelly said.

Professor Ping Chen, Director of the Confucius Institute, was delighted with the outcomes of this culture training course.

“We have been delivering a range of Chinese language and culture courses for a number of years now and following the popularity of training modules delivered through the UQ Staff Development Program, we now find ourselves with the opportunity to design and deliver specialized training to staff,” Professor Chen said.

Currently over 7000 students from Mainland China are studying at UQ, a considerable growth in number over previous years.