Talking Chinese

Three of our students were recently contacted by the Wales Confucius Institute because they had heard about their fantastic achievements learning Mandarin Chinese. Wales China schools Project Manager, Victoria Ucele, and Academic Director, Benlan Ye, recently visited Ysgol Aberconwy’s Confucius classroom and interviewed three of our year 13 students, Eleanor, Erin and Lara, for a piece they are writing about them to go in their Confucius Newsletter.

Students at ysgol aberconwy have the benefit of learning Chinese, if they wish, taught by specialist teacher Jie Chen from the Confucius Institute. Both Erin and Eleanor started studying Chinese in Year 8 and Lara began studying in Year 9. At first Erin was a member of the Chinese after school club, where they played games and learnt about Chinese culture in a relaxed environment, she said, “When I heard about a trip to China with school, I knew I had to start lessons so I would be able to take part in this amazing experience. I passed exams in beginners Chinese (QCF levels 1 and 3 in Mandarin) and in 2019, I was lucky enough to go on the school trip to Xiamen and Shanghai for two weeks! Thanks to my lessons at school, I was able to chat to people in Mandarin, asking how much things were in shops and ordering my own food. If I hadn’t started my Chinese lesson in year 8, then I wouldn’t have ended up going on this trip of a lifetime.”

Eleanor said, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the lessons and I think I’ve benefited from studying the language in a small class, where Jie is always happy to explain the answers to any questions I have very well. A big part of why I have enjoyed the lessons so much is that Jie is clearly enthusiastic about teaching and happy to help. We have engaged in a range of different activities on various aspects of learning Mandarin, where I’ve practiced writing characters, speaking and pronunciation, and reading and listening. Jie’s lessons have given me a very well-rounded knowledge base in Mandarin for the future.”

Both Erin and Eleanor have passed their HSK 1 and HSK 2 Mandarin Chinese examinations in the past two years and hope to continue to advance their Chinese qualifications as they move on to university. Lara has passed two QCF vocatinal exams and is hoping to go to Bangor University to study Linguistics and Chinese.

Eleanor continued, “I will be studying Mandarin alongside my degree at university for two years. Without having the option to take Mandarin lessons in school, this is something I would never have considered doing, as learning a language like Mandarin can seem like a very intimidating task, but the lessons I have taken have provided me with the option to start Mandarin at an intermediate level at university, an opportunity I am very grateful for.”

Erin agreed, she said, “I’m hoping to go to university this September to study Chinese and French. The Chinese lessons at school have opened doors to so many opportunities and showed me my passion which I will go on to study at higher education. After university I would really like to go to China again to work, perhaps even live there!”

Languages teacher Nia Williams, said “I am beyond proud of them and how well they’ve done! They have coped with all obstacles, embraced every opportunity and shown great determination and hard work to pass their Chinese exams and to get as far as they have.”

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