China’s Easter: The Qingming Festival

“Do Chinese people celebrate Easter?” the students asked curiously. 

The sun shines brilliantly on England in April. Drawing on the eggs, decorating the straw hats, the students are happily preparing for the Easter. While in China, people are busy with tomb sweeping and enjoying beautiful sceneries in spring outings. 

“Chinese people do not celebrate Easter. We have Qingming instead.”

Qingming and Easter are both in April and they share the same aspiration for the bursting vitality. The earth awakes, the flowers blossom, the grass grows up and the trees turn green. Both Qingming and Easter stand for people’s love and praise for life. 

“How do you celebrate Easter?”

“We eat chocolate eggs,” and every kid would answer “Stay with my family”. 

“What do we do on Qingming festival?” I asked after the videos and PPT presentations.

“On Qingming, the whole family would go to sweep their ancestors’ tombs”,“People decorate the tombs with twigs”, “Commemorate the ancestors”, “Go for spring outings”, “Flying kites”…

Therefore, both Qingming and Easter is a day for family reunion. 

But there are significant differences between Qingming and Easter. Basically, Qingming is a festival commemorating and offering sacrifices to the ancestors while Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. Chinese festivals are always related with people while most of the western festivals are closely linked with Jesus Christ. These are also the differences between the Chinese culture concerning human feelings and western religious belief in God. 

After understanding the differences and similarities between Qingming and Easter, the students made beautiful posters comparing the two festivals and therefore they knew more about the Chinese culture.

Source: http://english.hanban.org/article/2014-06/16/content_541316.htm

Adult Challenge Class – Global Certificate in 10 Weeks

Learning Chinese to obtaining a certificate has gradually gained popularity among school students since ThinkChinese started to offer proficiency courses in 2016. For adults, studying outside work adds pressure; the time spent on learning and revision before a certificate can be contemplated have put many off from trying. To address this issue, ThinkChinese came up with a solution!

Earlier this year, we re-introduced the HSK Level 1 course in a different format. The new course is taught for 1.5 hours each week and takes just 10 weeks to complete. Six students raised to the challenge. Their course is due to complete before the end of March with an assessment shortly after.

Whilst the new course has extended the learning hours by 30 minutes each week, it has shortened the total learning hours. The revision and homework will therefore increase. Generally speaking, it takes 18-20 hours in about 5 months to complete the HSK Level 1, if taught by ThinkChinese. Courses offered by other providers may take longer depending on the motivation of the students and the experience of the teachers.

HSK courses is series of courses authorised by Hanban UK, the Chinese proficiency exam board funded by the Chinese government. Hanban has committed to promote the Chinese culture and language overseas since early 2000. ThinkChinese is proud to be linked with Hanban since 2016. At the end of each level, students can choose to sit an assessment to obtain a certificate. The certificate is globally recognised. Levels beyond 3 (6 levels in total) can be used for the application of Chinese universities. Through ThinkChinese’s teaching, so far over 100 students have sat the HSK assessments in Jersey and all achieved excellent results!

Our new Adult Challenge Course starting after Easter Holiday is now recruiting. Please contact info@thinkchinese to enrol or for detailed information.

2018 Eisteddfod Chinese Poem Competition

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The Mandarin section of the 2018 Jersey Eisteddfod Autumn festival was held on 29th November. This year, eight of our students entered into the competition from primary and secondary school level. The quality of knowledge and performance in the Eisteddfod this year has been exceptional and this truly reflects how hard the students have been working both in class and in the preparation leading up to the competition.

This year’s winner from the primary class, receiving a platinum award, was Tayla Davis from Les Landes Primary School. Tayla has been studying with ThinkChinese over the past two years and sat her YCT2 exam shortly before the competition. Winner from the secondary class was Isabel from JCG. She was once again awarded platinum for her performance this year, making it her third Eisteddfod win. Isabel started secondary school in September this year, after having been learning Chinese for the last three years. Over that time, Isabel sat YCT Level 1 and 2, and YCT speaking assessments. She obtained great results for all the assessments.

It is also worth mentioning our youngest candidate, Harry Catterson, a gold award winner in the Primary School class category. At the age of six, Harry has already been learning Chinese for over a year. The adjudicators decided to award him with trophy for his wonderful performance.

 Our two adjudicators this year were Eliza Grantham and Donald Brown. Eliza studied translating and interpreting at Bath University and currently works as a professional translator. Donald is the former principal of St Brelade’s College and has been learning Chinese for a number of years. Both Donald and Eliza have been very supportive of our language school and are passionate about promoting the Chinese language and culture in the Island.

In closing the Eisteddfod, Eliza commented on how fluent the students sounded in their pronunciations and their tones. She praised all students on performing their pieces with both personality and sophistication.

Whilst looking forward to having more students involved in the competition next year, we will continue to invite industry professionals to be our adjudicators. They are well placed to share comments on our candidates’ performance and insights about learning Chinese across the UK. Our students will benefit from it and feel even more inspired to continue their learning.

 

 

Our Start Student – Olivia Ramsay

IMG_1717Miss Olivia Ramsay started to learn Mandarin with ThinkChinese after having learnt the basics from a different teacher. After three months of tuition, she sat HSK Level 1 assessment, which has made her become one of the first students who sat HSK in Jersey. She achieved an overall 92%! Following that success, Olivia carried on her Chinese learning in the form of HSK2 and GCSE. She sat HSK2 a year later and obtained 96%!

Olivia plays an active role in promoting Chinese study in Jersey. Upon our invitation, she joint ThinkChinese for our Half Term High Jinks in 2017 and taught Chinese to a group of 9 primary school students at beginner level.

Olivia is also actively involved in her school events, which involves promoting Chinese study and JCG to schools in China. During the Shanghai No. 3 school’s visit to JCG in 2017, Olivia presented information about Jersey and JCG to the delegation during a reception event. The entire presentation was given in Chinese! She traveled to China twice in 2014 and 2017 to put her Chinese to test. The latter trip was with her school.

In August, we were delighted to learn that Olivia was accepted by Edinburgh University. To enable herself to appreciate the Chinese culture and learn the language in depth, Oliva has decided to pursue Chinese as her major!

We gave our best wishes to her new learning journey. We wish Olivia will enjoy her study and we look forward to meet and chat with her again soon – of course we will chat in CHINESE!

From 5 Stars to Millions of Stars

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Mr. Rudi Goritschnig, a 78-year-old gentleman came to our office one day. He explained he found us through the Summer School article published in JEP. He expressed his interest in learning Chinese with us via private lessons. With glares in his eyes, he continued:

“Look, I’ve been to many places. Here is my book recording some of the most unforgettable experience on board. I would love to know if you can translate it into Chinese”.

“Certainly, we can!” I replied.

I’ve been reading Rudi’s book since that conversation. ‘…More than 25 years ago, Rudi and his wife Sonja left home, work, family and friends to join an overland expedition to Kathmandu. That journey was just the start of an adventure that would convey them around the across the world, from Alaska to Australia, China to Cameroon, France to French Polynesia and from Mexico to Mali…’

As Rudi explained, it is a book which records exotic and extraordinary cultures, peoples, and resorts from more than 50 countries, it is also a memoir of beautiful memories between Rudi and his wife on the way over nearly six years. But more than that, it is an inspiration to encourage people to pursue their dreams and hopes that they may never do otherwise. He dedicated this book to his beloved wife Sonja who unfortunately passed away in 2016. But this did not stop Rudi, he is still on the road, and will keep going……

 

Read first Chapter

 

Great results for HSK and YCT exams

The result for HSK and YCT assessments taken in November 2017 has just been released. Further to our previous success, 10 HSK candidates passed their levels with an average of over 80%! Two HSK 1 candidates from Jersey College for Girls scored 200 full marks; two candidates renewed the HSK2 record we kept last year, both of whom scored 198/200!

The result for YCT assessment is also inspiring. Eight young candidates from Victoria College Preparatory School and Les Landes School Jersey all passed their exams with an average of over 80%! A number of students achieved over 190 out of 200.

The results are testimonies of our students’ hard work and our teachers’ dedication. Looking into the new year, we are excited to take more students through adventurous linguistic journeys. We look forward to another great year in teaching.

Learn more about HSK and lessons available

Learn more about YCT and lessons available

New Courses in September 2020

🚩Mandarin Challenge (HSK Level 1)

Are you someone who likes a challenge? Are you looking to try something different in the New Year? Study Mandarin and complete the HSK Level 1 in just 15 hours! This challenge is for adults who can commit to 1½ hour lessons for 10 consecutive weeks. The qualification exam is optional.

Start date:  September 2020 (TBC)

Lesson time: TBC

Venue: ThinkChinese Office

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🚩YCT Level 1

YCT is a series of Mandarin qualification courses for primary school children. It is the only globally recognized Mandarin qualification at primary school level. YCT consists of four levels. No pre-knowledge is required for Level 1. Topics in Level 1 include personal information, dates and time, food and drink, and names of places. All lessons are taught through conversations, games and mini stories. The context is fun and is infused with knowledge of the Chinese culture. 

Lesson time: Monday 3:10-4:10pm  

Venue: Victoria Prep School

🚩 fun club at Helvetia and JCP

Our fun club is committed on cultivating young students’ interest in the Chinese language and culture through activities, songs, Chinese stories, etc. No pre-knowledge is required for this opportunity. The lunchtime club focuses on the application of the language, which allows the Friday club students to put their knowledge into practice. Contents outside the YCT course book will also be introduced. It enhances the students’ language exposure and prompts them to learn more.

China Visa

General Documents Preparation

  1. Passport
    • Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity, 2 blank visa pages against to each other, a photocopy of the passport’s information page. If the applicant has been to China before, please provide a photocopy of the visa page.
  2.  Visa Application Form (CHINESE VISA APPLICATION FORM)
    • Signature for the last page in application form needs to sign in person and same as passport signature.
    • If you have had nationality(ies) other than the current, you need to submit a statement which explains that you abandoned your previous nationality. 
    • Non-EU applicant should prepare original leave to remain in the UK document (BRP card or any permit visa page) as a proof of stay in the UK. It should be at least six months of remaining validity.
  3. Photo requirement

Photo requirement

Supporting Documents for Family Visit and Tourism

  1. Proof of travel (eg: flight tickets), hotel reservation and invitation letter. Invitation letter must include the following details:
    • Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, passport number).
    • Information on the planned visit (arrival and departure dates, places to be visited with address, financial support).
    • Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, the signature of the legal representative, print name, the inviting individual 1 photocopy of the front side and back side of Chinese ID card).
    • If the inviting party is not Chinese, you need to provide a photocopy of passport information page (the one with picture and signature) and a photocopy of working visa or any long-term permit visa page. The signature in the invitation letter should be the same as passport signature.
    • If the applicant and the inviting party are both Chinese, the invitation needs to be written in Mandarin Chinese.
  2. Applicant who wants to apply for double entries is required to provide invitation letter, hotel reservations, and flight bookings. The above documents should confirm both trips. The second entry should be within 3 months after the first entry).

Supporting Documents for Business and Non-business Visit

Non-business visit involves business event, the most common form of which is participating business conference. 

  1. Invitation letter
    • Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, passport number).
    • Information on the planned visit ( the purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, the address of place(s) to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures, i.e. who will pay for the business trip).
    • Information on the inviting entity or individual (full name, telephone number, address, official stamp, i.e. red round stamp, the signature of the legal representative and print name, inviting individual’s job title/position).

Supporting Documents for Work Visa

  1. Following documents for those who plan to stay for more than 90 days after entry:
    • Foreigners Employment Permit of the People’s Republic of China, both original and copy, or Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit in the People’s Republic of China issued by the Chinese government authorities for Human Resources and Social Security.
    • Permit for Foreign Experts Working in China issued by the State Bureau of Foreign Experts, both original and copy.
    • Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of enterprises of foreign countries (regions) issued by Chinese authorities of industrial and commercial administration.
    • An approval document for commercial performances issued by the Chinese government authorities for Cultural Affairs, both original and copy.
    • Letter of Invitation to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations in China issued by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, both original and copy.

We would also like to bring the following to your attention:

Holders of Z Category Visa which allows more than 30 days shall, within 30 days from the date of their entry, apply to the exit/entry administrations of public security organizations under local people’s governments at or above the county level in the proposed places of residence for foreigners’ residence permits.

  1. One of the following documents for those who shall stay no more than 90 days after entry:
    • Foreigners Employment Permit of the People’s Republic of China and Approval of Short-Term Employment For Foreigners Working in China issued by Chinese government authorities for Human Resources and Social Security, both original and copy.
    • An approval document for commercial performances and Approval of Short-Term Employment For Foreigners Working in China issued by the Chinese government authorities for cultural affairs, both original and copy.

Supporting Documents for Study Visa

We would also like to bring the following to your attention:

Holders of X1 Visa shall, within 30 days from the date of their entry, apply to the exit/entry administrations of public security organizations under local people’s governments at or above the county level in the proposed places of residence for foreigners’ residence permits.

  • X2-Visa – study for less than six months
    • Original and photocopy of Admission Notice/letter issued by a school or other entities in China.

Visa Application Fee

For UK/Jersey Channel Island Citizens: 

  • £235 per person (5 working days / including Embassy charge, service charge, and VAT) 
  • £275 per person (3 working days / including Embassy charge, service charge, and VAT) 
  • £16 postage is required to be paid on top of either of the above payment

For Non-UK or Jersey applicants, please call our office to inquire the fee details. 

Excellent result in HSK 3

unnamed-1The hot Jersey summer has once again put us under the spotlight…

Results released by Hanban last week revealed that our student Miss Louise Stewart Scott has achieved a fantastic result in her HSK3 assessment. Louise scored 298 out of 300! This news came hot on the heels of the success of our first summer school and the confirmation that ThinkChinese will provide Chinese lessons in school time at VCP and JCG from September. These achievements consolidate our recent progress and re-affirm our teaching pedagogy for the HSK courses.

Louise started her Chinese learning with us over two years ago. It all started with a club in JCG, where she quickly acquired the tones, strokes, and basic sentence structures. Louise has been drawn to this beautiful language since then. Not long after, she started to pursue her study among small teaching groups, and further through private tuition. Over the past two years, she achieved remarkable results in her HSK1, HSK2 and very recently in HSK3. Louise was also the 2016 winner of the Eisteddfod Modern Language Competition, Chinese section – secondary school class. As Mrs Gao Xin, the TCFL* programme leader in Nottingham University commented:

“Such rapid yet solid progress has no doubt put Miss Scott among the advanced learners group alongside many in the UK who study a foreign language, especially one that belongs to the Afro-Asiatic system.”

As the first student in Jersey to pass HSK3, we are proud that Louise has been taught by ThinkChinese from the outset. We are delighted at this excellent outcome. She owes her achievement to consistent hard work and dedication and the quality of instruction of our staff members. Louise has been accepted by the advanced Chinese class in her new school in America. We give all our best wishes to Louise and her future study. It is hoped that more students taught by ThinkChinese will be able to take assessments at higher levels in the near future as their learning progresses.

*TCFL: Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language