Oversee Students on Campus
english > International Exchange > Oversee Students on Campus

Student's Reflection

Published: 2019-12-25


Studying at Beijing Normal University has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The course has been different to what I ever would have expected when choosing a language degree, and covers such a wide variety of topics that cover learning the language and the culture of China. These topics have ranged from Ancient Chinese History to Internet Culture in China. The course also provides an advantage for those interested in the rise China’s political and economical power, and current events are often discussed in several of the modules. Personally, my favourite cultural module was ‘China and the West from Trans-culture Perspectives’ where we learned about the culture of China through analysing ancient literature, plays and recent Chinese movies among others.

The teaching and faculty have always proved to be welcoming and asking questions is always encouraged. When studying Mandarin at Beijing Normal, the studying environment and consumption of new characters is intense, but the results of progress speak for themselves. It is also important to remember that we are in Beijing to learn Chinese in the best way possible, which we do not only in the classroom but also through daily life. The teachers encourage us to enjoy ourselves and immerse ourselves in the culture as much as possible and I can personally say I think this is what has helped my confidence and ability in Chinese the most. BNU has also very kindly organised and financially supported cultural activities for us, including a weekend trip to Xi’An. The International Student’s Office also arranges free trips to the Great Wall, so there are plenty of opportunities to travel and explore China.


EVANS, MIRANDA (2017/18 entry)

北京师范大学-卡迪夫大学中文学院 17级学生 李慧欣



I've really been enjoying the BNU course so far; all the staff have been very welcoming and supportive which has helped us settle in and become accustomed to life in Beijing extremely quickly. The courses have been very engaging with teaching styles ranging from practising how to answer exam questions to lively class debates and conversations held in both Chinese and English. Across the modules we have learned a wide range of vocab that I now use in day to day conversations while going out and exploring life outside of campus. The teachers have not only dedicated their time to help us academically but have also provided amazing opportunities for us to experience, learn about and appreciate Chinese culture and history first hand. They've taken our entire course on two trips so far, the first to Gubei water town and the Great wall and the second for a weekend to Xi'an. It was incredible to see the terracotta army first hand and have an in depth explanation of the history. 

I can't wait for the rest of the trips that will be happening this year.



北京师范大学-卡迪夫大学中文学院 18级学生 夏爱玲



For me personally the teachers at BNU have been very supportive. When I was feeling homesick and having some issues back home, the BNU teachers were there to listen and help me both on WeChat and face to face. (This was also the case for teachers in Cardiff). The teachers gave me advice and told me to not feel under any pressure during lessons until I felt a better.


History- lessons are super fun, engaging and informative. The teacher also started the course asking us what we wanted to do, this was nice to be able to have an input into the format of the module. He is interested in moulding the lessons around what we already know and expanding that knowledge. Although wider reading has been encouraged it would  be useful for it to be implemented. Perhaps the teacher could take some sections from the books he suggested at the start of term and set those to read. Could also be useful to be set some research tasks for homework each week. In terms of assessment I like that he has given us the freedom to explore any topic that we personally find interesting.


Listening- lessons have some good content since they cover some useful scenarios e.g. going to the bank. However, I find this module the hardest because of the quality of the CD, the background noise makes it hard to hear the people clearly and the pace of dialogue is very fast. The teacher makes the lessons interactive by asking questions. It would be good if we got set some other work rather just previewing the next lesson. It would also be useful if we could access the CD tapes in our own time to go over previous lessons.


Reading- one of the most interactive lessons of the week, I find reading lessons very enjoyable and I also like starting the lessons by talking about our weekend. I really like how the teacher incorporates everything we are learning and applying it to everyday life. I also personally think we should continue to do dictations each week because I think all our writing skills could improve, the dictations also help with memorising characters. The textbook for this module is a little bit challenging but it is about the right level for my Chinese ability. The only criticism I have is perhaps it would be nice to translate Chinese texts in class and not just in our own time just so the teacher can try and improve our reading/translating ability.


Speaking- these lessons are always lots of fun and the teacher is great at teaching us about more than the just content of the textbook. The general format of the lesson like working in pairs to role play different situations is a great way to practice our speaking and pronunciation. Also, the idea of presenting a topic of our choice in Chinese for 3 minutes is good way for the teacher to grasp everyone’s level of Chinese and suggest improvements. Despite this the general level of the textbook is far to basic for the level of my Chinese (and everyone else in the class). This makes it difficult to improve my Chinese level and expand our vocabulary because all the vocabulary we are learning is a recap of what we already learnt last year.


Chinese vs Western culture – the teaching is good in this lesson because the teacher has a good understanding of the topic and her level of English is proficient enough for her to be able to explain the topic at depth. Although this module is very interesting,  I was surprised at first to realise that this module is completely about Chinese philosophy and not about Chinese and western culture- we have explored Chinese philosophy but have not compared this to any western philosophy. Perhaps we could be set homework to try and compare what we have learnt about Chinese philosophy and compare it to western philosophy. What we have been learning is quite difficult- for example unravelling Confucius analects but it is doable. In terms of assessment we have been given the freedom to explore topics, but we were not given an outline of what was expected of us. This made it very difficult to understand what the teacher was looking for in our presentations. 


Media- this topic is very interesting, and it gives a good insight into modern china which we do not learn in other modules. The teacher is great at giving everyone in class the opportunity to express their own views and opinions on the content we cover. It is also interesting to hear my course mates opinions as well as the Chinese students who are also in the class. I also like that we are given an essay topic for our mid-term assessment which we can go and research about. I do however think the module could do with some more variation- for example looking at other resources other than videos since media can also include newspapers etc. It would also be good to be given a topic/ media story and asked to research it for homework and then give feedback about what everyone found out during class.


Writing- this module has helped me start to improve my writing ability and concentrate more on my stroke order. At first this module was extremely hard to follow because it was all in Chinese but after feedback the teacher adjusted things and it is now easier to follow. I enjoy practicing characters during class, and we are learning lots of new words in doing so. Our assessment topic about the mid- autumn festival was very interesting to research. I would really like us to be set homework to write about a topic in Chinese because we haven’t practiced that since arriving at BNU.


Pronounciation- I find this module very beneficial because I think it is important to pronounce tones correctly. I especially think the TA is very good in this module and always gives us constructive criticism on our speaking homework. I think this module is at the correct level for my Chinese ability. I like how we do dictations each week as this helps with my listening ability. It could be useful to have a textbook for this lesson which teaches key concept, for example how two third tones change when you pronounce them etc.


I think I’ve improved my speaking ability in everyday situations, for example order food in restaurants and this has given me more confidence. I’m now looking to improve my listening ability.



北京师范大学-卡迪夫大学中文学院 18级学生 何莹莹



I chose to study Chinese because I am fascinated by Chinese calligraphy. The fact that the language itself is a visual art interested me so much that I wanted to learn more. China is known to be a rapidly developing country, and to learn how its culture and society is impacted by this is so interesting. Chinese culture and language have such a long and enthralling history that learning them never gets dull. The thing I have enjoyed learning the most is the Chinese characters. Although it is one of the hardest things to learn as well (there’s just so many of them!), it feels so rewarding when I am able to recognise the characters and understand more of the various Chinese texts.


ZIAJOR, AGNIESZKA (2018/19 entry)

北京师范大学-卡迪夫大学中文学院 18级学生 赵茹雪



Why did you choose to study Chinese?

It is a door to many new career opportunities given the importance of China in modern society, and the fact it's widely spoken. Chinese gives me an edge when competing for jobs. China has a rich culture and history, which makes it fascinating to learn about in-depth. It’s very different to European languages.


What have you enjoyed about studying it?

Gaining confidence in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Being able to look back at how much progress I've made since starting as a complete beginner. The variety of content in modules, learning history, watching and analysing historical and contemporary films.


What do you like about the School of Modern Languages and why?

The chance to meet language partners and do the Languages for All programme. It gives me the opportunity to have conversations with native speakers and improves my confidence. The School holds a variety of events and lectures, for example an event was held about being a freelancer, which helps me gain a broader understanding of what I could do with my degree.


What has been your favourite memory of your time at University?

How quickly friendships have formed between classmates and lecturers, especially through course meals and general jokes.


What would you like to do after leaving university?

Not limited to one thing, I’m interested in translating, working in law, as a teacher or for the Chinese embassy.


MCKUE, KELSEY ANN (2018/19 entry)

北京师范大学-卡迪夫大学中文学院 18级学生 顾可欣

Copyright © 2019 School of Chinese Language and Literature Beijing Normal University