The Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning in Ireland (TCML) was established on February 27, 2022. The second term included a 12-week course that started on September 23. On December 16, an end-of-term student presentation was held at The Vintage Teapot in Dublin.
Hsu Hsiao Ping, the Chairperson of the Board of Management, along with members of the Board, teachers from Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese, and Taiwanese expatriates in Ireland were invited to the event to celebrate the achievements of the students. The closing ceremony was presided over by Ms. Evan Furlong, the Director of the Center. Ms. Furlong specifically gave thanks to the Overseas Community Affairs Council for its encouragement and support of the TCML throughout its first year, “be it funding for various events, teacher training sessions at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), and the 2022 European TCML Conference in London UK,” she explained. “The three-day conference between December 7th and 9th in London afforded us the opportunity to exchange ideas with Mandarin language educators from all over Europe, which is a rare occasion! In the coldest week in the UK, we learned from each other and I felt the warmth from the bottom of my heart!”.
It was a great honor to invite Dr. Elizabeth Lin, a guest lecturer on cross cultural communication at Trinity Business School to the graduation ceremony. Dr. Lin is also a professional translator/interpreter and copy-editor as well as research analyst. She issued a certificate of completion to each student. “I am delighted to take part in the TCML’s end-of-term celebration,” she remarked. “I am thrilled to see a rising interest in the language and culture of Taiwan in Ireland. And I look forward to more engagement between the two (or more!) communities, enriching one another’s cultures”.
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is the best description of the student body at the Center this term. Among them are a movie soundtrack composer, a secondary school deputy principal, and doctors. Regardless of the level of language proficiency – some were beginners while a few had more experience with the language – all students showed unrivaled enthusiasm. The Center provided a three-hour course each week, which was broken into two hours of in-person lectures and one hour of cultural immersion, the latter of which included making Taiwanese bread, guabao, Taiwanese tea, etc. The cultural immersion program has proven to be immensely popular with the students. In addition, a one-hour online program was provided for students who participated remotely, where lectures were tailored to each individual student depending on their progress in the program.
Students’ feedback include: I had a great time in this course with the teachers Evan and SyuePing. I learned so much and loved the cultural classes! Every class was different and interesting, and I enjoyed it a lot. I can’t wait to come back next term!; Makes me feel like long term Chinese learning is an achievable aim. Warm and friendly atmosphere, encouraging teachers with imaginative teaching resources and lots of memory tricks, consistent opportunity in class to participate individually and interact at your own level of ability and confidence. This term has made me hungry to challenge myself learning new characters more than past learning experiences and retention of new words has been far more successful!; Nice environment to study in, very interactive!; I have enjoyed my Mandarin classes with TCMLI. The classes are enjoyable, and I particularly like the interactions between the students and the teachers. We have also been doing some cultural activities that were very interesting.
The students put on a presentation to showcase their achievements at the graduation ceremony. Some students sang the popular Chinese ballad “Intimate Lover”, while others made an in-depth introduction of themselves, incorporating songs into it. To finish off the term, all present at the ceremony enjoyed a Chinese buffet and lively chats before closing.