Chinese calligraphy and conversation clubs keep language learners’ skills alive
8 September 2021
Interested in the ancient art of calligraphy? How about practising your Mandarin skills with native speakers and other learners?
This summer, the Cardiff Confucius Institute ran two clubs aiming to support language learners over the summer months: a Chinese calligraphy club for anyone wanting to learn how to write Chinese characters as an art form, and a conversation club for those wishing to keep up their spoken Mandarin skills.
The Chinese Calligraphy Club is a collaborative project organised by Cardiff Confucius Institute and the Cardiff Hubs and Libraries. Participants have joined in the past for a range of reasons including to gain an appreciation of Chinese culture, for creative purposes and even as a form of mindfulness.
In 2021, the club moved online and the interactive sessions were held over four Saturdays in June and July. They were led by Xiaonan Zhao, a student volunteer from the Cardiff Business School, and the 17 participants included university students and staff, as well as members of the local community.
Over August, adult learners also had the opportunity to practise their language skills in an informal setting via the Mandarin Conversation Club. The weekly hour-long sessions, held via Zoom, allowed participants to practise what they had learned in the classroom with both native speakers and other learners through conversation and games. Not only was it a chance to discover more about China and Chinese, but an opportunity to increase confidence and have fun.
Participant Kim Bosher, a schoolteacher based in Cardiff, said: “I really liked that the conversation club had people of all ages and abilities coming together. Location didn't matter, and all people needed was an interest in improving and meeting others with the same goal. Everyone was also really friendly and supportive - even if you did use the wrong tones!”
Both clubs will continue in the Autumn on the following dates:
- Calligraphy club – Saturdays 11am to 12.30pm, starting on 2 October 2021
- Conversation club – Wednesdays from 7pm, start date in October to be confirmed