China is one of the world’s oldest civilisations and is, in the 21st century, the most heavily populated nation in the world, with over 1.3 billion people. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world. For the last few years, China has been Aotearoa New Zealand's fastest growing market for international visitors.
By developing competency in the Chinese language, students will gain insight and access to Chinese culture. Understanding the society and culture of this historic yet modern nation is becoming increasingly important as China overtakes more traditional western nations in terms of economic power, cultural relevance, and international influence.
- The Chinese programme at UC provides a wide range of courses in both the language and the studies of Chinese literature, thought, tradition, culture, and society. It is backed by a team of staff specialising in language, literature, philosophy, film, and culture.
- The Chinese language courses at UC aim to develop language competence in modern standard Chinese in both its spoken and written forms.
- The Confucius Institute at UC is part of the global CI network jointly established by Hanban (Beijing), University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (Ōtautahi Christchurch), and Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Wuhan). It was the first such institute in Te Waipounamu the South Island.
No previous knowledge of the Chinese language is required to study this subject at UC.
Students who have some ability in the language should contact the Subject Coordinator for advice on the most appropriate course of study. Direct entry into language classes other than CHIN 151 is through a placement test and/or discussion with the Subject Coordinator.
- CHIN 151 Chinese Language 1-A is a first semester course and the entry point for absolute beginners or students with very little previous knowledge of the Chinese language.
- CHIN 152 Chinese Language 1-B runs in the second semester and is for students who have already studied the equivalent of CHIN 151. Direct entry is through a placement test.
- CHIN 155 Understanding China is taught in English and provides a basic understanding of China and Chinese culture. This course is required for a major in Chinese.
200-level and beyond
In the second and third years, Chinese language courses provide additional grounding in the vocabulary and grammar of Chinese and further develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Chinese.
Teaching covers topics on Chinese culture, cinema, history, and social life, so that at the same time as your vocabulary increases, you also gain an understanding of Chinese culture and people.
The Chinese programme offers students the opportunity to study in China in their second and third year. Students in this summer course will take Chinese language and cultural lessons at a Chinese university.
Learning about influential languages and cultures is advantageous for many careers around the world as graduates are increasingly required to be culturally competent, globally aware, and ready to work internationally.
Career opportunities for graduates in Chinese include teaching Chinese in Aotearoa New Zealand schools, working in international trade, in tourism and related industries, for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade | Manaū Aorere, and other government departments.
Recent UC graduates have become interpreters/translators, TESOL teachers, import/export brokers, secondary school teachers, policy analysts, tourism marketing officers, and travel agents. Others have gone on to professions such as law, accounting, engineering, and business in Aoteaoa New Zealand, China, and other Asian countries.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Chinese.
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