What better place to study Chinese literature than in China?
This winter, 21 English and Cultural Studies students travelled to Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) to immerse themselves in Chinese culture.
Over 12 days, students learnt from top Chinese lecturers, visited attractions such as the Great Wall of China, museums and galleries, and studied contemporary Chinese literature (translated into English).
Having recently returned from the study trip, Dr Hughes-d’Aeth says the unit allowed students to gain a deeper understanding of Chinese society and culture.
“Visiting the Great Wall was a highlight, and the food was also amazing. But I think my favourite part of the trip were the classes themselves where the students and the BFSU lecturers asked critical questions about China’s tumultuous passage from feudal empire to global economic powerhouse in less than a century,” Dr Hughes-d’Aeth explains.
“Literature became a bridge for us between our experience and the experience documented in the literary works we studied.
“This unit is a really unique opportunity to spend time in one of China’s top universities and learn about the significant events in Chinese culture through studying literature. For many students, this was their first direct experience of China.
“I was surprised at how well the students adapted to the experience. I was also very touched to see the ways that the group bonded during the two weeks. There was a genuine feeling of community and everyone looked out for each other.”
While a sign of China’s continued importance in the region, the unit also reflects Dr Hughes-d’Aeth’s personal interest in Chinese literature. While teaching a Global Literatures unit in 2016, Dr Hughes-d’Aeth became interested in Chinese literature. The result was a collaboration with Professor Xianlin Song, Director of the Confucius Institute, which led to the creation of Writing China in Country.
“Both Professor Song and I, and our BFSU partners, are very keen to run this unit again next year and with luck for several years to come. We want to continue to grow and expand the relationship between the two universities, and we want to continue to offer UWA students meaningful in-country experiences,” Dr Hughes-d’Aeth says.
Learn more about Writing China in Country here.
Verity Chia (Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education) (+61 8) 6488 1346