Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world and South West College is the only Further Education College in Northern Ireland that offers the unique opportunity to study it. A recent British Council report entitled ‘Languages for the Future’ identified Mandarin as a vital language for the UK in the next twenty years, citing the increasing influence China has on the world economy and stating that young people should prepare for life and work in a globalised, multicultural society.
At South West College, Mandarin Chinese language and culture classes are available both on and off campus, delivered by enthusiastic and dedicated Mandarin Chinese tutors who are assigned to teach in the South West College Confucius Hub and in partner schools. The Hub has been successfully delivering Mandarin Chinese classes since 2013 with enrolments exceeding 20,000, as well as notable successes and awards including “Highly Commended” at the Beacon Award by the Association of Colleges.
South West College Confucius Hub delivers Mandarin Chinese Language & Culture classes to Primary and Post Primary Schools in Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh. Language learning for young children can heighten cultural understanding and the broadening of horizons, but in the past schools have stated a lack of funding, teaching expertise, resources and external support as the main reason for not teaching languages in schools. Now, the South West College Confucius Hub removes these barriers by providing schools with free tuition, a dedicated tutor, resources and external support and management.
Similarly, all South West College full-time students have the chance to learn Mandarin Chinese. This improves a student’s future employability, with Mandarin seen as an invaluable asset in todays’ competitive and worldwide market place.
In today’s increasingly global market South West College identified the need to develop an online Mandarin Chinese course, to develop basic communication skills for collaboration with Chinese businesses. The Business Chinese Test (BCT) is accredited by Hanban, China and is delivered online, with tutorial support from South West College Confucius Hub tutors.
One local student who has benefited from the Mandarin courses on offer is Cathal Deehan. Cathal said: “I first studied Chinese when I was at university in London and several years later, when I returned to Omagh, I realised South West College was offering Mandarin Chinese. It both surprised and impressed me that this was available in Omagh, and it definitely rekindled my curiosity.
“After successfully completing HSK1, I decided to go further and progressed to HSK3 where I was in a class on my own, which really highlighted the commitment South West College have to Mandarin and the benefit of their relationship with the Confucius Institute. It is a great feeling of support when you realise a course is carrying on for your benefit. Initially I studied out of interest, but now the idea of living and working in China feels possible, and there’s certainly an appeal to it and the idea of living and working there for six months or a year is something I’ll definitely be looking into in the future.”
Like everyone, Cathal’s studies were interrupted in the last year, but he says he was grateful to have been able to study any way possible. He said, “I kept studying virtually. Again, I think this shows the commitment South West College have had to Confucius studies, which I’ve certainly been a beneficiary of. I am very happy to have been doing online classes”.
To start, or continue your Mandarin Chinese journey at South West College please contact: Linda Beatty (email@example.com or 028 8225 5220) for further information.