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More than 1,500 secondary school students from 62 schools in the UK participated in an online experience of Chinese culture


7 July, the 2023 Chinese Bridge “Mandarin Excellence Program" in the United Kingdom (UK) was successfully held through an organized virtual format. Over 2,000 students and teachers from 62 participating schools in the UK, along with 15 hosting universities in China, including ECNU, took part in this online summer camp for five consecutive days.

The “Mandarin Excellence Program” event is initiated and financially supported by the British government, co-hosted by the British Council and University College London, with the support of the Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC) under the Ministry of Education of China. This program aims to promote daily Mandarin-Chinese teaching and summer camp activities in China. Over the past seven years, approximately10,000 students from 79 secondary schools in the UK have participated in this program.

The Online Summer Camp of 2023 Chinese Bridge “Mandarin Excellence Program” in the UK was convened as scheduled

The team of the Institute of Global Chinese Language Teacher Education (IOGCLTE) at ECNU


ECNU collaborated with four British schools, namely Christopher Whitehead Language College, Colyton Grammar School, Lister Community School, and Queen Mary’s Grammar School to conduct online exchanges from July 3rd to July 7th this year. The program revolved around three main themes: Pandas and Zoo , Campus Life, and History and Cultural Heritage. In the course, profound mandarin teaching and cultural experience activities have been carried out for British students in diverse forms including live lectures, virtual tours, and experiences in traditional folklore and customs.

The Institute of Global Chinese Language Teacher Education (IOGCLTE) at ECNU started preparations ahead of time  for the events to ensure the smooth progress of this program. They established a professional working team comprising experienced lecturers and assistants, who refined their teaching details during each planning and teaching session. In addition, the Mandarin-Chinese practice-partners were all meticulously selected and underwent rigorous training to ensure the quality of oral practice and interactions during the online summer camp.

Professional photography production and technical support teams were brought in to ensure the security and stability of diverse large-scale live streaming events. The entire project team, by leveraging the abundant cultural resources of Shanghai, has created a high-quality “virtual classroom” and presented British secondary school students engaged in this program with an exceptional experience of Mandarin-Chinese language and culture.

Live broadcast of Q&A interactions with online students at Yu Garden live-broadcasting room

Q&A interactions with online students at infield live-broadcasting room

On the evening of July 4th, ECNU conducted a large-scale live streaming event called Exploring the City Series——Shanghai for over 1,500 secondary school students from 62 participating schools in the UK.

The live-streaming event was held under the theme of “Reasons to Live in Shanghai”, showcasing the city’s cultural heritage and fashionable charms from three aspects: the fashionability of Shanghai, the convenience of daily life, and the continuation of traditional Chinese culture. The classes consisted of on-site live broadcasts and infield live broadcasts. For the former, the students toured around Yu Garden, Anfu Road, and the Bund virtually. This allowed them to experience the distinct characteristics of these three landmarks. For the latter, interactions have been conducted with online students in the form of Q&A, all offering the British students with a comprehensive understanding of Shanghai's urban landscape in a multi-dimensional and multi-perspective manner.

The students are learning the traditional Chinese greeting, also known as the Chinese fist-palm salute.

The students are practicing the basic movements of Chinese martial arts, also known as Kung Fu.

In the cultural activity classes, sophisticated cultural knowledge was simplified to create an enjoyable learning experience, with the goal of immersing the students in the beauty of traditional Chinese culture. In the “Chinese Martial Arts” classes, the students learned the basics of Chinese first-palm salute and Tai Chi, following instructional videos to actively engage in physical movements, practice the fundamental actions of Chinese martial arts, and experience the charm of Chinese martial arts through the camera lens. In the cultural customs classes, the students felt the interest of learning Chinese through hands-on activities such as making panda dolls and learning to sing Chinese songs etc. so as to foster their deeper curiosity for Chinese culture.

Through this summer camp, British students had the opportunity to explore Chinese cities through online activities. They were also able to experience the historical charms of Beijing and Xi'an, as well as the unique allure of Shanghai from a near distance.

Additionally, they were surprised to have a "close encounter" with giant pandas, who were developing a strong interest and unique connection with them. These interactions and exchanges with their teachers, teaching assistants, and Mandarin-Chinese practice-partners enabled them to gain valuable insights about China and deepen their understandings on cultural exchange.  

Works of Summer Camp Students

A “Letter of Appreciation” written by Laura from Christopher Whitehead Language College

Laura from Christopher Whitehead Language College said, “I really enjoyed making pandas out of paper, it was so much fun! All the classes were really enjoyable. I still remember on the first day when we were dancing, I was genuinely happy! Thank you so much for providing us with these fun, enriching, and creative classes!"


A “Letter of Appreciation” written by Lina from Colyton Grammar School

A “Letter of Appreciation” written by Amja from Queen Mary's Grammar School

In the letter written to ECNU by Amjad from Queen Mary's Grammar School, he wrote: “I really enjoyed practicing calligraphy, and I also liked learning Tai Chi and about the Mid-Autumn Festival. Next autumn, I want to eat mooncakes with my family. I particularly love the Oriental Pearl Tower and Nanjing Road in Shanghai, and I’m looking forward to being able to visit you all in China one day in the future."

The British high school students who participated in this online summer camp have developed a strong interest in Chinese traditional culture through the vibrant and colorful Mandarin-Chinese courses and cultural activities. They’re looking forward to transitioning from the Mandarin-Chinese learners to the ambassadors of disseminating Chinese traditional culture to others from all over the world.

Copy editor: Melody Zhang,  Mayfield Joshua Monroe

Editor: Yvaine Lyu