Celebrating Chinese culture at Laurier

Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

“We hope you see something you’ve never seen before, hear something you’ve never heard before, and taste something you’ve never tasted before” — these words, repeated by multiple speakers, came to represent the Chinese Culture Festival held at Wilfrid Laurier University on March 21.

The event, sponsored by the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics Students’ Society and Laurier International’s office of global engagement, began with an introduction by Ben Yang. The director of global engagement with Laurier International, stressed the growing importance that universities across the globe are placing on internationalization.

“China is growing up very rapidly, and business people around the world are really interested in doing business or other types of things with Chinese people. So it would be good for people not in China to know something about China, so that motivated us to organize this event,” said Bixia Xu, associate professor at Laurier and co-organizer of the event. “Also it was the desire by the university officials. They really like to offer opportunities for Laurier students, staff and faculty to explore foreign cultures.”

Though it initially lacked in student turnout, this did nothing to deter Gang Pan, chair of the Waterloo Region Chinese Community Association, from delivering his presentation on the nuances of communication with Chinese business partners.

This was followed by Lily Chen, from the Sino-Canada Education & Cultural Communication Association in Toronto, who focused her presentation on certain introductory elements to Chinese culture, including the effects of Chinese philosophy on business professional’s approaches to decision making. The speakers were concluded with Reisei Wang, from the Can-Chin Innovative Education Alliance, whose presentation on the development of professional education opportunities in China for both domestic and foreign students was not conducted in English and required the assistance of a translator.

“In the future I would think students, especially the business students, would love to do some adventures in China, and it would be very helpful, you know for the university and the faculties to get involved to provide students such opportunities,” said Xu.

The presentations were followed by a series of traditional musical performances. The first featured a Chinese zither, an instrument related to the guitar, which is played propped in front of the musician. This was followed first by a Chinese violin and then a Chinese flute.

“We actually just got back from China [as part of the international business option], so a lot of the stuff they were speaking about was really relevant to what we learned while we were there,” said Dawn Simons, a fourth-year business student. “They actually touched on a lot more pieces about the actual Chinese culture versus doing business in China, which is what we mostly learned there.”

The day’s final component was a buffet of Chinese cuisine which, though it began a full 40 minutes behind schedule, proved to be the most popular of the day’s events.

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