DuringTsinghua’s 106th anniversary celebrations, four internationalstudent volunteers recruited by the iCampus program of the Graduate Union ofTsinghua University’s International Department contributed their time andefforts to the Tsinghua University Art Museum (TAM) as tour guides. Theirstunning image and fluent explanations attracted the attention and admirationof many visitors.
Eugenie explaining the art ofceramics to visitors
EugenieEvita Gani is a student of Chinese and Dutch descent from Indonesia. She iscurrently doing her undergraduate studies in the Foreign Languages Department.Recommended by a friend, she joined the ranks of volunteers of the TAM. Duringthe anniversary celebrations, Eugenie was responsible for guiding visitorsthrough the ceramics exhibition.
Eugenie being interviewed
Beforebecoming a TAM tour guide, Eugenie was not very familiar with Chinese ceramics.However, through studying the tour explanation notes, she gained knowledgerelating to porcelain glazing and kiln fire, and found ceramics an amazing art.On the 29th of April, the day of the anniversary, Eugenie explainedthe art of ceramics to visitors for the first time. Although a little nervousinside, she was well prepared for the questions posed by the visitors.
Inaddition to the ceramics exhibition, Eugenie was also very fond of theembroidery exhibition hall. She said: “Chinese folk costumes and the Indonesianfolk costume (Batik) are very different in style. Also, Chinese embroidery isvery magical and beautiful.” Eugenie told the reporter that she has fallen inlove with the TAM. She learned a lot about Chinese culture through thisvolunteering opportunity.
Aynifer explaining the structure offurniture to visitors
AyniferGoca is a student from Turkey, also doing her undergraduate studies in theForeign Languages Department. She joined the team of volunteers through therecommendation of her classmate.
Becausethe tour explanation notes included many technical terms and rare Chinesecharacters that she did not understand, Aynifer took the effort to search thecharacters one by one on the internet to learn their pronunciation. She said,“I am very interested in Chinese furniture. I didn’t expect there to be so muchprofound meaning to it. If there are opportunities in the future, I would stillvolunteer to be a tour guide.”
Havingstudied and lived in China for 8 years now, Aynifer has become well accustomedto Chinese culture. The strongest impression she had while studying in Tsinghuais that the students here are not only smart but also very hard working, andthat she needs to work harder still. We wish her success at Tsinghua, and thatshe can learn more about Chinese culture during her days here.
Thomas sharing his thoughts on the volunteering experience withreporters
ThomasParadis is an international student from Canada, currently studying in theDepartment of Computer Science and Technology. He joined the team of volunteersthrough the International Department of the Graduate Union’s recruitment.Although he didn’t know much about art before, and felt slightly bored whenstudying the tour explanation notes, he came to the TAM a couple of timesbefore the anniversary day to listen to volunteer Ms. Yue Caifeng explainpaintings and calligraphy so he could learn from her and successfully completehis task.
Thomassaid now he is able to incorporate the stories behind the paintings he learntfrom Ms. Yue into his explanations. “This makes things more interesting, andthe audience also likes to hear them.” Thomas said, “I have guided the tourtwice today. One of them was for a Tsinghua alumni couple who graduated in1960, we exchanged our views on the artwork.”
Thomas willgraduate with his Master’s degree in one year. Faced with the pressure ofgraduation, he is not sure whether he will be able to be a tour guide again.Through this experience, Thomas felt that the visitors were not only interestedin the contents of the guided tour, but they were also very interested to knowmore about the international student volunteers.
Richard appreciating the artwork inthe embroidery exhibition
Finally,the reporters interviewed Richard Altieri, a Schwarzman Scholar from the US. Heis very interested in Chinese traditional embroidery, and felt very lucky to bea volunteer for the TAM in the embroidery exhibition during the anniversarycelebrations. Richard told reporters: “China’s silk is very beautiful. It issomething very mysterious and yet full of culture, Westerners have long been inlove with silk. By being a volunteer, I had the excellent opportunity to learnmore about China’s silk culture, and also communicate with many Tsinghuaalumni.”
Richard’sfavorite piece in the embroidery exhibition was the “Infinite Life Buddha”, heeven explained the composition and artistic features of this piece for thereporters. In addition to studying the tour explanation notes and consulting othervolunteers, Richard was also willing to share his own appreciation ofembroidery to the visitors. Richard told the reporters: “Embroidery is aChinese traditional art, which the Chinese are very familiar with. However, inthe eyes of foreigners, each time we look at it we have a different feeling. Itwould be more interesting to share with the visitors how foreigners appreciateembroidery.”
Inaddition to this volunteering activity, Richard had also participated in aproject organized by iCampus, which involved translating labels of the“Tsinghua Treasures” exhibition for the TAM. Richard is a most enthusiasticinternational student volunteer for the TAM.
We would like to thank all the international students whojoined the team of volunteers during the anniversary celebrations period. Yourpresence added luster to the TAM and richness to the 106-year old TsinghuaUniversity in terms of internationalization and culture. We would like towelcome more international students to join the ranks of volunteers for the TAMin the future, to help build the bridge of exchange and communication betweenChinese and international culture!
iCampus is a student-run non-profit initiative aimed atdeveloping the internationalization of the university campus, throughcollaborations between local and foreign students. iCampus reflects tsinghuastudents' willingness to adapt to the new global reality, while encouragingparticipation in student affairs and displaying tsinghua students' strongengagement towards internationalization.
International Department of Tisnghua Graduate Union.