During Tsinghua’s 106th anniversary celebrations, four international student volunteers recruited by the iCampus program of the Graduate Union of Tsinghua University’s International Department contributed their time and efforts to the Tsinghua University Art Museum (TAM) as tour guides. Their stunning image and fluent explanations attracted the attention and admiration of many visitors.
Eugenie explaining the art of ceramics to visitors
Eugenie Evita Gani is a student of Chinese and Dutch descent from Indonesia. She is currently doing her undergraduate studies in the Foreign Languages Department. Recommended by a friend, she joined the ranks of volunteers of the TAM. During the anniversary celebrations, Eugenie was responsible for guiding visitors through the ceramics exhibition.
Eugenie being interviewed
Before becoming a TAM tour guide, Eugenie was not very familiar with Chinese ceramics. However, through studying the tour explanation notes, she gained knowledge relating to porcelain glazing and kiln fire, and found ceramics an amazing art. On the 29th of April, the day of the anniversary, Eugenie explained the art of ceramics to visitors for the first time. Although a little nervous inside, she was well prepared for the questions posed by the visitors.
In addition to the ceramics exhibition, Eugenie was also very fond of the embroidery exhibition hall. She said: “Chinese folk costumes and the Indonesian folk costume (Batik) are very different in style. Also, Chinese embroidery is very magical and beautiful.” Eugenie told the reporter that she has fallen in love with the TAM. She learned a lot about Chinese culture through this volunteering opportunity.
Aynifer explaining the structure of furniture to visitors
Aynifer Goca is a student from Turkey, also doing her undergraduate studies in the Foreign Languages Department. She joined the team of volunteers through the recommendation of her classmate.
Aynifer being interviewed
Because the tour explanation notes included many technical terms and rare Chinese characters that she did not understand, Aynifer took the effort to search the characters 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 much profound meaning to it. If there are opportunities in the future, I would still volunteer to be a tour guide.”
Having studied and lived in China for 8 years now, Aynifer has become well accustomed to Chinese culture. The strongest impression she had while studying in Tsinghua is that the students here are not only smart but also very hard working, and that she needs to work harder still. We wish her success at Tsinghua, and that she can learn more about Chinese culture during her days here.
Thomas sharing his thoughts on the volunteering experience with reporters
Thomas Paradis is an international student from Canada, currently studying in the Department of Computer Science and Technology. He joined the team of volunteers through the International Department of the Graduate Union’s recruitment. Although he didn’t know much about art before, and felt slightly bored when studying the tour explanation notes, he came to the TAM a couple of times before the anniversary day to listen to volunteer Ms. Yue Caifeng explain paintings and calligraphy so he could learn from her and successfully complete his task.
Thomas being interviewed
Thomas said now he is able to incorporate the stories behind the paintings he learnt from Ms. Yue into his explanations. “This makes things more interesting, and the audience also likes to hear them.” Thomas said, “I have guided the tour twice today. One of them was for a Tsinghua alumni couple who graduated in 1960, we exchanged our views on the artwork.”
Thomas will graduate with his Master’s degree in one year. Faced with the pressure of graduation, 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 interested in the contents of the guided tour, but they were also very interested to know more about the international student volunteers.
Richard appreciating the artwork in the embroidery exhibition
Finally, the reporters interviewed Richard Altieri, a Schwarzman Scholar from the US. He is very interested in Chinese traditional embroidery, and felt very lucky to be a volunteer for the TAM in the embroidery exhibition during the anniversary celebrations. Richard told reporters: “China’s silk is very beautiful. It is something very mysterious and yet full of culture, Westerners have long been in love with silk. By being a volunteer, I had the excellent opportunity to learn more about China’s silk culture, and also communicate with many Tsinghua alumni.”
Richard was awarded Volunteer Certificate of Tsinghua iCampus Project by Graduate Union
Richard’s favorite piece in the embroidery exhibition was the “Infinite Life Buddha”, he even explained the composition and artistic features of this piece for the reporters. In addition to studying the tour explanation notes and consulting other volunteers, Richard was also willing to share his own appreciation of embroidery to the visitors. Richard told the reporters: “Embroidery is a Chinese traditional art, which the Chinese are very familiar with. However, in the eyes of foreigners, each time we look at it we have a different feeling. It would be more interesting to share with the visitors how foreigners appreciate embroidery.”
In addition to this volunteering activity, Richard had also participated in a project organized by iCampus, which involved translating labels of the “Tsinghua Treasures” exhibition for the TAM. Richard is a most enthusiastic international student volunteer for the TAM.
We would like to thank all the international students who joined the team of volunteers during the anniversary celebrations period. Your presence added luster to the TAM and richness to the 106-year old Tsinghua University in terms of internationalization and culture. We would like to welcome more international students to join the ranks of volunteers for the TAM in the future, to help build the bridge of exchange and communication between Chinese and international culture!
iCampus is a student-run non-profit initiative aimed at developing the internationalization of the university campus, through collaborations between local and foreign students. iCampus reflects tsinghua students' willingness to adapt to the new global reality, while encouraging participation in student affairs and displaying tsinghua students' strong engagement towards internationalization.