Edinburgh University strengthens China links with new £1million facility

A University Institute, which has helped thousands of people learn Chinese, is marking its first decade with a £1million investment in new facilities.

3-year-old Jamie Thompson was one of several visitors to the University of Edinburgh's Confucius Institute for Scotland Campus to celebrate its 10th birthday.

Photograph by: Lesley Martin3-year-old Jamie Thompson was one of several visitors to the University of Edinburgh’s Confucius Institute for Scotland Campus to celebrate its 10th birthday.

The University of Edinburgh’s Confucius Institute for Scotland Campus has opened new teaching and study facilities close to the Institute’s base at Abden House, next to the University’s Pollock Halls of Residence.

Established in 2006, the Institute has developed a strong reputation, introducing people to the Chinese language, advising Scottish companies seeking to do business in China and staging award-winning cultural events.

The new development will house six teaching and study rooms, in addition to a specialist library for use by postgraduate Chinese Studies students and those taking evening classes.

“The past 10 years has been a period of considerable achievement, with the Institute helping to foster closer links between people in Scotland and China,” said Professor Natascha Gentz, Chair of Chinese Studies, the University of Edinburgh.

jamie-thompson-confucius-event-19-sept-16-with-panda

Photograph by: Lesley Martin

“This major investment will support our provision of programmes and our aim of extending our range of activities. A key strand will be to work more closely with local schools, enabling children to learn a new language and discover more about Chinese culture.”

The University has a long-standing relationship with China. The first Chinese student to graduate from a British university received his medical degree from Edinburgh in 1855.

Today Edinburgh has links with several Chinese universities including Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong, Tsinghua, Nanjing, Peking, Zhejiang, and Tianjin University, and the Beijing Film Academy.

Chinese students are now the largest international group at Edinburgh, having grown from 408 in 1998/99 to more than 2,500 in 2015.