5 July 2017
After four years in her position, Co-Director of the Confucius Institute, Professor Sarah Zhang will be leaving Lancaster this month to return to our partner institution, South China University of Technology.

LU Text spoke to Professor Zhang about her experiences during her time in Lancaster.

 “I’m really proud of what the Confucius Institute achieves in offering credit-bearing Mandarin language and culture classes to students, as well as part-time language and culture courses to local schools, communities and businesses. We have also done much more, as we have hosted high level events to support the breadth of the University’s work with China. In particular we act as a bridge to its Chinese partners, including my home University of South China University of Technology in Guangzhou. It has been great to be part of this.”

Professor Zhang has made a real impact during her time here and she spoke to us about just some of those highlights: “Every year we have enrolled around 80 undergraduate students in modules to learn about the Chinese language and culture and I know they have been well received. We also arrange an annual student trip to China for 15 students and offer support to on average five very keen students each year to gain scholarships to study in China for one or two semesters.

“We also now offer weekly Chinese classes to around 1,600 children in nine schools in the Blackpool area, so getting involved with children at a young age is building great relationships within the community.”

 As well as the above, Professor Sarah Zhang was instrumental in coaching Lancaster student Cameron Patterson at Chinese Bridge, a prestigious Chinese proficiency competition for non-Chinese speaking university students. Cameron won first prize in the UK final of the Chinese Bridge competition and came second place in the international final in China. Professor Zhang said: “Cameron is now a Chinese media star and refers to Lancaster University every time he is interviewed.”

"What will you miss most about Lancaster?"
"A lot. The working environment, it is a friendly, collaborative and efficient place. It is one of the best places I have ever worked in my life. I will reserve a permanent warm spot in my heart for Lancaster. Back in China I will promote Lancaster and Lancaster University, and the culture here. My British and Chinese colleagues are just like my family, we have worked very closely together and I really appreciate the time we have spent together. I thank them wholeheartedly for all their support."

We’d like to wish Professor Zhang all the very best for the future and thank you for the positive impact you have had as part of the Lancaster University Confucius Institute.