2 October 2017
Harry Andrew reports on the 2017 Beijing Foreign Studies University BOYA Forum for undergraduate students in which he took part.

Last week, I travelled to China to attend the 2017 Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) BOYA Forum for undergraduate students. The aim of the annual BOYA conference is to encourage and celebrate the research abilities of English and International Studies students in the areas of Literature, Linguistics and Translation. A large variety of students attended the conference from all corners of the globe, and I myself was one of two representatives from Lancaster University giving a presentation at the forum.

The forum was an enjoyable yet intense and academically challenging experience. Three concurrent panels of talks ran throughout the morning, with a total of 29 individual presentations being made during the day. The format of the forum was for each student to present their work in a 15-minute presentation, and subsequently their work was questioned and discussed by fellow students, before the chair professor delivered their verdict.

I had the great honour of opening the 2017 BOYA Forum with my presentation on the “Evasive Concept of Equivalence” – a challenging topic which I knew very little about before making my application for the conference, but by deeply investigating this subject, I came to learn a great deal about the translation process, and I’m sure this knowledge will benefit me greatly in my future studies as a Spanish student at Lancaster. Thankfully my presentation went to plan. I received some generous compliments on my presentation skills and personal valuation of the concept of equivalence from other students and the chair, and in addition, I also was given some constructive criticism and points of improvement which I will be sure to apply the next time I undertake an academic research project.

After completing my presentation, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy listening to the other talks on translation studies from other students. I took part in discussions on a wide range of topics, and during the three-hour forum, our panel covered a multitude of matters concerning the field of translation. All of the presentations were informative, entertaining and of excellent quality, and the entire experience of the forum was inspiring and enlightening. Following the closing ceremony of the conference, we all joined the professors for a traditional Chinese banquet lunch, where our discussions continued, and all students were given the opportunity to meet and speak with one another whilst trying the delicious Chinese food (although my poor chopstick skills unfortunately prevented me from being able to eat as much as I wanted!)

During my free-time during and after the forum, I was fortunate enough to explore Beijing, as I visited the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven, all magnificent landmarks in their own right, and I was astonished by the natural beauty of the city, which I had previously supposed to be entirely industrial and modern. Tobogganing down the Great Wall was a standout highlight of my trip, and as I look back now on my three-day adventure in China’s capital, it’s somewhat of a blur, as I can’t quite believe I was given this incredible opportunity, and nor can I believe how quickly it passed.

I must give great thanks to BFSU for their wonderful hospitality and for funding my air travel and hotel accommodation, and for creating this great conference which brings students together and promotes their studies and research abilities. I also would like to thank Michela Masci from Lancaster’s Department of Languages and Cultures for all her help in sending me on my way.

I hope other Lancaster students take the chance to attend the conference and visit Beijing in the future – those who do will undoubtedly enjoy a wonderful experience.

Harry Andrews