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Cha Chat: The bridge between two cultures

Posted by Jacqueline Hong (Australia-China Youth Association) on 26 October 2017

Satisfy your thirst to experience another culture, at the same time, satiate your hunger for knowledge.


Being the premiere educational event of ACYA, Cha-Chat received much praises over the years for its unique ability to bring all the students closer together regardless their cultural backgrounds. To deliver a more dynamic cultural experience and to fully exploit the language learning opportunity, a series of cultural and language exchange sessions will be held throughout the semester. However, in contrast to the traditional form of classroom teaching, by making our members the main focus, ample time is guaranteed for each individual member, thus providing much-needed but often-scarce opportunity for them to practice and engage in bilingual conversations. With passion for both languages and cultures shared by all at Cha-Chat, it provides an encouraging and stress-free atmosphere critical to language learning. Meanwhile, through the engaging activities and intriguing topics from both cultures, a more immersive cultural experience is presented to both international and local students. With refreshments at every session, Cha-Chat promise you with the food for your stomach, at the same time, strive to satiate your hunger for knowledge.

Basic Structure

Cha-chat is a series of events held fortnightly throughout the semester from Week 2 to 10, with a unique cultural theme for each.

Chat Chat Session: Mah-jong (Week 4)

Mah-jong, also called majiang is extremely popular table game in China or Chinese speaking society. The colourful visual tiles make the game easy to translate across language barriers. It is a fun game to play and easy way to learn Chinese number at the same time.

The best feature of this game is that it is played by four players, which makes it a perfect game to connect people together. Groups are encouraged to form in a mix of local students and international students. People tend to talk a lot while playing Mah-jong, providing an opportunity for students to meet new friends and working together.

Online tutorials and pictures will be displayed for students to follow along. Students can form their own groups after watching the tutorial, with a helper assigned to each group.

Cha Chat Session: Chinese Poetry (Week 6)

Calligraphy are commonly used in Chinese culture, especially during Lunar New Year, to express cultural spirits regarding to wishes for the coming year. In particular, it is called Chinese Poetry. This session will allow participants to not only know about How Chinese People Celebrate New Year Festival, they will also plan and write their individual Spring Couplet by using prepared brush, ink and paper.

In Chinese poetry, a couplet is a pair of lines of poetry which adhere to certain rules. Outside of poems, they are usually seen on the sides of doors leading to people's homes or as hanging scrolls in an interior. Although often called antithetical couplet, they can better be described as a written form of counterpoint. The two lines have a one-to-one correspondence in their metrical length, and each pair of characters must have certain corresponding properties. A couplet is ideally profound yet concise, using one character per word in the style of Classical Chinese. A special, widely seen type of couplet is the spring couplet (simplified Chinese:春联), used as a New Year's decoration that expresses happiness and hopeful thoughts for the coming year.

Cha Chat Session: Moon Cake Tasting (Week 10)

The Mid-Autumn festival, also known as the Moon festival, has a long history in the Chinese culture and is said to be the second most important traditional festival in China. This year, the festival falls on the 4th of October and therefore the purpose of this Cha chat will be to celebrate this once-a-year significant festival with students.

The history and origin of the festival, together with the interesting legend stories will be taught to students for educational purposes. Students will also be given the opportunity to understand the meaning behind eating mooncakes with the chance to try out and comment on the taste of different mooncakes.

Mooncakes will be shared and served with teas and drinks so as to create a relaxing atmosphere where students could sit back whilst getting to know each other and making new friends, regardless of their culture backgrounds.

Find out more about the Australia-China Youth Association.