Management and entrepreneurship student, Hongxia Wei, prepared tea for the club members who partook in cultural activities at the Chinese cultural club meeting. Photo credit: Saira Qureshi

Hongxia Wei has a message for anyone on campus curious about the Chinese culture – join their club for a hands-on learning experience.

“I would like people who are interested in our culture to join us,” expressed Wei. She is studying management and entrepreneurship at the college and is also one of the four leaders of the club.

“We share information, we have fun and it feels like we are a family,” added water and waste water technician student Xiaowen Wang, another club leader.

Computer engineering technology student Chu Yuanhao stated that not many people know about the Chinese culture. He often hears people associate China with pandas, yin and yang and feng shui.

“They don’t know about the country or the culture we have. They just know it through the Internet or media,” said Yuanhao.

Wei, along with computing science student Zhenren Gao, arranged a Chinese tea ceremony. They prepared the tea and offered it to every member, pouring it into a tea testing cup and throwing out tea that had gone cold. In fact, Gao is a professional Chinese tea maker and has the certification to prove it.

While they prepared tea, the other seven students played Go or Chinese chess and even practiced calligraphy on a re-writable water writing cloth. Most of the members communicated with each other in their mother tongue.

“Language is a big issue for us,” said Wang in regards to the English language. She explained that Algonquin does offer ESL classes to students who do not meet the requirements for their programs but she added that “the course is not cheap.”

The students are bringing the culture to Algonquin but it’s not the same as back home. Yuanhao said he misses the food.

“You know once we come here, it’s not easy to get used to the food,” Wang explained. “We suffered a lot at the very beginning.”

She also misses celebrating festivals in China such as the Chinese New Year.

In China, cannabis is illegal. In light of the marijuana legalization in Canada, Global News reported that the Chinese consulate in Toronto issued a statement in October to remind Chinese students in particular to avoid marijuana for the sake of their physical and mental health.

The club supported the idea that marijuana legalization is not good for the public because it is dangerous. Wang believes these thoughts stem from their traditional Chinese upbringing.

The club held an event to make dumplings on Nov. 14. and Wei wants more students to join them for similar events in the future.

“We have meetings regularly every week, sometimes twice a week,” said Wang.