“Global Stadium 2008” uses sport to promote cross-cultural exchange

Karen Cheng

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Using the universal language of sport, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHS) of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) held "Global Stadium 2008" on 16 January to promote cross-cultural interaction between local and exchange students.

Under the banner "Connecting the World through Sports", the event proved a fun way of uniting exchange students from around the world and enhancing cross-cultural awareness. The venue was adorned with booths featuring different sports, including basketball, fencing, football, ice-hockey, rugby, snooker, table-tennis and taekwondo. Various games were set up to provide visitors with an opportunity to try their hand at their chosen sport.

Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Professor Martin Painter, Acting Dean, said the Faculty's International Exchange Programme has been expanding, with the number of partner universities growing quickly in the past few years. He said the programme would benefit students by enhancing their life and learning. He encouraged more students to participate in the programme and gain a more global perspective.

Dr Bertha Du-Babcock, Director of International Exchange of the Faculty, said the annual event provided a platform for students to foster greater cross-cultural awareness. "Throughout the event, FHS has brought the Olympic spirit to CityU by using fun sports events to promote close friendships and cross-cultural understanding through team work," she said.

The FHS International Exchange Programme was established in 2003 and the number of inbound and outbound exchange students increased by 50% this year, to more than 300. The Faculty now has exchange programmes with more than 30 overseas universities in North America and the Asia Pacific Region.

Juliette Thibaud, an exchange student from IEP de Lille, France, said she became more out-going having spent the last semester at CityU. "The learning atmosphere here is very lively and teachers are good at engaging students in discussions. Also, studying at CityU helps me better understand the Asian point-of-view on various issues. This can be very different to Western concepts. It has helped broaden my perspective," she said.

Final-year student from the Department of English and Communication, Zoe Chiu Sin-shan, who participated in an exchange programme with Central Queensland University, Australia, last year, said it was an eye-opening experience.

"It was a very valuable experience in that my English skills improved and by meeting people from different parts of the world, I have developed a more global mindset. More importantly, I have made many good friends from different countries within a very short period of time," she said.

Among the guests attending the carnival were Mr Matthias Meyer, Vice Consul of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Mr Borja Sanchez, Secretary General of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. Apart from the carnival, an exhibition on the FHS International Exchange Programme is being held at the Purple Zone from 15-25 January.

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