• Gala Forces-Avenir - niveau Universitaire
  • Gala Forces-Avenir - niveau Universitaire

Ben Liu

Personality Awards - Undergraduates

Ben Liu

Committed to …going beyond all frontiers

It goes without saying that there are no longer any borders and that we now all live in a global world. But when it comes to leaving your native country of China and moving to Rouyn-Noranda to pursue your studies, it takes not only courage but a great deal of determination! Ben Liu, a baccalaureate student in interactive multimedia design and artistic production at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, has both these attributes. But more importantly, he cultivates a vision of life and openness to the world that enables him to cross cultural barriers.

When he arrived in Canada, Ben Liu already had an extensive artistic background. Among other things, he had tried his hand at drawing, painting, theatre, cinema, dance, singing and media arts. It was therefore quite natural for him to decide to volunteer at the DocuMenteur festival and at an emerging music festival in his area.

This passion for the arts helped Ben integrate into the community and learn and practice French. “I see myself as a clumsy little bird. There’s an expression in Chinese that says that slow birds must make more effort to learn to fly,” he explains. When you consider that, not even three years ago, Ben didn’t speak a word of French, it’s easy to grasp the proverb’s full meaning.

He then went on to present his cinematic productions at an international film festival where his creations drew attention and were acknowledged. He thus obtained a scholarship, outstanding visibility in the media and his passport to Les rendez-vous du cinéma québécois event in Montréal. “He is a well-known and recognized figure in our community. For a foreign student, he has made amazing headway,” says university head Johanne Jean.

He has also helped create and produce a children’s stage play entitled Bascule. As assistant artistic director of the theatre company, he is able to make good use of his numerous talents while developing a new technical vocabulary in which he is not yet proficient.

In addition to studying and continuing to perfect his French, Ben wants to share the Québec he is discovering with his compatriots. He was offered the chance to contribute to a Chinese magazine called “1626” and as both artist and writer he created a character, a panda named Benda, which he uses to represent Québécois when comparing the two cultures in his stories. His articles talk of Québec, his life here, his travels and Québec culture. And then, when he became aware of Québécois’ lack of understanding of Chinese culture, he created an e-magazine here in Québec and, thanks to this medium, gave himself a platform for exhibiting his photos and recounting stories about his homeland. Along the same lines, he also gives language classes to professors at UQAT.

When Ben Liu chose to study in Québec, he did so to learn a new language, embrace another culture and adopt a different lifestyle, all this because he dreams of one day becoming a cultural ambassador. He doesn’t know just yet what form this dream will take but he is sure of one thing and that’s that he wants to use his artistic abilities to build bridges between China and other countries. “Each and every one of us has the duty to act as a good citizen, a good international citizen. As a citizen of the world, I have to contribute to the progress of the place where I live and where I work.”

Ben Liu



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